Author: Doug (---.dsl.stlsmo.swbell.net)
Date: 04-01-07 11:45
Nice trip review, Christy. I'm from StL also (go Cards Today!). It used to be much easier when St. Louis was an AA hub. There were non-stops on Saturdays and Sundays, year round, and on weekdays during high season.
What I do is use Kayak.com to identify workable flights. To do this you must figure out what San Juan-to-Culebra options are viable for you and work backwards from there. Kayak has a very powerful functionality that allows you to search by date and then modify the search to only show ones that arrive by a certain time. As you may already know, airfares from Isla Grande airport in Old San Juan are considerably lower, due to a gate tax imposed at SJU. I believe there is a 530 or 6 pm flight from Isla Grande. Even with the $20 cab ride, it usually saves you money to go via IG. My priority is to get to Culebra as soon as possible, followed by cost. If paying a little more gets me there faster, I usually grab it. The tough part is the ever-changing nature of the commuter airlines that serve Culebra, so you must re-affirm flight times every time you visit.
If you can do so, carry-on-only is a great way to go, saving you time waiting for checked luggage AND allowing you to stay inside security if you are connecting out of the International airport, SJU. I have even mailed clothes to myself there, to avoid a checked bag. When I buy bulky stuff there, I have them ship it to me.
One last item. If your group is five people, you can consider chartering a flight. We did this 2 years ago at New Years. We had a couple checked bags and we even stood at the wrong carousel for 10 minutes (DOH!) yet were less than an hour from wheels-down SJU to wheels up headed to Culebra. Round-trip was $10 more thn commercial out of SJU, but the covenience was heaven. The pilot even had a six-pack of cold Heinekin for us.
If all this sounds confusing, email me before you book, next trip.