I heart CUL on Culebra Island on the dock near the ferry in Puerto Rico

Beautiful Island of Culebra: Things to do on a Day Trip in Puerto Rico

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Last Updated on March 10, 2022 by Michelle Moyer

A day trip to Culebra Island: Paradise in Puerto Rico! 

You should definitely include all of these Culebra things to do on your Puerto Rico itinerary!  Culebra is a short day-trip from the main island of Puerto Rico.  It is Puerto Rico’s least populated town but filled with exciting things to do for vacationers.

If you have extra time in your itinerary to Puerto Rico and you have already explored and toured all the historical sites in Old San Juan, visit Culebra Island and spend some time exploring all the white sand beaches on Culebra. It will feel like you have taken a trip to your own private island paradise!

Best Things to do in Culebra Puerto Rico

Where is Culebra?

Culebra is a small island that is 17 miles to the east of Puerto Rico’s main island.  It is known mainly for beaches and snorkeling.  There is a lot of marine life including those adorable sea turtles swimming around Culebra’s healthy coral reefs.  The best beaches on the island are Flamenco Beach and Tamarindo Beach.

How big is Culebra Island?

It is a small island, measuring 7 miles by 5 miles. So spending 1 day in Culebra will be enough to see almost everything. If you extend your Culebra vacation, your itinerary will be filled with even more beautiful beaches and exciting snorkeling!

Follow along to learn about the CULEBRA ATTRACTIONS and all the wonderful things to do in Culebra Island Puerto Rico so that you can plan a PERFECT TRIP!

Flamenco Beach

beach and water with palm trees at Flamenco Beach in Culebra Puerto Rico
Flamenco Beach, the best beach in Culebra Puerto Rico

Flamenco Beach is the best beach in Culebra, the best beach in Puerto Rico, and battles as one of the best beaches in the world.  It is 1 ½ miles long of white sand with a palm tree-lined backdrop and a great opportunity for beautiful green mountain vistas.

There are restroom and changing facilities. There are a few Flamenco Beach food kiosks, picnic tables under the palm trees, showers, and vendors for chairs, umbrellas, and snorkel gear.  The island has spent a great deal of effort in renovating Flamenco Beach since it is quite popular with the tourists.

There is a parking fee of $4 – $5 and a per-person ticket entry fee of $2.  It was a cloudy day when we were there… and in fact it rained about 5 different times that day….  so the parking lot (and the beach!!) wasn’t that crowded.  I can imagine that the parking gets difficult during peak times on the days that the weather is beautiful.

military tank in the blue water on a beach at Flamenco Beach in Culebra in Puerto Rico
TANK on Flamenco Beach in Culebra Puerto Rico

The presence of official military tanks on Flamenco beach, one in the water and one on the land, give an eerie air to the whole beach since it can be seen in the distance as a large shadow looming in the water.  The tanks were left during the US presence in Puerto Rico.  Now, they sit, abandoned and rusting in the water.  They give an easel for those that love graffiti and a huge prop for those that love a unique selfie!

PRO TIP:  Wear water shoes around the tank in the water since there is a lot of rusted tank debris in the sand surrounding the tank.

How to get to Flamenco Beach

Depending on how you get to Culebra, there are a number of options for getting around Culebra. We opted for a golf cart rental.  It was so much fun tooling around that little island and going wherever we felt like going without a set driving itinerary!

The beach is only a short ride from the ferry dock.  You can easily drive there in a golf cart rental or take a taxi to Flamenco Beach from the Culebra ferry dock for around $10.

I discuss the options for getting to Culebra island itself, including the ferries to Culebra, in a later section.

Don’t want the hassle of driving?  Take a tour that includes the famous Flamenco Beach!

Tamarindo Beach

boat in the water and rocky beach with pebbles at Tamarindo Beach Culebra in Puerto Rico
Tamarindo Beach Culebra Puerto Rico

Tamarindo Beach does not have as nice of a sandy beach as Flamenco Beach.  The shore at Tamarindo has more pebbles and rocks.  However, the bonus at this beach is a better opportunity to see sea turtles since there are usually more here. Take your snorkel gear and look out for those beautiful creatures!

