Flamingo culebra: Flamenco beach | Discover Puerto Rico

Flamenco beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico

Photo: Angel Xavier Viera-Vargas/Creative Commons

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With its soft white sand, turquoise-tinted water, and proximate empanadas, Flamenco Beach on the Puerto Rican island of Culebra is regarded as one of the best beaches in the world. But there is one incongruous sight in this paradise: a pair of rusting battle tanks, left on the sand as a souvenir from the U.S. Navy.

In 1901, following Spain’s ceding of Puerto Rico to the U. S., President Theodore Roosevelt allocated all of Culebra’s public land to the Navy. Soon, troops were conducting test landings and ground maneuvers on the island. In 1936, the Navy began using Culebra for bombing practice. Bombardment reached its peak during 1969, when pilots trained for the war in Vietnam. Missiles hit the island on 228 days of that year.

Photo: Jarrett Hines/Creative Commons

By 1970, the 700 residents of Culebra were well and truly fed up with the Navy using their home as a bombing ground. Unexploded ordnance littered the island and the ground bore craters and pock marks from the shelling. A naval attempt to evict the entire population of Culebra was the last straw. In the summer of 1970, residents began a series of non-violent protests, aiming to rid the island of naval occupation.

com/_components/slate-paragraph/instances/[email protected]d»>After seven months of marches, sit-ins, and human blockades of naval sites, the Culebra activists succeeded. In January 1971, the Navy agreed to stop using the island as a test location by 1975. A New York Times article on the deal called Culebra “the Caribbean mouse that roared at the United States Navy.”

Though it’s been almost 40 years since the Navy left, the force’s long-term presence is still evident. The tanks on the beach, painted over and over by locals, are the most obvious sign, but sometimes unexpected reminders occur. In March 2013, a young girl visiting Culebra with her family found unexploded ordnance on Flamenco Beach. Oblivious to its danger, the girl carried it around and played with it, causing the fragile object to break open and burn her.

Visit Atlas Obscura for more on the tanks of Flamenco Beach.

Photo: Jami Dwyer/Creative Commons

Other intriguing beaches around the world:

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  • This black shoreline is made up of exploded lava particles
  • Dead Horse Bay is scavenger heaven for vintage glass enthusiasts

Culebra: Flamenco Beach and Playa Tamarindo

Beloved the world over for its powdery white sand beaches and low-key pace of life, the island a paradise retreat and one of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets. Its most notable beach—Playa Flamenco—is often regarded as one of the best in the world. And still, it remains largely unadulterated by development and mass tourism.

In a region where unfettered development and over-tourism run ripe, Culebra is a rare and shining exception. There are no big hotels, no golf courses, no rowdy cruise ship ports, and no generic fast food chains.

Instead, it boasts a laid-back and local feel dominated by small mom and pop business and some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.

 

Culebra is a small Puerto Rican island with 3,000 inhabitants. It lies 27km off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, in what some people call the Spanish Virgin Islands.

In many ways, it is the antithesis to the hustle and bustle of urban America. All around Culebra, chickens roam freely, resorts are virtually non-existent, and local life continues on “island time.”

It is a small paradise island where mass tourism and American-style consumerism have yet to take hold, and where blissfully crowd-free beaches are the norm rather than the exception.

 

FLAMENCO BEACH IN CULEBRA

Playa Flamenco is the epitome of a picture perfect beach, where bright turquoise waves wash up on pearly white sand. Like Shoal Bay Beach in Anguilla, Seven Mile Beach in Jamaica and Veradero Beach in Cuba, Playa Flamenco showcases the Caribbean at its best.

When Dan and I visited Culebra, we couldn’t help but wonder how crowded the beach would have been if it were located in Florida or California. A location so beautiful is worthy of far more travelers than it receives. Then again, of course I did not complain. Much of the beauty of Playa Flamenco is its relative tranquility.

At the far end of Playa Flamenco is an old military tank that lies stuck in the sand. Though it seems out of place, the tank is a reminder of the US military presence in Puerto Rico–and on Playa Flamenco in particular.

It seems so paradoxical that a beach heralded for its beauty nowadays, was once the target of military bombing practices. In the early 1900s, the US Navy claimed Puerto Rico’s eastern islands of Vieques and Culebra as military bases. President Roosevelt threatened to evict Culebra’s residents to expand its marine base. The island became the target of missiles and live-fire exercises.

