Culebra island

The ferry from Fajardo to CulebraOn the ferry to Culebra we saw a whale in the distance, breaking the surface and sending a fountain of water into the air.

It didn’t stay for long though and after 80 excited minutes, scanning the horizon for more of the same we arrived in Dewey.

The guidebook and the map hadn’t prepared us at all for just how much of a one horse town Dewey is. It talks about “the ferry terminal” and the “dock area”, but in fact there is just a ticket office and ramp for the ferry and a short promenade of shops facing the “docks”.

Within 2 minutes we had found our hotel and were being checked in. Named Mamacita’s, it was supposed to be reasonable accommodation with a good restaurant, and in fact turned out to be the best food we had in Puerto Rico.

Culebra is tiny, measuring just 7 miles long by 3.5 miles wide. Shared taxi minivans called “publicos” run between the dock area and Flamenco beach on the other side of the island and at around $2 per person are exceptional value.

Flamenco beach is a crescent of white sand a couple of miles long and named because of the Flamingos that visit the nearby lagoon in winter and has a coral reef just off shore, where we swam and snorkeled before catching a publico back to the hotel.

The next morning we caught a publico to Flamenco beach. From the parking lot we walked west to Carlos Rosario beach. Known as “Impact Beach” by the locals, it was used until recently by the US navy for target practice.

Carlos Rosario beachWe also returned the following day, this time on foot from our hotel – we were amused to see two geese out for a walk – when they saw a man walking along the road they took exception and chased after him too!

The whole peninsula is now a wildlife reserve that is off limits due to the danger of unexploded ordinance. It turned out to be a good choice, again a white sandy beach with an excellent coral covered barrier reef.

The water is incredibly clear, like a swimming pool, and with the white sand you get that pale blue caller that you always see in photos of the Caribbean.

The coral is extensive and very impressive to see – probably the best you’ll see snorkeling. Another treat was while looking out to sea, when we saw fins in the water as a group of dolphins passed, playfully leaping at the surface.

We also saw a a ray, “flying” along the bottom of the sandy bottom at about 30 feet – very graceful and alien.

Culebra is definitely worth a visit for a few days real R&R. The beaches are spectacular and with a 20 minute walk you can have a beach pretty much to yourself. Although Carlos Rosario doesn’t have bathroom or changing facilities or food vendors, it allows you to really get away from everything.

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