Isla Culebra

Thursday, October 13, 2011
Culebra, Puerto Rico
I was so tired last night (Wednesday) that I didn't have enough energy to post photos and blog, so I'm getting to it now. Kate and I have a pretty lazy day planned. We only have a kayak tour scheduled, so it will be nice to relax and catch up on rest.

Yesterday we were up at 4:45 am, because our "flight" to Isla Culebra (Culebra Island) left at 6:30 . We flew from the city of Ceiba. Culebra is 17 miles east of Puerto Rico and it is 11 feet in square mileage. It has 1800 people, and most of the island is uninhabited which makes it so beautiful. Culebra is home to many beaches, including Playa Flamenco, the "Second Most Beautiful Beach in the World." 

The airport in Ceiba was once a navy base, and it was converted into a public airport 3 years ago. After taking a few incorrect twists and turns, we found the airport. Let's just say it was not the easiest to find! And we're finding that Puerto Ricans love or have excess signage or not enough.

Anyway, we arrived at the very small airport and "checked in."  I say this with a chuckle as when I made the reservation several weeks ago, I never received tickets or a confirmation email. I just received confirmation numbers for Kate and I. We walked up to the counter, said we were "Jamie and Kathryn," and received our tickets . No photo ID, no baggage check/search, no security. There was one "police officer" with a hoodie on who was reading a magazine, and we think his main job was to make sure no one went out onto the airstrip. Yes, the Ceiba airport has only one runway. We boarded the "plane" via Air Flamenco and were told where to sit. We assume this had something to do with weight distribution. The plane sat 10 people, including the pilot, and there were 3 others on our flight. The pilot gave the safety sphiel, locked his door and we were off !

The scenery below was beautiful on our 13-minute flight. It was loud, and I would suggest to anyone taking a puddle jumper to bring earplugs. Kate asked the pilot how fast we were going and he said 110 mph, and we were flying at 1,500 altitude. Once we arrived and deplaned, we noticed chickens roaming around freely outside the airport. We grabbed our rental bikes, grabbed a breakfast sandwich and headed toward Flamenco Beach. The ride was a little hilly, which was tough with our backpacks, but we made it .

The beach was pristine. White, powder-soft sand, turquoise water and tree-lined hills. The sand in the water was perfect. There were no rocks, stones, shells or weird fish to accidentally cut your foot. We spent most of the day at the beach, swimming, getting b*tch-slapped by a few waves and walking along the shore. Flamenco Point was used for joint-United States Navy/Marine Corps military exercises until 1975. Many military relics, including tanks, remain in the area. We rented two beach chairs and an umbrella, and the beach wasn't too crowded.

The beach also has several food shacks and huts where you can grab water, an assortment of liquors and smoothies. I was a dumb-dumb and left my wallet on the picnic table. Luckily someone saw me do it and gave it back. Jeepers! It was HOT on the island. My back and face did get a little fried, but it's not too bad.

After heading back to catch our flight, I took my bike and rode around the main town of Dewey . I stopped and bought some souvenirs and took some pics of the Culebra Community Library, which was not open. Our flight back was much of the same, only this time our pilot was like, "cell phones being on really don't matter on this little plane."  Haha. After driving back to Rio Grande, Kate and I were utterly thrilled to be able to wash the many layers of sunscreen, sand, sweat and seawater off. We decided to eat dinner at Palio, an Italian place in our resort.

It was a great, tiring day!!

Hasta Luego!