La playa flamenco puerto rico: Flamenco beach | Discover Puerto Rico

Locals, tourists flock to this Puerto Rico beach — but it lacks many critical emergency services

CBS Mornings

By David Begnaud, Analisa Novak


/ CBS News

Puerto Rico island lacks medical services

Tourists flock to this Puerto Rico beach, unaware that it lacks many critical emergency services
15:09

Update: Since CBS News’ reporting, Puerto Rico announced it will be sending resources to Culebra to address the lack of emergency medical services. Read more here.

Puerto Rico’s Flamenco Beach — a remote, pristine crescent of sand along a dazzling stretch of Caribbean blue water — is considered among the world’s best. It’s on the island of Culebra, where 1,800 people live year-round — just a fraction of the number of tourists that visit the island’s less than 12 square miles every day.    
  

Puerto Rico’s Flamenco Beach is considered among the world’s best.

But locals are aware of the beautiful beach’s biggest risk: If your life is in danger, emergency medical help is not around. Until recently, the beach did not have a lifeguard to watch over its waters.  

Rip currents play a large role in Puerto Rico’s average 30 drowning deaths each year. There have been 18 known recorded drowning deaths on the island of Culebra since 1994 and three known recorded drowning deaths off Flamenco Beach since December 2021.  

Manny Ma was visiting from Boise, Idaho — one of the half-million or more tourists attorney Julian Rivera Aspinall estimates visit each year — when he drowned while snorkeling last December. His family’s attorney said Ma’s wife found him floating in the ocean.    

Manny Ma was visiting from Boise, Idaho when he drowned while snorkeling last December.

Ma Family

«He was eventually pronounced dead and unfortunately, there wasn’t any way of being able to save his life here at the beach,» Aspinall said. The lone lifeguard, hired mid-May, now works 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and alternate weekends — and no one monitors the beach at other times.  

The beach also lacks paramedics and stocked ambulances. Edilberto Romero Llovet, the mayor of Culebra, told «CBS Mornings» lead national correspondent David Begnaud that he’s trying to change things but the high cost of living on the island and a lack of certified personnel make it difficult to employ qualified medical professionals.      

«I need paramedics. I need a doctor. I need a Technical Emergency. I need those people to come to work in Culebra,» he said.    

Llovet said he is trying to pay experienced people to move to Culebra and can offer good pay to qualified candidates. While he waits to hire more people, he has installed bilingual signs, red flags and even added a lifeguard stand around the beach.    

Edilberto Romero Llovet, the mayor of Culebra installed bilingual signs, red flags and even added a lifeguard stand around the beach.      

Aspinall said that the mayor’s additions were a step in the right direction for a beach that has a history of drownings aside from Ma’s.    
«I am very happy that the island of Culbera is eventually taking steps so that these types of accidents don’t happen again. My client’s accident was not the only accident that has occurred here,» Aspinall said.    

In February, Sharuja Paramanathan traveled with her husband and three children to Flamenco Beach from Canada. Thiva, Paramanathan’s 40-year-old husband, was out swimming when he began to drown.    

Onlookers called 911, as good Samaritans administered CPR. Sharuja recalled the agonizing feeling of waiting 30 minutes for an ambulance — and her desperation when she realized the ambulance was, as she described it, just a «taxi.»    

In February, Sharuja Paramanathan traveled with her husband and three children to Flamenco Beach from Canada. 

Sharuja Paramanathan

«Finally, the ambulance came. The person I remember asking somebody asked if they know how to do CPR. And I remember him asking, ‘What’s CPR?'» So at that time I kind of lost my hope,» she said.    

The ambulance didn’t have any lifesaving equipment, like a defibrillator that could help resuscitate her husband.    

Thiva was brought to the island’s only medical clinic where he was pronounced dead.    

Sharuja believes that her husband would still be alive had more been done to save him.    

«I’m from Sri Lanka. And I’ve been in an ambulance in Sri Lanka, and it’s a third-world country. And they have a much better facility than this. Much, much better facility,» she said.    

Emily Jiminez, a certified medical assistant, and Emily Bowcutt, a registered nurse, were there with their young families on vacation. They were two of the good Samaritans on the beach that day when the emergency happened. They didn’t know each other before this and have not seen Sharuja since then.  

Emily Jiminez, a certified medical assistant, and Emily Bowcutt, a registered nurse, were there with their young families on vacation when the emergency happened.

«I’ve had every feeling that you can imagine from anger to frustration, to sadness. There’s people that live there. What kind of care are they getting?» Bowcutt said.    

As they performed CPR, both Jiminez and Bowcutt remembered wondering where the ambulance was.    

«I was the one doing compressions when they showed up, and I just looked up and I said, ‘Hey, we’re all exhausted. Is there any way you guys could take over for us or help us?'» said Bowcutt.      

