If there’s even the slightest chance that you haven’t had enough beaches in Puerto Rico, a visit to one of the nearby islands off the northeast coast is sure to ease your heart. Actually, you might want to go the other way too!
Culebra is a smaller island with some of the best beaches in the world and I was starting to gravitate towards it after watching some videos on the travel channel on YouTube. ‘P’ decided almost instantly on Vieques after learning that it had the best bioluminescent bays in the world. Unfortunately, I finally gave up because we could only get to one. On the morning we were to catch our ferry to Vieques, we withdrew enough cash to last a couple of days, found a place safe enough to park our car overnight, and trudged with our stuff to the Fajardo ferry terminal. . Two valuable lessons as we waited with our fellow travelers for the next 4-5 hours. #1 – Ferry times are a suggested estimate; they follow an Eastern (or even Indian) sense of time. #2 – It is a government organization; any information disbursed about the schedule change will be in Spanish.
The sea was quite rough on the day we were to set sail and all ferry trips were canceled for the morning. Some half-hearted rumors spread that there might be a cargo ship making a trip later in the evening, but nothing was certain. We could have paid about $50 to fly to Vieques, but decided against it. After making sure the hotel and biobay tour could be canceled free of charge, they returned to Glorias in El Yunque for the night.
And, we just jumped on a 9 AM ferry to Culebra the next day J. It was an hour and a half boat ride from Fajardo to Culebra. Still grumpy from seasickness and wondering how much worse I would get on the return trip, I hopped on a public (local taxi) to get somewhere on the island. There were many other destinations; but since we weren’t really informed to make a decision, we just followed the crowd and landed on the famous flamenco beach. The incredibly beautiful chalk white sands and turquoise blue waters of the beach made the whole trip worth it! How often do you hesitate when told a random fact about a place? Many times I am, and it was not hard for me to believe that Flamenco could be one of the best beaches in the world.
The mile-long stretch of coastline makes Culebra a famous beach camping destination; a European couple traveling with us was enthusiastic about the idea. With a change in ferry schedules, we barely had a couple of hours in Culebra. Had we had more time, there was a small hiking trail leading from Flamenco beach to a private beach on the other side of the island, which we would have explored.
The public is useful when you need it most. They have local service between major cities and some limited service between the East and West coasts. We had a rental car for most of our trip, but ventured into a public one between Río Pedres in San Juan and Aguadilla. The trip was a bit strange because we couldn’t chat with any of the locals in the same van and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to fall asleep. We sit, silent and stoic. It was only 80 miles, but we’re not on the big American highways to make the trip in an hour. A modest 5 hours later, they left us!