The missile testing resulted in a littering of unexploded bombs and toxic waste throughout the island and a population that has become disillusioned with the island’s position as a US Commonwealth state. An outraged local government and citizens in Culebra were finally able to oust the US military in 1975.

Water sources and soil became contaminated and the lingering  toxicity has posed health problems to the islands’ residents.

 

PLAYA TAMARINDO IN CULEBRA

On our second day in Culebra, Dan and I decided to hike over the ridge from our campground to a smaller, more secluded beach called Playa Tamarindo. Playa Tamarindo is known for its spectacular coral reef. We rented snorkeling gear, bought an underwater camera and spent the day admiring the impressive underwater vegetation and brightly colored fish.I was absolutely in awe of the underwater world.

The highlight of our afternoon, was spotting a sea turtle swimming amidst the colorful coral.

Unfortunately, I was unable to capture pictures of the reef with my underwater camera. Though I was incredibly excited about my pictures when I went to develop them, I was disappointed that they all turned out blurry, bright blue and 90 degrees lower than the angle I tried to capture. To my dismay, the pictures I took of the turtle just wound up being images of floating legs.

Just as I was unable to capture images of turtles in Oman, my experience swimming with a sea turtle and tropical fish in Culebra will have to be kept alive in my memory.

 

FERRY FROM MAINLAND PUERTO RICO TO CULEBRA

When we traveled to Culebra in 2012, we had the option to reach the island by plane or boat. Boats left from Fajardo–one of Puerto Rico’s eastern gateways and home to the infamous bioluminescent bay.

Since my visit, however, a few things have changed a bit. The Fajardo-Culebra ferry is no longer running. Instead, ferries to Culebra and Vieques leave from Ceiba. The ferry from Ceiba to Culebra costs $2.50 each way and connects the islands eight times daily.

Like the old ferry terminal at Fajardo, the Ceiba port offers car parking for $5 per day.

 

CAMPING ON PLAYA FLAMENCO

Camping is a popular way to experience Culebra on a budget. The island’s only campsite sits at the North Shore of Flamenco Beach, just a stone’s throw from one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

After docking on Culebra, Dan and I hopped on a bus from the ferry terminal to the infamous Playa Flamenco. The bus driver promised to take us to Flamenco Beach, where we would spent two nights camping. So, after a hair-raising yet hysterical ride complete with strobe lights, a drunk driver and a pole-dancing passenger, we rolled up to Playa Flamenco and set up camp for the night.

The campsite at Playa Flamenco has good facilities and food options. Staying the night near the stretch of powdery sand costs $20 per tent.

 

****

Culebra has all the ingredients of an ideal island getaway. It boasts soft white sands, warm azure waters, and balmy weather year-round.

In a world where stressed-out living has become the norm, visiting Culebra is the perfect cure.

And best of all, travelers from mainland America don’t even need a passport to visit.

Island Charm Culebra, Culebra – Updated 2022 Prices

  • Option and Price Information
  • Amenities
  • Accommodation Conditions
  • * Notes
  • Guest Reviews (113)

You can get a Genius Discount at Island Charm Culebra! To save on this property, just sign in.

Island Charm Culebra is located on Culebra Island.

All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. All rooms have a seating area. Guests can enjoy a cup of coffee on their private terrace or balcony. The private bathroom has a bath or shower. Free toiletries and a hairdryer are provided.

The area is popular for snorkeling, diving and fishing. Culebra Airport is 1. 2 km away.

Couples especially like the location — they rated accommodation in the area for a trip as a couple at 9.4 .

Island Charm Culebra has been welcoming Booking.com guests since Aug 24, 2019 2016.

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Most Popular Amenities & Services

Coffee/tea maker in all rooms

Benefits of this option

Great Location: Highly rated by recent guests (9.3)

Free parking on site


Select dates to see availability and rates.

