Flamenco Beach on Culebras western shore is absolutely breath taking. Whether you're walking along the tree lines beach; swimming, snorkeling or taking in the Culebra sun you're sure to be completely relaxed and having a grand ole time.
Flamenco Beach is horseshoe shaped, half-mile-wide, is bordered by the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, one of America's oldest preserves from 1909. What makes this particular Culebra beach so special, is the surf break over the reef which is about a quarter-mile offshore on the west side. If you're curious, there's an old World War II tank, half-buried and rusting as a reminder that Culebra was once a firing range for the military.
But the balneario at Flamenco on the west shore is first class. Fine, white-sand greets you and goes gently around to a pleasant picnic area. Here you'll find some vendors and the beginning of the campground area. We found the bottom here relatively rock free. And when you try snorkeling out towards the rock outcroppings, there are some nice brain coral with plenty of parrot fish, blue tang, and wrasse to see.
You're not going to find a bad spot on the beach. Trust us. Puerto Rico sits with the Caribbean Sea on the south coast and the mighty Atlantic on the north coast. Culebra basks in the Caribbean and the waters are warm.
Malena is a small bay facing east, protected by a reef area from the ocean swell. It has a tiny sandy beach, mangroves and beautiful beach rocks. This area is considered part of the Nature Reserve. It is only a few feet away from Punta Soldado. From Malena you have beautiful views of St. Thomas and if you walk to the SE point you can also see Vieques.
Snorkeling, swimming and just hanging out are the things to do around here. Also, is is not far from Dakity and Fulladosa bays so you may want to take a kayak and explore. Hiking would also be beautiful around this area.
If you are an early riser or arrive during full moon, Malena would be a perfect place to enjoy both!
Punta Soldado Beach
Punta Soldado is at the SE point of Culebra with a southern view facing Vieques, from here you can also see the main Island of Puerto Rico. It is a small bay with a beach of coral and small stones, surrounded by brush and mangroves. This is a beautiful part of Culebra for snorkeling and night diving. Due to its accessibility by car, often people go to hang out for the day. Occasionally you may even see a sailboat moored there.
Zoni Beach is a quiet beach with public access facing Northeast, with a great view of Culebrita, Cayo Norte and St. Thomas. Zoni beach is an amazing place to spend the day while in Culebra. There's a couple of nice sea grape trees that offer shade if you head off down to the right. Or, if you go to the left you can walk for at least a half-mile you might even encounter some rock art or figures made out of coconuts and driftwood. During the right time of the year, Zoni Beach is a sea turtle nesting site.
Culebrita is a small coral island approximately 1 mile in length off the eastern coast of Culebra, Puerto Rico and is part of the Puerto Rico Archipielago. Together with Cayo Botella off the northwestern point, it belongs to the barrio Frailes of Culebra. It is a nature reserve and home of the oldest lighthouse in the Caribbean. There are six beaches on Culebrita, the chief being Playa Tortuga (Turtle Beach). The beach is named for the many Culebra sea turtles that use the beach for breeding grounds and the surrounding waters for grazing.
This island is a favorite destination for sunbathers who want to escape the crowds at Playa Flamenco. On the northern shore there are several tide pools; snuggling into one of them is like taking a warm bath. Snorkelers and divers love the fact that Tidal pools trap small sea life at low tide and you can reach the reef from the shore. You can also hike around the island and visit the ruins of an old lighthouse
The Island is accessible by boat from the main island of Culebra.
The Culebrita Lighthouse was built by the Spanish Crown in 1882 - 1886. The main reason for construction was to ascertain sovereignty over Culebra and its surrounding islands towards the British and Danish.
Only twelve years later the Spanish American War gave the lighthouse into U.S. hands, in which it remains to this day. The Navy used it as an observation post until 1975. Then the Coast Guard installed a solar powered light. That made the building 'obsolete'. Since then the lighthouse has been subject to the harsh environment with very little maintenance.
On October 22, 1981, the Culebrita Lighthouse was dedicated a Historical Monument of the United States. Neither the Coast Guard nor the Fish and Wildlife Service that currently owns the Island of Culebrita, nor any state or federal agency, has done much to preserve the Lighthouse.
A victim of vandalism and destructed by Hurricanes Hugo in 1989 and Marilyn in 1995, most of the original doors and windows are gone. Part of the roof has collapsed. The rest of the building is on the verge of complete ruin.
