Author: Chris AK (137.229.174.---)
Date: 01-13-09 19:21
I used this forum a lot to know how to plan for this trip. I wanted to let everyone in the forum know how my trip to Culebra went… So here goes.
My trip was a budget trip… I left the Icy airport in AK and started our journey to the Promised Land (Culebra). We landed in San Juan about 24 hours later. It was my wife and I also 2 of our friends that had never been to the island.
We got there and had prearranged John, to give us a ride to SJU to Fajardo. I cannot possibly say enough good things about John. HE IS A STUD!! His English is perfect, he is honest, his publico was clean, he was personable, and he was more like a concierge of the main island.
We arrived too late for us to make the 7:00 ferry to Culebra; so he dropped us at the Seven Seas Campground. He talked to the campground person so we got a deal. Because we were planning to camp on Culebra, we needed groceries. John totally helped us by coming to pick us up at 6:45am took us to Wal-Mart. We got our groceries then he came back picked us up in time to make the ferry that morning. The Wal-mart in Fajardo was fine and it had everything that you could need. I later regretted going to Wal-Mart, this after seeing that the grocery stores on Culebra had everything I needed. I always see people on the forum asking “what do the stores on Culebra have?” They are stocked, so buy Culebra!
It was a rough ferry ride! Everyone that was with us got sick, I think some people even lost their breakfast because the ferry staff was running around with barf bags! If it is windy, buy the 2 little pills from the guy yelling in the ferry terminal. They are motion sickness pills and I wish I had bought them!
At last we arrived on Culebra, the perfect temperature and incredible scenery. We got into the first publico we saw and luckily it was Ramón's. Ramon spoke good English and he could also answer any questions that we had. We got Ramón’s Cell number and called him whenever we need a ride.
We set up camp at playa Flamenco- as usual the most impressive beach I have ever seen. We planned to camp for 7 nights, the limit for consecutive nights camping. We had a great time camping!
Here are some tips for fellow campers… Bring a shower, the camp showers are nice, but they are not on all the time. We brought a shower from REI and it was bliss to shower before you got into the tent at night.
Don't set your tent up in the middle of the trees, look for a natural clearing. I killed a scorpion on the picnic table and there was a black widow on the fire pit. But after we cleared everything out we were fine, defiantly nothing that should deter you from coming to flamenco.
Look for yellow coconuts, not green ones, they are delicious, and you feel like survivor man eating them. If you are planning to eat a lot of them, bring a machete, it will make it easier to get in to them. Remember that they are a natural laxative.
Fishing is not for everyone, but being from Alaska, I love it. I brought a Hawaiian Sling Spear with me, but did not know where to go. I talked to some local fellow fishermen, and they pointed me to Punto Soldado, Ramon took us there. We ate everything we caught, got a snapper and some others that I don't know the name of, the locals told me what to look for.
We went to playa Rosario, it was amazing as usual. The short hike is nice and it is a good way to stretch the legs after laying on the beach the whole time. Our friends got carried away, it was their first time snorkeling, and they went too far out. They found themselves disoriented and decided to try and get out on some rocks??? Don't ask me why, the surf was more than they had anticipated, they got cuts all over their legs/arms, the guy even put his hand into a sea urchin! He spent the next couple days picking it out of his hands. I thought they were poisonous and tried to get him to let me pee on his hand, but he would not let me! So my advice, be careful, paradise can still be dangerous.
We looked for lobster in some of the grass beds, but to no avail we caught no lobster. Luckily if you go to the gas station, the guy in there has a big freezer full of them and he sells them at $8/lbs. We got some and ate those instead. We steamed them and then cooked them over the fire.
We ate at Mamacitas and it was great, I am pretty cheap so I naturally thought it was expensive, but my wife had a great time. We shopped in the three gift shops we found. I think that Jorge, and his shop “Fango Arte” had the coolest stuff, not touristy, but really chill stuff there. I never saw MJ, we were always in town on the “other days”. But our friends brought us some hot sauce back as a surprise! So even though I did not get to meet the Island woman, I still got her hot sauce!
I would encourage everyone to jump off the dock, by the ferry terminal, we were in town and some kids were jumping off and it looked fun so we joined in!
Also, one last thing. I did the whole El Yunque thing last time, so I decided to not go. It is pretty touristy and the trails are literally paved. So this time I decided to forgo it. I went to “Chaco Frio” or “Las Tienajas”.... I heard about it from locals, it is a river flowing out of El Yunque. You hike up this river and eventually come to a rope swing and a natural water slide. It is an unbelievable place! This place is not a tourist place, there are no signs or hamburger stands to be seen. In fact you have to pay some guy $2 to park on his lawn! The water slides and rope are in the middle of the jungle, bring bug spray. I even tried to swing on a vine, but I think I ate too many pinchos because it did not work!!!
I think that is all the highlights from my trip, feel free to ask any questions ….
I love Culebra!!!!! I can’t wait to go back!