Type of number

accommodates

Four -bed room with sea views

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Four -bed room with sea views

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Family room

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The closest beaches

    beach DEELS

    8. 0 Very good beach

    1.6 km from the option of accommodation

  • Melones

    9.0 Excellent beach

    1.7 km from the option of placement

    9000 9000

  • Playa de Cascajo Beach

    9.8 magnificent beach

    2 km from the option of accommodation

  • Resaca

    9.0 Excellent beach

    2.2 km from the option of accommodation

  • Tamarino beach

    9.6 Great beach

    2 .3 km from property

  • Brava Beach

    8.5 Very nice beach

    2.4 km from property

  • Flamenco Beach

    9.8 Great beach

    0033 2.8 miles from property

FAQ about property

See what other guests are asking to learn more about this property.

  • Hello. Where is the TV located? I don’t see it in any of the photos.

    Hi, the TV in our Seahorse Suite is mounted on the living room wall. Our Sea Turtle & Sand Dollar Studios has TVs mounted on the wall to the right of the sliding glass doors overlooking the water. We hope this helps. — Thanks. — Thanks.

    This is a translation —

    Reply August 10, 2022

Landmarks nearby *

Most Popular Amenities & Services

Coffee/tea maker in all rooms

Bathroom

  • Toilet paper

  • Towels

  • Towels/bed linen for extra charge

  • Additional toilet

  • Bath or shower

  • Private bathroom

  • Toilet

  • Free toiletries

  • Hair dryer

  • Shower

Bedroom

  • Linen

  • Wardrobe or wardrobe

  • River view

  • City view

  • Mountain view

  • Garden view

  • Lake view

  • Sea view

  • View from the window

outdoors

  • Picnic area

  • Garden furniture

  • Outdoor dining area

  • Outdoor furniture

  • Patio

  • Balcony

  • Terrace

  • Garden

  • Dining table

  • Coffee machine

  • Toaster

  • Plate

  • Kitchenware

  • Kitchen

  • Microwave oven

  • Refrigerator

  • Kitchenette

Amenities in the room

  • Socket near the bed

  • Clothes dryer

  • Clothes hanger

Sports and recreation

  • Live music/performance
    Outside

  • Happy hours
    Additional charge

  • Movie nights
    Beyond the territory
    Additional charge

  • Beach

  • Snorkelling
    Additional charge

  • Diving
    Additional charge

  • Hiking trails
    Outside

  • Canoe
    Additional charge

  • Darts

  • Windsurfing
    Beyond the territory
    Additional charge

  • Billiards
    Additional charge

  • Fishing
    Additional charge

  • Tennis court
    Outside

Living area

  • Dining area

  • Sofa

  • Seating area

Media and technology

  • Flat screen TV

  • Cable channels

  • Satellite channels

  • TV

Food and drink

  • Coffee/tea maker

Internet

Wi-Fi is available in the hotel rooms and is free of charge.

Parking

Free public parking on site (reservation not needed) .

  • Street parking

  • Parking spaces for people with disabilities

Services

  • Private check-in/out

  • Express check-in/out

Reception desk

  • Invoices issued

Entertainment and family services

  • Board games and/or puzzles

  • Children’s books, music or films

  • Board games and/or puzzles

Security

  • Fire extinguishers

  • Video surveillance outside the building

  • Video surveillance in common areas

  • Smoke detectors

  • Key entry

  • 24 hour security

  • Smoking areas

  • Air conditioner

  • Non-smoking throughout

  • Tiled/marble floor

  • Sound insulation

  • Separate entrance

  • Soundproof rooms

  • Family rooms

  • Ironing accessories

  • Non-smoking rooms

  • Iron

The staff speaks these languages

  • English

  • Spanish

Accommodation conditions

Island Charm Culebra takes special requests — add them in the next step!

check in

15:00 – 23:00

Departure

06:00 – 11:00

Cancel/
prepayment

Cancellation and prepayment policies vary depending on the type of option chosen.
Please enter your dates of stay and review the booking conditions for the requested room.

Beds for children

Child Policy

Children of all ages are welcome.

To see exact prices and availability, please enter the number of children in your group and their age when searching.

Crib and extra bed policy

No extra beds or baby cots available.

Age limit

Minimum age to enter: 21 years old

Cards accepted by the property

Island Charm Culebra accepts these cards and reserves the right to temporarily hold an amount prior to arrival.


Smoking

No smoking.

«Quiet Hours»

«Quiet hours» for guests (when you can not make noise): from 22:00 to 07:00.

Pets

Pets are not allowed.

Legal information

This facility is managed by an individual. European Union consumer protection laws may not apply when booking with professional landlords.

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