Culebrita, the true beach treasure

I almost don’t want to write this blog post.

I don’t want to write it because I am kind of afraid that a bunch of people will read it and then book the next flight out to San Juan and on to Culebra. That’s because by far the most beautiful beach I have ever seen is on the island of Culebrita, a short water taxi from Culebra.

So I read some reviews about how amazing Culebrita was so I decided to call up a water taxi guy and request a ride for the next day. I assumed by the way he described it that meant he would drive us around in the boat and hang out with us for the day. That part, is, in fact, false. Unless you’re willing to shell out the big bucks on a private tour, a water taxi simply takes you to the island and drops you off.

Kind of like being on Survivor. But we knew he would come back that afternoon, or rather, we hoped. Because when we got to Culebrita there was NO ONE else as far as the eye could see down the tiny island. I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous.

But alas, I had a half bottle of Puerto Rican Don Q rum, some beer, some snacks, a snorkel and some flippers, so I wasn’t worried for too long. Shirin and I immediately dove in and started looking for sea turtles with our snorkel masks. We must have swam around for at least an hour and a half, looking down at the coral and the colorful fish. Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to spot a sea turtle, but I loved seeing all the different kind of fish in the clear water.

As the sun rose higher and the day started to warm up a few other boats pulling in to the island with some other snorkelers, but the South shore of the island was still quite deserted. After eating a snack, we decided to hike up to the Culebrita lighthouse to look down over the rest of the island. The lighthouse has long since been deserted and looted, but Shirin and I got to explore anyways and were rewarded with panoramic views in all directions. This view is looking out over the island with it’s two main North and South beaches.

island shores
This view is looking out to sea with the beautiful turquoise clear water.

blue sea
It’s true, climbing to the top of the lighthouse was a little nerve-wracking, and not recommended for anyone not in good physical health as it does require excellent balance.

Also, if you ever decided to go to Culebrita bring tennis shoes or wear athletic sandals  in order to hike up to the lighthouse and from the north to the south shore! Our guide didn’t warn us in advance so Shirin ended up cupping up her feet like crazy with the terrain in her flip flops.

After hiking to the lighthouse, we decided to hike to the North shore to Tortuga Bay, and this was my favorite beach! We walked along the island trail with thousands of hermit crabs scrambling to get out of our way, some of them HUGE, as big as a fist! At Tortuga, we encountered many more yachts and schooners docked in the bay… this is a place the rich come to relax. Still, there were less than 20 people lounging in the sand. Not that we did any lounging, of course. We were off to the next adventure, exploring the tidal pools at the end of the beach.

If you’re looking for what I consider to be a perfect day at the beach: complete with hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and a beautiful beach with almost no other people, you need to visit Culebrita. More about that and the rest of our day on Culebrita in my next post!

island path


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