Author: Marc Burnstine (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: 11-26-06 02:45
This review is long, and I just got back so it is fresh in my head. I felt like someone needed to do a detailed review of Culebra Beach Villas, so here it is. Will try to post some pics at some point, as we took a lot of our villa and the property. But in the end, it is all about the beach, and the vibe of the island.
Fajardo was really just a stop for the most epic part of our journey, Culebra. Culebra should stand for “awesome” because that is what it is. You have to go there. It is important that you go there, because it will be something that you will take with you for the rest of your life. I am serious now. We were there Nov. 20-22, and I wished we stayed longer. Not all the shops and restaurants were open, as this is quiet time tourist wise on Culebra. After Thanksgiving, the island can have 10,000 people on it or more. There were not that many people there on these dates, so we found a lot of things closed, but the ones that were open we did not have to wait.
You take a $2.25 ferry ride per person. Buy your tickets across the street from the boat. There are two lines, one says Culebra, the other Vieques. You can get Culebra tickets on the Vieques line. Ours left at 3:00 (really 3:20) and arrived at 5:00. Someone made the comment that is was anarchy getting on the boat. Not at all, it was fine. The ride takes 1.5 hours. It is a nice ride, the boat has cold a/c and the views are great. You feel like Blackbeard the pirate as you see all of the little islands.
We rented a jeep from Carlos Jeeps. A very polite employee was waiting there for us when we got off the boat, and had a sign up for Carlos Jeeps. I highly recommend a car, as it is about a 10 minute drive into town, and there is nothing in walking distance of Culebra Beach Villas. For two days the tab worked out to about $160, and this included all the insurance I could take. We drove a lot, and burned a ½ tank of gas, which we filled up at the ferry dock before returning ($20). We got a brand new jeep wrangler. You could do this cheaper from Willy’s or some other outfit, but I like this company, and would use them again. I think you want a new vehicle in Culebra, as the roads are pretty crazy with potholes and such, and you don’t want to get stranded, especially when you go exploring. So buck up and get a good jeep.
We stayed at the Culebra Beach Villas, directly on Flamenco Beach. I am here to set the record straight, as this was the bulk of my research, and I saw a lot of trashing of this place on this forum. WRONG!!!!! Just wrong. Anyone who bitches about this place needs serious psychological help. If you can’t relax and enjoy this place, you won’t be able to anywhere, and I pity you.
Just to give you guys an example, my wife is the Sex and The City type. We are from New York, We like nice things, make decent money, and don’t stay in rat traps. She loved it here, although she was a bit scared at first. It was her favorite part of the PR trip.
The road into the villas is atrocious. But, if you have a jeep, it is a blast. I recommend going 5 miles an hour to start, and after about 50 yards, take it up to 20, and you will be fine. Kind of lets you skip over the tops of the potholes.
When we arrived, there was no one in the office, but everyone there seems to know the story. Our names were on a paper on the office door, with instructions that our keys were in our rooms. My wife was a bit freaked out now, but she would soon be the biggest fan. From the parking lot to the beach is a sidewalk walkway. Villas are grouped into 4 units per building, with one building on each side of the walkway going up to the beach, all of them painted a different color. There is a large building right at the beach, which I would guess has the best views, but I have no idea their condition. Every building is a different color, very tropical and islandy. The landscaping was nice and the place is well kept.
We got our room, #16, which I recommend you ask for specifically. It was FINE. SPOTLESS, CLEAN, SMELLED GOOD. They even turned the a/c on for us before we arrived, and it worked perfectly.
The room had a full size bed, a direct TV receiver and a 27-inch flat screen TV mounted in the corner. It had a two-burner range, no oven, a microwave, a toaster, a coffee maker, and pots and pans, dishes, glasses, 3 sets of silverware, a couple of plates, some glasses and an ice tray. It also had a dish drainer, dish soap, a new sponge and a rag. The bathroom was very clean. No hot water, except for the shower, which had some kind of gadget that you turned a light switch on, and whoala, you had a hot shower. The water pressure wasn’t great, but wasn’t half bad. It did the job. Don’t expect maid service, just drape your wet towels and clothes over your HUGE deck and let them dry naturally. They also provide a broom and mop if you need it for sand, etc.
The deck of our villa, (they were all the same, btw), was fairly new. New wood, and it was HUGE, more square feet than the villa itself. No splinters here! It was a wrap around style, with a table and chairs, a hammock big enough for 2, and a charcoal grill pit with clean metal racks. We found ourselves out there a lot, listening to the night. It was very quiet at night, and I couldn’t hear my neighbors, of which I had one on each side, and several others across the walkway, (about 20 feet away or so).