The municipality gained control of the structure and surrounding 4 acres of land in the beginning of 2003. The Puerto Rican Government has allocated $700,000. to reconstruction - albeit the estimates for renovation go up to $4 million. Let's hope the building will be stabilized so we don't lose this precious jewel!
Carlos Rosario Beach
Carlos Rosario beach is located on the northwest side of Culebra; this beautiful beach is one of the best snorkeling spots on the island. The beach can be accessed by two different paths. The first begins at Flamenco Beach behind the parking lot on the left. A path leads up a hill and circles down to the beach. The second route begins at Tamarindo beach. From there, you walk northwest along the beach over rock and sand shorelines. You'll be climbing over huge boulders and enjoying a beautiful view of the sea surrounding Culebra. Both paths end at a pretty beach which is not, however, Carlos Rosario. Continue at the peninsula to find Carlos Rosario beach. Make a right (north) and walk down the shoreline about 100 yards where you will see a large sandy basin in the sea and lots of big shade trees on the beach. An easier way to visit Carlos Rosario is to go by water taxi or by renting a boat. Carlos Rosario is a pleasant, gentle, sandy beach almost surrounded by a coral reef.
On the north side of the island, this beach is breathtaking. No swimming is recommended here as the Spanish word Resaca means undertow! The hike to the beach is the most challenging of all the many hikes available while in Culebra. The trail is very steep and rocky. It is maintained by the U.S. Fish & wildlife.
On the north side of Culebra island, Brava is very impressive. Drive on around the bay from town out to road 250. Go on past marker KM 4 and take the first left after the hill past the colorful island cemetery (just past the historical "1905" building). Meander along on this road until the payment ends, (about one mile) in front of a private gate. Park near the gate and get ready for an unforgettable walk to the beach. The path to Brava is straight ahead, in the same direction as the paved road.
The first half of the hike is up a small incline and then down a somewhat steep slope. The second half of this hike is along a flat tree-lined trail that is usually covered with tons of bright butterflies. You will be taking the first right off the trail. You can probably hear the ocean waves splashing on Brava beach when you approach this cut off in the trail. Just before reaching the beach, you'll pass an old well. Pass the well on the left and walk on down to the beach. About a mile long, Brava Beach has a few palm trees for shade and lots of sand. Being on the north side of the island, this beach will have some of the biggest waves in Culebra. The name in fact is the Spanish word meaning rough. There are also some really strong undercurrents here so take care not to venture out too far as the surf can be extremely dangerous. Because of the hike to get here, the beach is usually devoid of people which makes it a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of beautiful downtown Dewey.
Luis Pena Island
Located west of Culebra, Luis Pena gets its name from the second owner of the key. Now it is a part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge. It has several beautiful sandy beaches, the most popular being on the north side of the island. However, the southwest side of Luis Pena has a sandy beach that quickly succumbs to the corals and marine life. It is perfect for snorkelers. The rocky points adjacent to the beaches are also Tropical bird nesting areas, so please stay on the beach. Pack a lunch and hire one of the local water taxis or rent a boat to spend an unforgettable day on this enchanted tiny island. You will probably have the whole island to yourself!
Take the road to flamenco to see the spectacular views from this elevated abandoned Navy site. Take the first dirt road to the right past the airport and before Flamenco lagoon. Continue along behind the lagoon and when you come to a fork in the road, by an old Navy lookout post, bear right up a concrete road. At the next somewhat backward fork, stay to the left continuing up the hill. At the third fork you will see the old yellow and red Navy observation post. Park your car and begin a five minute, quarter-mile hike up to the old helicopter pad. At the top you will have breathtaking views in all directions of Flamenco as well as Resaca beach. This is the easiest way to see Resaca beach.
For a secluded picnic, swim or snorkel, take road 251 towards Flamenco beach. Then take a left onto the first dirt road, past the end of the airport runway (it is a little way). There is a private home on the left and another parallel road on the right. Continue along until you see the big Tamorindo tree - that gives us the beach name.
Tamarindo beach has little sandy areas but lots of shade and calm water. There is also some pretty decent snorkeling. Park by a small concrete building and you're there. You can also hike to Culebras beautiful Carlos Rosario from here.