Culebra, Puerto Rico

On Flamenco Beach
Our morning ferry from Vieques to Farjardo was a smooth, easy trip.  Unfortunately winds and seas picked up a bit prior to our afternoon ride to Culebra, so a number of passengers, myself included, battled with seasickness, making the 60-minute ride seem longer.  On arrival, we found a seat in a public van which whisked us off to our accommodations along with 8 additional passengers, providing us with a short tour of the island as the driver delivered other riders to their destinations.

Green fish(?) with neon green outline, seen at Tamarindo Beach
Arriving late in the day, we walked to dinner that evening and then secured our rental vehicle the following morning.  Several snorkeling sites are available on the island but we headed to Tamarindo Beach, known as a site for spotting rays and turtles.  Neither were around as we snorkeled but we saw a nice variety of coral and fish.

Based on our research, and recommendations from the owner of the bed and breakfast, we headed out that afternoon to Flamenco Beach. Considered one of the best beaches in the world, it is easy to understand how the  beach attained this ranking.  Roughly two miles of white, pinkish sands bordered on one side by clear, turquoise waters, and on the other side by palm and sea grape trees.  With restrooms, showers, beach rentals and several snack bar type eateries located just off the beach, everything you could need for the day is available.  No entry fee is charged, parking is free and lifeguards are on duty in the central portion of the beach.  During our two visits to this beach, we walked the length, and also rented beach chairs for hanging out.  Snorkeling at both the far right and left end of the beach is also recommended but feeling a bit lazy, we didn't want to cart our wet suits, and other gear the distance.  During our weekday visits, the park was not particularly crowded, but I can only imagine that during high season, and on weekends the beach is probably packed.

As part of the Luis Pena Channel Natural Reserve, Melones Beach, offers the possibility of seeing turtles and rays.  Told to get there early to see the turtles, our 9A.M. arrival time the next day was too late, and the turtles had already breakfasted on the sea grasses and taken off for the day, but we did see string rays, a spotted eagle ray,  a ribbon eel and a great diversity of fish. Fan and soft corals, along with several types of hard corals were seen here as well.  A peacock flounder hid in the sand, and only a slight flutter of movement allowed him to be seen.  After a couple of hours in the water, we moved back over to Flamenco Beach for some lunch and relaxation.

Culebra was our favorite of the eight islands we visited, with so much to offer.  On boarding the ferry our last day, we regretted that we ran out of time to explore the waters off the small island. But time to head back home now.  Next trip will be to South America in April, with plenty of adventures awaiting us there.

Peacock Flounder hiding in the sand

Jewelfish swimming next to golden coral

Wooden statue near the ferry dock in Culebra
At Tamarindo Beach

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