Now the idiot who said there are flea ridden animals there. Well, he was kind of right, there are some cats there. Big deal, I actually fed them milk out of a bowl. I am sure some of them had a flea or two. But they were friendly and didn’t bother us one bit, in fact it was kind of nice, as we were missing our dogs a bit. There are also ROOSTERS, and they will wake you up in the morning like old McDonald’s Farm. I loved it, if you are uptight, it might irritate you. It’s all in your state of mind.
My only complaint is the mosquitoes. They are ravenous. But if you have OFF or similar, it won’t be a problem. Listen, this place is pristine, and the mq’s love it as much as we do. So get some off, and citronella candles, and you won’t even know they are there. A couple of the little b’stards will get into your room. No way around it.
Cell Phone Service. I have Verizon. I had to stand in the middle of the walkway to get spotty service, but it worked. Worked better closer to town.
Here is a list of things to bring to Culebra. Trust me, buy them in Culebra, or bring them with you, (we got these things in Culebra, except the Citronella candles). A grocery store is located over the iron bridge, to the right. Can’t miss it, I forget the name though, sorry.
Citronella candles (2). Put them on your beautiful wrap around deck for a nice candle effect at night, and it keeps away the bugs.
OFF, OR SIMILAR. I wished I had skin so soft or something that smelled better, but you need mosquito repellent. If you have it, they don’t even exist.
Charcoal. Every villa has a barbeque pit. Nice set up. Get one bag per day of stay.
Flashlight. Nice to have, especially for night walks on Flamenco, but not a necessity.
Ice. Available at the Villas or the supermarket.
Coffee, Equal (or whatever sugar you need), creamer, and small coffee filters. I used a napkin I had, and it worked fine. Nothing better than the luxury of making your own coffee in the morning, but don’t get caught missing something. Ketchup, mustard, salt, mayo, whatever, you need to bring it.
Extra towels: They only supply you with 2, although if you can find a maid, I am sure they would give you more.
Shampoo, soap, and a squishee (or whatever you like). None provided
Bottled water. For the wife who won’t drink the water. Again, it is fine, I drank it all the time, no problems. She’s a weirdo. (she got deathly sick in Mexico and France, and so I can’t blame her that much.!!)
Candles for your room. A nice touch at night.
Beach Chairs. The villas offer some, but they are taken early.
Snorkel Gear. Bring your own, or rent at the ferry dock. Awesome reef right as you walk out on Flamenco, to the right. Look for the 2 lines of buoys, and the dark area to the right of these two lines of buoys. (You will see what I mean when you get there, just walk to the end of the sand, to the right as you walk out of the villas onto the beach. The dark area is the reef, and it is fabulous.
Carlos Rosario has a path by the gate at CBV. (In case this is your first read, Carlos Rosario is supposed to be a top notch snorkel spot.). We did not make the trek, as the path is not maintained and very overgrown, but I know people do it. If you go for it, I would suggest you pack your stuff, and wear shoes, pants, and long shirt.
Melones beach also has great snorkeling. It is the first left after leaving the ferry dock. Go to the end, and there is a sign there which shows where the reef is, and some info about the spot. A must. The reef is right off the small beach area at the end of the road, easy.
Our room had direct TV with remote, although if you are watching TV here you need to be shot. But it does have the music channels, which are great at night.
Other fun things.
Drive all around the island, to the end of every road. It will usually end up on a beach. The helipad was recently bought, and you need a machete to get to it, so don’t bother. The stars are great right on Flamenco. Go to Zoni beach, although Flamenco is much better. The drive out there is great. Go out to Club Seabourne, and then go to the end of that road. Amazing view of a little harbor. We had so much fun driving in our jeep.
Go to Happy Landings, right by the airport. They sell cheap booze for your nightcap.
Go to Mamacita’s. The service was friendly and fast, and the food was great. You have to try a “Bushwacker” the local frozen drink. The bartenders are great, and they love to drink with you, so buy em a shot.
El Batay had a great burger, and good fries, and cheese sticks. Very cheap, but good.
Don’t forget to chill in the hammock, which every villa has. And for God’s sake man, RELAX. That is what this place is for. If you want a 5 star resort, CBV is not it. I don’t know that anywhere on the island is 5 star, you might try Club Seabourne or the Bonita resort by Club Seabourne. But CBV is where I will go again, and again. The location is fantastic. If you are going with the one you love, it eliminates all of the distractions in life so you can enjoy each other. This is a little weird at first for some, but by the 2nd day you will be renewed. There is entertainment to find, you just have to look for it. It is not a late night place. The most fun you will have is the fun you make up on your own.
This place will change your life, and once you go, you will be addicted to it the same way I am. And we are uptight New Yorkers, so go figure!!!!!