Re: Culebra-trip report
Culebra-Flamenco Beach photo gallery
Mission: quick and easy get away to a new island.
Culebra has been on my 'radar' for about 8-9 years but I always bypassed it for further reaching/more exotic locals. Turns out that given my mission Culebra was the perfect choice!
Picked up good flights on Delta direct to SJU ($425-not bad for 2 days notice but not as good with a bit more time to plan). Arrived in SJU and waited for my best girlfriend to come in on her flight from ATL (different carrier but quite easy as both airlines arrived into the B concourse)
We grabbed a taxi to the Isla Grande airport not far from the Int airport and had a terrible bite to eat at the airport (not surprised) while we waited for the Air Flamenco flight to depart. AF is not unlike Winair: they add additional flights as necessary, send over luggage on the next plane, and leave on island time. No real worries and much less chaotic than SXM-SBH. 30 minute flight ($105/rt) was very scenic going along the coast of PR back over the tourist zone and Int airport towards Fajardo and then off the coast to Culebra. Usual BI/N - 10 seater including pilot. Route takes you over Flamenco Beach for your first glimpse of this gorgeous stretch of sand/water and then drops down to runway 13 (which is my lucky number so I deemed the island to be 'a good one' straight away on arrival !) Waited for the next flight with our luggage (allowed 25 lbs free; small charge for overage) and then took on the task of finding a publico/taxi to our first nights in town. I figured we would just wing it but it had gotten a bit late and I was quite thankful for the kind assistance from Terry Palmetto Guest House
who made several calls and was able to arrange for our pickup. I had called her earlier in the week about an opening but they were full - but here she was welcoming her guests and helping us at the same time. Another good indication that this island was going to be a fine experience. She and her husband Mark lived in Papua New Guinea during a stent with the Peace Corps and came to Culebra via Tortola. They also publish the Culebra Blog
So off we went with our ride to Posada la Hamaca
which is situated right in town, on the canal, next to Mamacita's. Host, Adam, is extremely nice and the location is fine for a first night/dinner. Small room overlooking the canal with a nice patio to relax by the water. Right now the big noise maker is in use starting very early across the bridge so sleeping in was not an issue. No matter because we wanted to be up and out to Flamenco as early as possible. Picked up a cafe con leche at Pandeli right in town and then we were off to Colmado Milka for our few provisions. Publico to Villa Flamenco Beach
, dropped off bags and groceries in the office with Kate, hit the beach. Ahhhhh....... We came back up for a lunch snack and the room was available so we got settled in and then back to the beach. That afternoon we decided that adult beverages might be in order so we walked to town this time going to Superette Mayra and then Colmado Milka. This is the norm for Culebra-not unlike SBH where some items may be available at Match and other at Oasis, etc... Dinner in town since we were already there @ The Dingy Dock-located on the Ensenada Honda harbor. I had fresh Red Snapper, plantains, and large green salad. Great view.
Friday morning was the fresh veggie/fruit market and my friend went into town for a few items and to hit the ATM - - I found no compelling reason to leave the beach and actually didn't venture out again until departure day/Monday
That evening was the fish dinner that our hosts, Esmeralda and Max, kindly organized. They brought a large fish to grill, rice/beans, desert and the guests brought the sides. I can say with certainty that a better meal could not be had that evening on the island! Amazing what some of the long term guests can whip up given the limited resources. Villa Flamenco Beach has a high rate of repeat and long term visitors who are all friendly and wonderful to engage in conversation. Nice group of folks.
Saturday was spent at the beach until my BF had to leave. I finished out the day the way it started...on the beach as long as possible and into the night. Repeat on Sunday
The only stress of the entire trip was my publico ride to the airport for a very early (7:00a.m.) flight to Isla Grande. He got me there by 7 and I was thankful for a light passenger load and an understanding Air Flamenco staff guy who let the 'check in time' thing slip. Felt a bit vulnerable all the way at Flamenco when he didn't show for a while... no worries, it all worked out and I had a plan B with the AF guy for the 11:00 flight. Given my current hangover status I would have much preferred to sleep in Monday and take that flight but I was not aware of it until then (that is par for the course with AF).
Made it to the mainland; easy cab ride to Isla Verde where I had planned to spend the morning at a hotel very near the airport. Had a nice breakfast with cafe con leche and got in several more hours of sun time before heading back to a very cold and still frozen Georgia. Power was restored in my hometown during my flight to ATL. Cold for a few days and then nearly 80. That's Georgia weather for you!
I would go back to Culebra, if I could stay at Villa Flamenco again, in a heartbeat. It was the near perfect fly and flop getaway where the beach is the focus. Might just need a little French invasion to rank it perfect