Family Vacations to Culebra, Puerto Rico

Family Overview - Culebra, Puerto Rico
Spend a day of your Puerto Rican vacation on the nearby island Culebra. (courtesy, Puerto Rico Tourism)

Culebra Family Travel Tips

  • Discover an island oasis with great beaches and few people.
  • Swim and sun on Flamenco Beach, one of the U.S.'s most beautiful.
  • Snorkel among colorful fish and spectacular coral.
  • Explore the sandy beaches of off-shore cays.

Located some 20 miles east of mainland Puerto Rico, nine miles north of Vieques, the island Culebra delivers the Caribbean of long ago—a sun-swept seascape devoid of traffic and high-rise hotels. A 30-minute flight from bustling San Juan, or a one-hour ferry ride, yacht or boat rental, or flight from Fajardo, lands you on the island Culebra. The ferry lands in Dewey, Culebra's only town, where dive shops, a few eateries, bike rentals, and a handful of T-shirt and souvenir shops are located. With barely 3,000 residents, the island is even more laid-back than Vieques. Instead of partiers swaying to salsa beats on packed dance floors, nightlife entails listening to the palm fronds rustling in the breeze. Without duty free shopping malls, crowds, or any kind of a "scene," Culebra won't please everyone—just those families who want spectacular beaches and low key charm.

Flamenco Beach, Culebra's jewel, takes its name from the pink flamingos that once nested in a nearby lagoon. A top-notch beach, Flamenco stretches nearly a mile long in a horseshoe curve of wide sands with modest waves, and is framed by sea grape trees and mangroves. This is the place for splashing, building sandcastles, and strolling. Concessionaires sell soft drinks and snacks and rent chairs and shade umbrellas. Part of a public park, Flamenco Beach has overnight camping, a rarity in the Caribbean. Best of all, the sites sit so close to the sea that the sound of breaking surf will lull you to sleep.

Another island highlight, Carlos Rosario Beach's sliver of sand serves as the departure point for one of the island's top snorkeling outings. Reach this spot from Flamenco Beach by walking about three-quarters of a mile up a hill and down to the next cove. With little kids, take a water taxi. Carlos Rosario is known for its striking coral wall that descends some 40 feet. Just offshore, snorkel over acres of watery gardens blooming with colorful orange brain, purple fan, brown elkhorn, and stag coral. Float with parrot fish, trumpets, trigger fish, damsels, and other underwater beauties. Soldado Beach offers another good snorkeling spot. A popular dive site is Sail Rock, reached by a 30-minute boat ride.

The hearty can paddle to Culebrita, a cay east of Culebra, but most travelers arrive by water taxi. Head to Tortuga Beach, located on the north side of the island, to scramble over sea-splashed rocks called the Baths. Luis Peña, west of Culebra, is another cay with sandy beaches and snorkeling.

Tip: In April and May turtles lay their eggs in the sands of Resaca, Brava, and Zoni beaches on Culebra's Atlantic coast.'s resident family expert Candyce Stapen has written the book on family travel, having authored some 1,400 travel articles and 27 books, 26 of them on family travel. She is the winner of the 2004 "Caribbean Travel Writer of the Year for North America" award and a three-time winner of the Society of American Travel Writers' Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism award. Her articles have appeared in publications including Nick Jr , FamilyFun , Parents , Better Homes & Gardens , Conde Nast Traveler , National Geographic Traveler , and the Family Travel Network , among others. Her book, the National Geographic Guide to Caribbean Family Vacations is available from

Published: 26 Nov 2007 | Last Updated: 9 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »