Sunday, January 3, 2021

Where Can I Camp in Culebra, Puerto Rico? Full Flamenco Campground Guide.

A few years ago I had the joy of visiting Culebra, Puerto Rico.  Culebra is an island to the east of the main Island of Puerto Rico.  It's a beautiful island where you can walk from one side to the other, explore hidden beaches, and snorkel in crisp, clear waters.  In short, it's a piece of paradise that is worth exploring.

One thing that made Culebra a remarkable place to visit for us was that we could camp there.  We lugged all our camping stuff from New York City and flew to San Juan for a week of camping during the harsh and cold Northwest winter.  Going to Puerto Rico and Culebra was a treat.  It was an experience that I will always remember.  I wrote this post to shed some light on camping on the island of Culebra.

I will also share some information about camping on Vieques, which we also enjoyed.  Vieques is another island.  It is larger than Culebra and is located south of Culebra. 

Flamenco Beach campground is the most popular camping area in Puerto Rico, and with good reason.  Hundreds of spots for tents exist next to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  Coconut palms line the campground and beach area, offering shade and a barrier from the wind to those who are visiting Flamenco Beach. 

Flamenco Beach campsite offers an excellent change in pace for a traveler to Puerto Rico.  Even if you do not consider yourself to be much of a camper, there is something for everyone here.  So why  not slow down and unwind for a while at Flamenco Beach?  You will be glad you did.

Nearby kiosks rent out camping gear and sell food and every supply one may need for a successful and comfortable camping experience.  Mother nature's beauty is on full display.  There are plenty of things to do at the beach, whether it is relaxing under a palm tree, swimming, or snorkeling at nearby Carlos Rosario Beach.  If you are interested in photography, there are few places as stunning as Flamenco Beach and the surrounding area.  If you want to lay in a hammock and read a book, there are places to purchase a hammock right on the beach (or purchase your own good inexpensive hammock before visiting the island).

Taxi service will take you to and from the island via the ferry terminal, so renting a car is not necessary.   Bike rentals are available through a variety of shops located on the island.  Renting a bike while on Culebra is highly recommended.  Some bike rental outfitters also offer snorkeling equipment and tours. 



For more information on camping in Culebra, contact the Flamenco Campground Office below:

Flamenco Campground Office:
(787) 742-0700

Daily rate to pitch a tent: $20
Maximum occupants per tent: 6 people
Check in time: from 8:00 am
Check out time: before 4:00 pm



If you are camping on Flamenco, you may have heard of a couple of nearby beaches where many visitors go to snorkel or get away from some of the crowds on Flamenco beach.  One of these beaches is called Carlos Rosario beach, and it is a great place to spend a day if you looking for a calmer place or if you want to experience some of the best snorkeling on the island.

The gate leading to Carlos Rosario and Tamarindo Beaches.
Carlos Rosario beach can be reached via a trail that begins at the corner far corner of the parking lot, opposite of the area where taxis pick up and drop people off.  The trail starts at a fence that is chained yet open enough for a person to easily slip through.  As the camping administrator says, pay no attention to the "warning" sign that is on the gate.  It is perfectly safe to take the trail through the forest to the beaches that lie beyond the hill.

Once you slip through the fence you will notice that the trail continues on, gradually rising in elevation.  There is a small hill that you will climb.  At the top you will be presented with an amazing view of the Atlantic ocean as well as some islands and rock outcroppings in the distance.  Once you have made it here, the rest of the journey is downhill.

The pathway to Carlos Rosario and Playa Tamarindo, Culebra.

At the bottom you are presented with two options.  The first is Playa Tamarindo.  This beach is smaller than Carlos Rosario and is a nice place to relax.  Although there are no nude beaches on Culebra, sometimes people use the private beach area that is beyond the rocks at the end of Playa Tamarindo as a nude beach area.  If you continue past the rocks you will find another private beach area that is rarely visited.  

Carlos Rosario on Isla Culebra offers amazing snorkeling.
If you continue along the main path ignoring Playa Tamarindo, you will reach the end of the trail at Carlos Rosario Beach.  This is one of the best places to snorkel on the island.  You can rent snorkeling equipment for $10 a day from some of the taxis.  Tent City also rents out snorkel equipment at the campsite.  Ask for prices. 

Playa Tamarindo can get quite busy as boat tours oftentimes take people to this beach.  The best snorkeling is found at the left side of the beach, near the beginning of the trail.  Be careful to not touch or step on the reef and do not touch any of the fish.  Stone Fish and Cone Shells can be deadly.  Also be on the lookout for Sea Urchins, which can turn a pleasant day at the beach into a painful experience.

Carlos Rosario Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico.

There are no facilities at either of these beaches.  They are, however, a great place to bring a small picnic lunch or to watch the sunset.  There are few places better to watch the sun set than on Carlos Rosario Beach.

Enjoy this short video of Carlos Rosario Beach:


The ferry terminal in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

HOW TO GET TO CULEBRA VIA FERRY FROM FAJARDO

Sometimes getting to Culebra from Fajardo via ferry can be somewhat of a challenge.  This is because of the popularity of the island, especially during weekends and summer.   If you have been to the ferry terminal in Fajardo you have noticed that there are two lines.  One line is for tickets to Vieques and another line is for Culebra.  The line for Vieques is generally a lot shorter than the line to Culebra.  In fact, it is possible that there will be nobody in the Vieques line while the Culebra line has close to a hundred people waiting for tickets.  That being said, Culebra ferries are often overbooked early in the morning.

The 9:00 AM ferry to Culebra is the most popular ferry.  This is because many people are going to Culebra for the day.  They want to spend as much time on the island as possible.  With that being said, there are people that will arrive before dawn and wait in line.  If you are arriving at around 7:00 or 8:00 on a weekend day, you may not get a ticket for the early ferry and have to wait in line for the next ferry, which is at 1:00 PM. 

A view of Culebra from the ferry.
One tip is to buy your tickets a day or two in advance.  If you are going to both Vieques and Culebra, consider going to Vieques first, or if you have rented a car, make a stop over in Fajardo a day or two before going to the island.  You could do this when you are going to El Yunque National Forest for example.  If you are camping, consider going to the ferry terminal to get tickets and spending a night at Seven Seas Campground.  You can hire a publico or taxi from the ferry terminal to take you to Seven Seas for the night.

You can reserve your ticket to Culebra at a reservations trailer that is located near the regular ticket booth.  If you need help finding it, just ask one of the local workers.  A reservation can easily be purchased so you will not have to worry about the hassle of waiting in line on the day you want to leave.  Many people are often told that they will have to wait until 1:00 PM as early as 8:00 AM.  Sitting in line for five hours is not much fun, especially if your time is limited.

Once you have tickets, getting on the ferry and taking it to Culebra is a snap.  You will cross the street and wait in line for the ferry itself.  The ferry is known as "Big Cat Express" and has three levels.  The first level is indoor only, the second is partial indoor and partial outdoor.  The third level is for standing only.  The view of the islands as you make your way to Culebra is breathtaking. 

Without any adverse conditions, the ferry should take almost an hour to dock at the island once it pulls off from Fajardo.  Sometimes the sea is rough and sitting up higher is recommended if you have trouble with becoming nauseous or getting sea sick.  There is no eating on the ferry and the guards will make sure you don't try to slip a cracker, so be warned. 

There is plenty of food at the ferry terminal for when you are waiting for the ferry.  There is a small restaurant a block away if you are waiting for a while, or you can take advantage of William's Pizza, which is located in the ferry terminal.  Generally there are vendors outside selling more local items, such as breads and sometimes ice cream and water.  In the mornings a doughnut man will sell donuts from his truck. 


Camping at Flamenco Beach Campground in Culebra, Puerto Rico


Above is a map for the campground at Flamenco Beach on Culebra.  The campground is comprised of different areas or zones.  These are A (pink), B (blue), C (yellow), D (orange) and E (green).  Zone E is the largest and furthest zone from the kiosks and main beach area.  Zone is also considered the "quiet zone" of Flamenco beach and is a popular area for those who have been camping on Flamenco for a very long time.

Zone E is often the busiest of the zones, due to its picturesque area right along the ocean.  Zones A through D are located more inland.  Be prepared to spend a little while finding the perfect spot if you are coming on a busy day.  Generally weekends and times around holidays are the busiest times on the island.  During the winter, midweek is a great time to find a spot for camping.

When approaching Flamenco beach from the main town of Dewey, you will pass through a gate with a large parking area beyond it.  The parking area is where one catches taxis that lead back to the ferry terminal or to other ferries around the island.  The registration area is near the gate.  This is where you pay to camp on Flamenco beach.  A reservation is not necessary to camp on Flamenco beach.  The cost to camp is $20 per night.  You can pay for up to seven days at a time.  You will be given wristbands and a receipt to hang from your tent once you register. 

Near the parking area are the food kiosks.  These are generally open during daylight hours only and when the beach area is at its busiest.  Some kiosks are only open during the mornings (especially during winter) and others are open only in the evening.  While camping you will start to get a feel for the hours of the kiosks after a while.  If you want to get back to Dewey, you can wait by the parking area for a taxi.  The current fare is $3 into town one way.  Some taxi drivers will offer you a reduced fare for round trip if you use their services to get back to Flamenco.  This depends on the time of the year and how busy they are.


There are various shower areas and restrooms on the island.  The restroom near the beach by the food kiosks has a sink with potable water.  The shower water is also potable, however the water in the various large water storage containers around the camping area is not recommended for drinking.  Many people use the water here to clean clothing, wash dishes, etc. 


There is also a path that leads to both Carlos Rosario beach and Playa Tamarindo.  These beaches are far less busy than Flamenco beach and offer much better snorkeling.  Carlos Rosario is quite good for snorkeling, and if you did not bring gear, you can rent it at the food kiosks that are near the gate.  While Flamenco beach gets praise for being one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, both Carlos Rosario and Tamarindo are gorgeous beaches.  The sunset from Playa Tamarindo is especially nice to witness.

The gate leading to Carlos Rosario and Tamarindo Beaches.







While on Flamenco beach, be sure to visit the two decaying tanks which are located on each side of zone E.  One tank is being reclaimed by the ocean.  This tank is covered in rust and it is interesting to see during high tide as the waves overtake it.   

Acquiring Camping Gear

If you did not bring something, chances are you can easily acquire it.  Tents, air mattresses, and other camping equipment is for rent at Tent City in the kiosk area.  There are hammocks one can purchase as well.  If you are visiting for the day, there are plenty of picnic tables around.  Compared to the costs of lodging in other parts of Culebra, renting a tent and paying the $20 a day fee may still be far cheaper than finding a room in town or on other parts of the island.  Waking with the sound of the ocean waves and the sun rising is an experience that should not be missed. 

If you want to spend a longer amount of time on Flamenco but don't have gear, you can purchase gear at Wal-Mart and other stores around Puerto Rico.  A tent can be purchased for around $30 and a hammock for even less.  Air mattresses can be found at a variety of stores in San Juan and around the main island for a small price.  Publicos at the ferry terminal in Fajardo will take you to Wal-Mart if you want to purchase gear instead of renting it.   If you are spending more than a couple nights on Flamenco beach or want to also go camping at Sun Bay in Vieques (which also does not require a reservation), buying a tent is a good idea. 

Safety
The camping area is quite safe.  There are many guards and workers around that keep an eye on things.  With that in mind, it is still very important to keep an eye on any valuables.  Take anything valuable with you when you leave your site.  When swimming, keep an eye on your possessions.  Theft is uncommon, but does occur from time to time.

You can call the Flamenco Campground Office at 787-742-0700, or you can write to them at

Autoridad de Conservación y Desarrollo de Culebra
Attn: Playa Flamenco
Apartado 217
Culebra, PR 00775

THE BEST GUIDEBOOKS FOR TRAVELING TO PUERTO RICO.

-Lonely Planet Guide Books

This is probably the #1 book that people purchase when going to Puerto Rico.  Not only does this book contain a great deal of information on Culebra, but it also covers the island of Puerto Rico itself in great detail.  There are plenty of maps and information to make a trip to Puerto Rico a successful one.

I recommend having a guide book when visiting Puerto Rico (or anyplace you may visit) for a variety of reasons.  First, a guidebook will lessen the hassle out of traveling.  Knowing what to expect will save you money.  A good guide will give you an idea how to get from place to place, what to expect to pay at various places, and various ways to get from place to place.

The Lonely Planet Puerto Rico guide is filled to the brim with information that will help you get the most out of your trip.  No matter how you are traveling -- whether it be alone on a camping adventure, or with a family looking for adventure -- this book has something for you.  With the Lonely Planet Puerto Rico guide, you will be able to maximize the time you spend on the island.

With this book, you can decide:
  • Which part of Puerto Rico do you want to visit?  
  • What areas of Puerto Rico are good for children?
  • Do you want to bike ride or hike while on the island?  This guide will show you where the best spots are.
  • Do you enjoy an alternative lifestyle?  This book will show you the hot spots and the up and coming places to visit while in Puerto Rico.
  • How to live like the locals.  Where do the local Puerto Ricans enjoy visiting and what do they recommend when visiting their island?
  • What restaurants are truly unique?  Where to find the best Puerto Rican food?
  • What is Puerto Rican street food like?  What should you expect to pay?
  • Are there any dangerous areas in Puerto Rico or any other nuisances you should be aware of?
  • What is local Puerto Rican food like?  
If you have never been to Puerto Rico before or even if you have been to the island a few times, this is perhaps the best book you can find on Puerto Rico.

The Rough Guide to Puerto Rico

If you are on a budget and going to Puerto Rico, this guide may be better for you than the Lonely Planet guide that is reviewed above.  The rough guide is written more towards the backpacker and budget traveler and contains much of the same information that the Lonely Planet guide contains.

Where this book shines is how it points you towards the cheaper restaurants.  If you are traveling without wanting to spend a lot on food, many of the more expensive restaurants in the Lonely Planet guide may be irrelevant to you.  The Rough guide also holds a great deal of information on the island of Culebra as well as Vieques (and other smaller islands around Puerto Rico).

The Rough Guide to Puerto Rico also gives a great deal of cultural information on the island, which makes it a great way to learn something about the people of this great island before you visit.


Explorer's Guide San Juan, Vieques & Culebra: A Great Destination (Second Edition) (Explorer's Great Destinations)

If you are going to Puerto Rico only to visit Culebra or Vieques, this is a great book.  The book also has information on San Juan (as most people visiting the outlying islands will be passing through San Juan, and the city is highly worth exploring).  This book has a wealth of information available for a person who wants to know just about everything about Culebra and Vieques.

PLACES TO CAMP IN THE CARIBBEAN 

If you are combining your trip to Puerto Rico with some of the other islands and countries in the Caribbean region, be sure to check out some of the following campgrounds and lodges that have camping.  Rates are subject to changes and links to the campsites have been provided.  If you have a campsite that you would like featured on this site, please post a comment below and it will be added.

Ivan's Campground
- White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
http://www.ivanscampground.com/

Prices:

Equipped Campsites - $45.00 summer rate $35.00
Bare Campsites - $25.00 summer rate $20.00
Cabins - $65.00 to $75.00 summer rate $55.00 to $65.00

Here you can set up camp next to the beach or spend a bit more cash for a rustic cabin.  Ivan’s Campground features live music at night, a “stress-free” bar and there are many nature walks. Amenities include a fully-functioning kitchen available for guest-use.  This is a great spot for those on a budget!

3 Rivers Eco Lodge and Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge - Dominica
http://www.3riversdominica.com/index.php

Prices:

$15 per night
$90 per week

3 Rivers Eco Lodge is set in 10 acres of land with camping and rustic accommodations for those who are looking for a budget getaway and time spent in nature.  While there is no beach, this eco lodge is located in the rainforest in Dominica.  There is a communal kitchen here and all pots and pans are provided for guest use. 

El Cabo de La Vela - Columbia
http://apalanchiis.com/corporativo/1403/hotel

If you are looking for something off the beaten path, check out El Cabo de La Vela.  At this spectacular location the desert meets the sea in this fishing village which is only accessible via a two-hour journey on a dirt road.  Here you can either rent a hammock or pitch a tent.  You can also rent a cabin if you would like.  This no frills hotel caters to backpackers and budget travelers.

Travel In' Guesthouse - Mahahual, Costa Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
http://www.travel-in.com.mx/guest_house.html

This guesthouse in Mexico features a cabana, rooms, and camping right on the beach.  This is a great way to spend some time in the Yucatan peninsula's incredible natural environment sleeping under the stars for a low price.  If you are camping, be sure to pack in your own tent.

Cinnamon Bay - St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
http://www.cinnamonbay.com/home.html

This campground, which is located on the north side, is minutes from Cinnamon Beach.  It offers bare sites, but equipped cabins are available for a higher price. Be sure to book early as this eco-friendly site is in high-demand, which is partly due to its location at the top of St. John’s National Park.  This gorgeous park encompasses around 60% of the island. Bring your own tent if you are planning on camping.
Some of the campgrounds are a bit remote and require ferry rides or trips down dirt roads, so be sure to  allow some time for the journey.  This is a great place enjoy the slow pace of island life.

WHICH IS BETTER, CULEBRA OR VIEQUES?