Zoni Beach

2 people sitting on a palm tree in front of the water at Zoni Beach - best beach in Culebra puerto rico
Zoni Beach is the best beach in Culebra!

Zoni Beach is a secluded paradise. It is the second-most popular beach on Culebra, but you would never know it while you are strolling its shores. The long stretches of sand are empty and beckon you to stretch out under the sun rays. There are numerous palm trees where you can pull up and devour a good book while enjoying the sea breeze.

It is on THIS beach that we were able to get our postcard-perfect Culebra beach photo under the palm trees. We sent it to all our family and friends to make them jealous!

Explore the whole Culebra Island in a day

lady hanging off the back of a blue golf cart while Riding around a golf cart on Culebra for a day in puerto Rico
Ride around the Island of Culebra for a day

If you enjoy colorful Caribbean houses, green mangrove forests (like the amazing El Yunque National Forest and its hidden natural slides), and visiting more than the popular sites on a day trip, you can explore the rest of Culebra Island for some hidden treasures and more secluded beaches. One day in Culebra Puerto Rico is definitely enough time to drive around the whole island in a rental car —or even more fun —a golf cart.

How to get around in Culebra

Culebra Island is small, but not THAT small.  Once you arrive at the ferry dock in Culebra, there is a small town of shops and restaurants, but after that, you will not be able to walk everywhere.  Some of the beaches are a 5 – 10 minutes drive from the ferry dock.

Golf Cart Rental on Culebra

man driving a golf cart for a day in Culebra on a wet road in front of a blue house in Puerto Rico

We rented a golf cart from Carlos Jeep Rental.  It was really easy.  We reserved one ahead of time and when our morning ferry arrived in Culebra, the shuttle was there to take hubby to the rental building to pick up the golf cart.  It was not cheap, but it was really fun exploring the whole island of Culebra during our short day trip.  We drove around on all the little roads and up and down the hills, through the mangroves for a little over an hour, and definitely put some miles on our little golf cart rental!

Carlos Jeep rental also has jeeps —it’s in the name!! if you want a bigger vehicle!

If you are thinking SMALLER, there are also several bike rental companies on the island that average about $20 per day for a rental. Even smaller — there are scooter rentals with a guided tour!!

If you don’t want to drive yourself around Culebra, there will be plenty of taxi drivers waiting at the dock to take you to all the popular destinations, like Flamenco Beach, and then back to the ferry dock at the end of the day.

Walk around downtown Culebra by the dock

large pizza with plantains on it from Heathers pizza in culebra puerto rico
Pizza from Heather’s Pizza in Culebra

Spend some time near the ferry dock station.  There are several small shops, restaurants, and bars to enjoy. If you are a foodie, exploring all the small eateries in this area is one of the fun things to do in Culebra Puerto Rico!

In fact, we ordered a to-go pizza from Heather’s Pizza (take-out was the only option during the pandemic!) and found a bench looking out over the water.  It was the first time we had a pizza with plantains on it!  Plantains are common fruits in tropical areas so I wanted to try them.  They are a variation of our common banana and I enjoyed the sweet contrast of the plantains on my pizza!  We ate our dinner while waiting for our return ferry to the main island of Puerto Rico.


More time in Puerto Rico? Follow my Ultimate Guide!!!

Kayak in Culebra Puerto Rico

Paddling along the clear blue water around Culebra in a kayak is a great way to enjoy the Caribbean atmosphere and sealife.  

WARNING:  The tantalizing views will make you want to jump in and do some snorkeling for your next Culebra activity adventure! …so keep reading for snorkel and scuba diving in Culebra!

Paddleboard in Culebra Puerto Rico

The water on the west coast of Culebra is very calm and perfect for paddleboarding.  There are places that you can rent equipment and even snorkel gear for viewing the sea life when you are done with your paddleboard!