But to both of their surprise, none of the first responders who arrived, including David Perez, assisted with CPR.    

Perez, a resident living on Culebra, said he is a certified paramedic. He posted on his Facebook page that he had passed the test. He was one of the first responders to arrive on the beach that day when good samaritans were trying to revive Sharuja’s husband. But he told Begnaud that his only role was to assist the ambulance chauffeur.    
  
«My job description is the technician the emergency management. No EMT. No paramedic, No, nothing to help,» he said.    

He claims once they got into the ambulance, he performed CPR on Thiva— Sharuja said that never happened.    
  
Perez said that in Puerto Rico paramedics sometimes do not even get support from the police.    

Both Jiminez and Bowcutt believe that more could have been done to save Thiva, and they would like the government to step up and help make Culebra safe and prevent more drowning deaths.    

«I assumed they were going to give care, but I felt just sick about it all, that that man did not get the justice of care that he needed,» Bowcutt said. «There’s so many things that, just basic things, that could’ve given him a better outcome, and we didn’t have any of that.»

They both said they don’t they would return to Culebra because of the danger it poses.    

«I feel like it’s too big of a risk, especially with my family. At this point there has to be something done,» Bowcutt said.      

Five days after CBS News left Culebra in April 2022, a 58-year-old man died after drowning on Flamenco Beach, according to the National Weather Service, which tracks drowning deaths nationwide.   

Begnaud reached out to Llovet’s office which said since they hired the lifeguard in mid-May, there have been no reported drownings there. 

Following CBS News’ reporting on the issue, the Puerto Rico Public Safety Department in a statement to CBS News acknowledged that providing medical emergency personnel is a challenge, and just this week, it launched an employment website to fill the 210 paramedic positions open island-wide to «attend emergencies quickly and effectively fulfilling our mission of saving lives. «

And days later, the government of Puerto Rico announced that they’ve sent resources to Culebra. From now on, Puerto Rico’s main island will send a team of two paramedics to the island who will work seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. local time. The paramedics will be on call outside of those hours, and crews will change weekly. 

Ruperto Chaparro, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico who has been studying beach safety for more than three decades, told CBS News the problem is the government is not willing to invest in beach safety or the implementation of lifeguard services for our beaches.

«The beaches of Puerto Rico are a natural attraction that supports the tourism and marine recreation industry but the government has never provided a budget to manage beach activities in a country where more than 60% of the population does not know how to swim,» he said. «Many of these drowning incidents could have been prevented with lifeguard services at the beaches. «

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David Begnaud

David Begnaud is the lead national correspondent for «CBS Mornings» based in New York City.

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First published on July 25, 2022 / 11:16 AM

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San Juan to Playa Flamenco


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There are 3 ways to get from San Juan to Playa Flamenco by plane, car, car ferry or shuttle

Select an option below to see step-by-step directions and to compare ticket prices and travel times in Rome2rio’s travel planner.



Fly


  1. Fly from San Juan Isla Grande (SIG) to Culebra (CPX)







Drive, car ferry


  1. Drive from San Juan to Ceiba






  2. Take the car ferry from Ceiba to Culebra







Shuttle, car ferry


  1. Take a shuttle bus from San Juan Airport to Fajardo, Puerto Rico






  2. Take the car ferry from Ceiba to Culebra







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Cheapest option
Distance between




San Juan Isla Grande (SIG) to Culebra (CPX) flights


The flight time between San Juan Isla Grande (SIG) and Culebra (CPX) is around 30 min and covers a distance of around 86 km. Services are operated by Air Flamenco and Vieques Air Link. Typically 55 flights run weekly, although weekend and holiday schedules can vary so check in advance.









55


Weekly Planes






30 min


Average Duration






€3


Cheapest Price

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Puerto Rico



There is widespread community transmission globally.

We have received no reports of travel restrictions in Puerto Rico. For the latest travel status, please check the official page for Puerto Rico.

For travel planning advice, please refer to our Rome2rio Coronavirus information page .


For the latest travel status, we recommend checking the official page for Puerto Rico.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Advice




Can I travel internationally to Playa Flamenco?

Currently, we are unable to provide international travel restriction information for Puerto Rico relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19). For the latest travel status in Puerto Rico, please check government recommendations.

Official Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Puerto Rico



Can I travel domestically within Puerto Rico?

Currently, we are unable to provide domestic travel restriction information for travelling within Puerto Rico. For the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel status within Puerto Rico, please check government recommendations.

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Are there restrictions on leaving Puerto Rico?

Currently, we are unable to provide travel restriction information for leaving Puerto Rico. For the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel status in Puerto Rico, please check government recommendations.

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Last updated: November 13 | Data sourced from: ACAPS, OXFORD


Questions & Answers




What is the cheapest way to get from San Juan to Playa Flamenco?

The cheapest way to get from San Juan to Playa Flamenco is to drive and car ferry which costs €10 — €35 and takes 2h 43m.


More details



Which way is quickest from San Juan to Playa Flamenco?

The quickest way to get from San Juan to Playa Flamenco is to fly which costs €17 — €190 and takes 37 min.


More details



How far is it from San Juan to Playa Flamenco?

The distance between San Juan and Playa Flamenco is 85 km.



How long does it take to get from San Juan to Playa Flamenco?

It takes approximately 37 min to get from San Juan to Playa Flamenco, including transfers.


More details



How long is the flight from San Juan to Playa Flamenco?

The quickest flight from San Juan Isla Grande Airport to Culebra Airport is the direct flight which takes 30 min.


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Which airlines fly from San Juan Isla Grande Airport to Culebra Airport?

Vieques Air Link and Air Flamenco offer flights from San Juan Isla Grande Airport to Culebra Airport.


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Where can I stay near Playa Flamenco?

There are 33+ hotels available in Playa Flamenco. Prices start at €87 per night.


More details






What companies run services between San Juan, Puerto Rico and Playa Flamenco, Puerto Rico?

Air Flamenco and Vieques Air Link fly from San Juan to Playa Flamenco every 4 hours.



Air Flamenco

Website

flyairflamenco. com

Ave. Duration

30 min

When

Monday to Saturday

Estimated price

€3 — €170


Vieques Air Link

Website

viequesairlink.com

Ave. Duration

30 min

When

Every day

Estimated price

€3 — €170


GO Puerto Rico Shuttle

Phone

(787) 400-2100


Email

[email protected] com


Website

puertoricoshuttle.com


Ave. Duration

1h 10m

Frequency

On demand


Estimated price

€107


Schedules at

puertoricoshuttle.com


Book at

puertoricoshuttle.com




Puerto Rico Ferry

Ave. Duration

1h 30m

Frequency

Every 4 hours


Estimated price

€2 — €19


Schedules at

puertoricoferry. com


Book at

puertoricoferry.com



Adult

€3


Vehicle

€14 — €19




Want to know more about travelling around the world?

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      8 adults

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      View on map2. 0 km from City Center1.8 km from Flamenco Beach

      Situated 2.2 km from Playa Flamenco, this villa features a terrace.

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      See on the map 1.6 km from the city center 2.0 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach

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      7.6

      Very good88 reviews

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      1.6 km from the city center2.2 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach

      This 6-room apartment is located in Culebra, near Playa Tamarindo Grande.

      7.8

      Very good1010 reviews

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      1.5 km from City Center 2.4 km from Hotel Flamenco Beach

      This budget hotel is a great place to start exploring Culebra, with Flamenco Beach and Snorkeling in culebra nearby.

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      Excellent5353 reviews

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      6 adults

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      1.3 km from City Center 2.4 km from Flamenco Beach

      Villa with a terrace and 2 bedrooms is located near Flamenco Beach.

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      1.3 km from City Center 2.4 km from Hotel Flamenco Beach

      This apartment with a terrace is located within walking distance of Zinkowski Art Studio and a 20-minute walk from the center of Culebra.

      8.0

      Excellent1616 reviews

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      11 adults

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      1.6 km from the city center 2.4 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach

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      1.0 km from the city center 2.8 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach

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      4 adults

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      800 m from the city center 2. 9 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach from Zoni beach.

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      1000 m from City Center2.9 km from Flamenco Beach

      This apartment with a terrace also provides cots and board games for guests with children and is within close proximity of the Museum of History.

      8.0

      Excellent88 reviews

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      1.0 km from City Center2.9 km from Flamenco Beach

      Situated near Flamenco Beach, rooms offer sea views.

      8.2

      Excellent3030 reviews

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      900 m from the city center 3.0 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach

      Situated less than 3.2 km from Flamenco Beach, this apartment features a balcony and a kitchenette.

      7.8

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      1.0 km from the city center3.2 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach

      The villa is located 3. 7 km from Playa Flamenco and offers an outdoor pool.

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      1.9 km from city center 3.2 km from Flamenco Beach

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      2.0 km from the city center 3.2 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach

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      1.9 km from the city center 3.2 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach

      This sea-facing hotel is close to Culebra National Wildlife and features a gourmet restaurant.

      8.4

      Excellent4949 reviews

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      2.0 km from the city center 3.4 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach

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      2.2 km from the city center4.2 km from the hotel Flamenco Beach

      Overlooking the sea, this family-run hotel is located close to Culebra’s attractions, including the Museum of History.

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