Sun Bay, Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Which to visit: Culebra or Vieques?  This was the question looming on my mind as I was preparing a recent eleven day visit to Puerto Rico.  I was traveling on somewhat of a budget, on winter break from law school, and wanted to relax and enjoy some camping with my wife away from the cold weather of New York.  So what would it be? I asked myself.  I had spent days reading as much information as I could about both islands and wanted to make sure that we would get the most of out of our vacation. 

Looking at various websites and travel guides, it was very hard to make the decision.  After having spent a month meandering our way through Central America and two months exploring Thailand, an eleven day trip seemed somewhat brief.  However, since I would be camping, or "roughing it" as some call it, I figured that eleven days may be enough before I find myself missing the futon in my shoe box sized Manhattan apartment. 

It then hit me, why not do both?  It would be cheaper than renting a car on the main island of Puerto Rico or a lot less of a hassle than dealing with getting around by publico to various campsites.  I also realized that it would probably be a lot cheaper in the end.  I have since learned that when budget traveling, a good way to save money includes not moving from place to place as much.  Therefore, planning to spend most of our Puerto Rico vacation on the islands of Vieques and Culebra seemed like a great idea.  Furthermore, since both of the campgrounds, Sun Bay on Vieques and Flamenco on Culebra, did not require advance reservations, it seemed like a great idea for a trip.

Vieques


Sun Bay Sunset on Vieques.

The next question was "which island to visit first?"  This question was immediately answered upon reaching the ferry terminal in Fajardo.  The line snaked down the block and around the corner for the ferry to Culebra.  Yet, there was a small line of only a few people for the Vieques ferry.  Vieques it would be.  We were told we could reserve a ticket for Culebra and we gladly did.  This was rather easy, but I could not help but feel bad for those who would be spending most of the day waiting for a ferry to Culebra.  As we left the ticket booth we noticed that the ferry to Culebra would be full and everyone would have to wait for a 1:00 ticket.  A wait of almost 5 hours! 

Arriving at Vieques was exciting.  The ferry pulled up to the ferry terminal after a long voyage on rough seas.  People spilled off the ferry into the town of Isabel II, making their way to publicos and taxis that were headed to various spots around the island.  At first it was chaos.  We stood, waiting with our gear, until a publico for Sun Bay arrived.  A few minutes later we were taken across the green and hilly interior of the island and over a crest where we could see the Caribbean before us.  What an awesome view!  We were let off at Sun Bay and began to look for the campground.

Sun Bay was different than expected.  Maybe it was the fact that I had been stuck with the cold weather of the north for a while now, but I was greatly impressed with the beach.  Palm trees were scattered everywhere, sand went on as the beach curved in the distance.  Toward the horizon was an island with shallow water that one could wade across to get to.  But that would have to wait.  It was time to find the campground. 

The first thing I noticed upon reaching the camp site was that there were hardly anyone present.  In fact, even the registration office was closed.  Luckily, we met a couple of men who were camping for a month and they told us that the office was generally closed later in the day, but we could pay the $10 a night fee in the morning.  That seemed to be the norm there, after talking to others that were arriving or who had been at the campsite.  We were even told that one person lived at the campsite and worked at a restaurant in the nearby town.  After seeing the beach and comparing the slow laid back lifestyle of Vieques with the more hectic lifestyle that I was used to, I can see why a person would be drawn to live like that for at least a while. 

After setting up camp, we made our way to the town of Esperanza.  Most of the town flanks the coast, with small restaurants and tour companies for the bio bay commanding the best real estate (and views).  There was a couple small grocery stores in town to purchase needed provisions.  The walk along the beach into town is picturesque.  In fact, I noticed a few campers opted out of staying in the campground, instead setting up elaborate camps near the shore and on the peninsula close to town.  One such set up reminded me of something one may see on an African safari, with a military style green tent that could fit perhaps a dozen men and a couple of jeeps parked near by.  I was immediately jealous.

My four day, three night stay on Vieques allowed me to visit the bio bay, explore Isabel II and Esperanza, and take in some of the sites of the interior of the island.  There is much to see on Vieques, and frankly, four days is not enough.  With that said, I enjoyed the island greatly and would love to one day return.  It is a quiet island full of surprises.  Snorkeling near Sun Bay was excellent, and there are chances to see Barracuda, Eagle Rays and even some Nurse Sharks (sadly I did not see the latter two). 