Take a guided paddle board tour, or rent one and explore Culebra on your own.

Culebra Snorkeling

Culebra is one of the best spots in the world for snorkeling because the underwater reefs have not been touched by millions of tourists.  They are preserved and living with vibrant colored coral and sealife. The best snorkeling beaches on Culebra are Flamenco Beach, Tamarino Beach and Zoni Beach as well as many other hidden gems.

Scuba Dive in Culebra Puerto Rico

Explore even more of Culebra’s reef system with a scuba diving tour.  There are dozens of dive sites and depths for all levels of divers.  You will be amazed at what you discover in Culebra’s pristine waters.

Culebra Wildlife Refuge

The National Wildlife Refuge was formed by President Theodore Roosevelt and is overseen by the US Navy.  In the Caribbean, it is made up of 22 islands including Culebra.  On your tour through the National Wildlife Refuge, you will see grasslands, mangroves, canyons, and forests.

Food on Culebra Island & Culebra Drinks

Bright blue restaurant on the water with boats outside it to eat for good food in Culebra Puerto Rico
Dinghy Dock: Good food in Culebra – Image: sbeam, CC BY-SA 2.0

Speaking of dinner, there are a handful of notable sit-down restaurants.

Dinghy Dock, located near the Culebra ferry dock, is a must-see experience of dining in an open-air restaurant with a fun-loving atmosphere, a beautiful view of the bay, and a delicious Puerto Rican menu.

The island’s signature cocktail is a Bushwhacker, a tropical chocolate-flavored alcoholic milkshake! Don’t forget to order one of THOSE with your dinner on Culebra.

How to get to Culebra Puerto Rico

raised green map of Culebra Island
Culebra Island Map

In increasing order of cost, the options of getting to Culebra Island from the main island of Puerto Rico are listed below.  Choose your method and then continue reading for further tips and advice for getting from Ceiba to Culebra.

  • A 1-hour ferry boat ride to Culebra from Ceiba (less than $5 per person round trip)
  • An excursion or day-trip to Culebra from Ceiba that plans the boat trip & Culebra activities for you
  • A 30-minute plane ride to Culebra from San Juan International Airport (~$100 round trip)
  • An excursion or day-trip to Culebra that plans a flight from San Juan Airport to Culebra and the activities for you (~$375)

Ferry to Culebra – Method 1

How to get to the ferry terminal in Ceiba in order to get to Culebra

people sitting in rows of chairs at the Ferry Terminal in Ceiba Puerto Rico

The ferry dock is located in Ceiba Puerto Rico and is a little less than 50 miles from San Juan.  If you are planning to take the ferry to Culebra, you will also need to plan a way to get to the ferry dock.  If you already have a rental car, it will just be a scenic 1-hour drive from your San Juan hotel to Ceiba.

  • Taxi from San Juan to Ceiba (~$90)
  • Can Rental (depends on # rental days)
  • An excursion or day-trip to Culebra that includes a flight from the San Juan Airport to Culebra and all the activities (~$375)

Ferry to Culebra from Ceiba

white boat at a dock for Ferry to Culebra Puerto Rico
Taking the Ferry to Culebra

The high-speed ferry from Ceiba is the cheapest way to get to Culebra and is a scenic ride that clips along the waves at an amazing speed.  However, it is definitely not the fastest method to get to Culebra.  You should only choose this method if you are planning a relaxed day in Culebra without any time constraints.

First, you have to travel to Ceiba, which is a 1-hour car ride away from San Juan.  Most travelers don’t stay in Ceiba, so the travel time from their accommodation adds up and results in waking up earlier in the morning.

The ferry dock has boats going to Culebra Island as well as Vieques, so make sure you are buying tickets to the correct island!  The workers are all quite friendly, speak English, and will definitely help you find the right place to get in line for boarding your ferry to Culebra.