Culebra

It was now time to change islands.  Although I was leaving Vieques, I was thrilled to be getting to see Culebra.  Even though Culebra is less populated than Vieques, it seems to be the popular choice for a visit.  At first, I wondered what could be so different about these two islands?  I soon would find out.

Even though I purchased tickets in advance for the ferry to Culebra, I wondered if I would actually get a seat.  I spent most of the time on the ferry back from Vieques wondering, but upon arriving at the ferry terminal in Fajardo, I found that the ferry would not even be filling up.  There were maybe thirty or forty people on board when the ferry finally pulled out, and many of these people were locals who lived on Culebra. 

The journey to Culebra was far more interesting than that to Vieques.  I was able to sit up top outside and take in the view of many small islands and the seemingly unending Atlantic on the horizon.  An hour later the ferry arrived in Dewey, the main town of Culebra, and I was starting to really get excited. 

Carlos Rosario Beach on Culebra.




Dewey is a picturesque little town that fills up the area between the ocean and Ensenada Honda, the inlet where many boats drop anchor.  Publicos, like on Vieques, are plentiful and getting a ride to Flamenco Beach was a breeze.  Unlike Sun Bay, Flamenco Beach Campground was packed.  This would change as I spent the next week or so on the island.  Unlike Sun Bay, where the campsites are open to the ocean, the Flamenco campsites are mostly blocked by palm trees and thick bushes.  That means that unless you are one of the lucky few in area E, your tent won't face the ocean.  That wasn't a big deal to me, however, as the beach was a few steps away from where I finally set up camp.

Unlike Sun Bay, Flamenco Beach has a few kiosks where one can easily eat.  However, Sun Bay was much closer to a town with cheap groceries.  On Culebra, if you do not want to pay the higher prices for food at the kiosks, you have to either walk to town (30 minutes one way) or pay $3 one way for a publico.  This wasn't a huge deal to me, but it may be for someone who is staying long term or who is budgeting. 

Both Flamenco Beach and Sun Bay are close to other beaches that one can walk to.  Carlos Rosario and Playa Tamirindo are very close to Flamenco Beach and are relatively unvisited compared to Flamenco Beach.  Hiking to these beaches was a pleasure and I really enjoyed the time that I was able to spend snorkeling here.

Another thing I loved about Culebra was the ability to hunt for fresh coconut.  Finding and drinking from a young coconut on Culebra was a pleasure that I had not experienced before.  Many people were hunting for coconuts and sometimes it was a challenge to find one. 

I must say, when I finally did leave Culebra I was sad to go.  I really enjoyed my time on Culebra, and would have loved to stay longer.  I can see why some people spend months on the island. 

Conclusion


I am very glad I went to both islands.  It is hard for me to pick a favorite.  I think that most people probably choose Culebra to visit.  Flamenco Beach is a wonderful campsite and, tucked in between the hills and the sea, it's truly a slice of Paradise.  With that said, I had a great time at Sun Bay and would definitely go back.  Sun Bay is truly an underrated beach.  If I had to choose one and had never beach camped before, I may go with Flamenco Beach on Culebra.  This would be true, especially if I did not rent a car.  Hiking to the nearby beaches of Carlos Rosario and Playa Tamarindo was a pleasure, and an amazing place to watch the sunset.  Both Culebra and Vieques, however, are quite different and are both worth a visit if you have the time.    Vieques has a lot to see that I was unable to see, and I wish I would have been able to take the time and visit some of the other beaches as well as the mile long pier that is said to offer amazing snorkeling.  I am sure that one day I will return and be able to do that.

Further Points

  • Both beaches have nearby snorkeling.  I liked the snorkeling a little more at Carlos Rosario on Culebra.
  • Sun Bay on Vieques has less people than Flamenco Beach on Culebra.  It is also $10 per night to camp on Sun Bay instead of $20 a night for Flamenco Beach.  With that said both beaches are gorgeous.
  • Sun Bay is closer to a town, but does not have kiosks on site.  Vieques also has the best Bio Bay in the world according to most sources.
  • Vieques is a larger island with more to explore, but having a vehicle on Vieques is a good idea if you really want to see everything.  I found that not having a vehicle is fine on Culebra, but would want to rent one if I went back to Vieques.
  • Getting to Vieques is a lot easier than getting to Culebra during the weekend and busy times.
  • Both beaches get quiet at night, but Sun Bay is truly silent once the sun goes down.  However, if you are interested in getting out at night, Esperanza is close by. 

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