Ferry tickets are available online ahead of time BUT in very limited quantity.

If you want to be assured of a seat, pay attention to the release of your ferry tickets and get one right away.  If not, the rest of the unreleased tickets are sold first-come at the ferry dock.  Arrive one hour before your ferry time and get in the ticket window line.  AFTER you purchase your ticket THEN park your car down the road in the visitor’s lot and take the free shuttle van back to the dock.

Price of Ferry Tickets to Culebra

Either online or in-person, the ticket prices are CHEAP!

  • Adults  (Ages 12 – 59) $2.25 one way / $4.50 round trip
  • Children ages (Ages 3 – 11)  $1.00
  • Seniors (Ages 60 – 74)  $1.00
  • Seniors (Ages 75 and up)  Free

*Prices subject to change, especially during peak season

What to know about the ferry ride to Culebra

It takes a little under an hour to get to Culebra from Ceiba on the ferry.  It is often a rough ride.  We went on a windy day and it felt like a roller coaster going over all the waves.   I watched out my window as the ferry dove into each wave and created a massive shower of water spray against the windows of the boat each time.  

At first, everyone was cheering and lifting their arms up for each wave.  ….THEN it got eerily quiet and the crew started handing out barf bags!  I think about 10 people were seasick on our ferry ride to Culebra!! If you are prone to seasickness, maybe skipping the ferries to Culebra is your best choice!

The ferry itself is quite comfortable.  There is seating inside or outside, depending on the weather.  Although I think it could get very windy with outside seating. The seats are well-padded.  Hubby actually fell asleep during all the commotion but didn’t mind missing all the seasick sounds!

How long does it take to get to Culebra from San Juan

The total time to get from San Juan to Culebra is nearly 3 hours!

  • + 1 hr car ride to Ceiba from San Juan
  • + 1 hr arrive early at the ferry terminal
  • +1 hr boarding and ferry ride to Ceiba

If you want to arrive on Culebra at 10 am to pick up a golf cart and drive to Flamenco Beach, you need to start your journey at 7 am  –or earlier if you anticipate taking a wrong turn or two!  We stopped at the Puerto Rican Bakery for breakfast sandwiches and donuts, so we left EVEN EARLIER than 7 am!  I HIGHLY recommend a pit stop at that bakery!!

Airplane Flight to Culebra – Method 2

airplane wing in the sky

Getting a quick flight to Culebra is a great idea if you are short on time and want to spend less of you vacation time traveling around from one place to another.

Silver Airlines or Cape Airlines fly to Culebra’s little Benjamín Rivera Noriega Airport.  Get an airplane flight from San Juan to Culebra and you could be there ready to hit the beach in a half an hour’s time! 

Have your snorkel gear ready to go as soon as your plane lands with this perfect Culebra day trip itinerary that includes transfers and snorkeling in Culebra.

Day Trip to Culebra Island – Method 3

Taking an excursion and day trip tour is the way to go to Culebra if you don’t want to worry about the planning and transportation details.  There are many organized trips to Culebra Island that leave from San Juan. 

Take a look at some of these day trips to Culebra and choose your fun activities for the day! Most of the day trips include complimentary drinks.

Culebra Tours & Day Trips

Conclusion of THINGS TO DO IN CULEBRA

I hope you found some great ideas of things to do on a day trip to Culebra Puerto Rico! We definitely filled up our 1 day in Culebra with all of these activities.

Did I leave anything out? Leave a comment about some of the exciting activities in Culebra

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Kitti

We went to Puerto Rico a few years ago, but only had two days there to explore San Juan. I really want to return to explore more, so I’m definitely saving your article. Thanks for sharing.

Lasma

I never heard about Culebrea, but always wanted to visit Puerto Rico! I will save this article for my future travels ❤️

simplyjolayne

This is on our bucket list. I love that you can find pizza the world over!

Krista

This looks like such a beautiful area to visit! I would really like to visit that beach and chill out there.

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