Author: Ursula (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: 02-25-06 13:16
We camped in Culebra in late January. Here's a little summary of our amazing on-the-budget experience.
If you fly (air flamenco at least) from San Juan to Culebra, flights from/to La Isla Verde airport are $95 each way, while flights from the main airport (sju) to Culebra were about $160 or $180 r/t vicinity. So to save money, fly out of the smaller airport. the cab from old san juan where we stayed the 1st night to the small airport was $15 with the tip...it's still saved us money. The views from the plane are unbeatable, and on the flight back, I even got to sit right next to the pilot, as there were 9 passangers, I got to wear the headphones, microphone, etc - one of the numerous highlights of the trip.
We camped for 5 nights and it was amazing....the ocean sounds like a waterfall at night...you can see tiny white crabs digging holes at night...also there's a turtle "bay" right behind the end of the campsite..camping really gives you a perspective on how used to we all are to our commodities...we improvised and in the process discovered many new ways to cook, and different things to cook (try grilled/baked apples - yum!, also try local fruits and vegetables, whatever's available at the store - yams, plaintains, etc)...we covered our grill with aluminum foil turning into an oven!...everything about camping was a blast. and yes, definitely have a tarp, or possibly 2 (the 2nd one to put underneath the tent, not only as protection from water leaks, but also as a form of padding)
We didn't have problems with mosquitoes (we found a citronella candle), however we did get bit in our feet/toes by small tiny ants, so make sure you have some kind of bug repellent to spray your feet and flip-flops with.
Transportationwise, we used mostly $2 public vans, its a great way to get around. We even called them on sunday and they would come and pick us up from wherever we were. We rented bikes ($20 for 24hrs) at the place by the dinghy dock, and biked all over the island (make sure you have water with you while bicycling). We actually made it to Zoni beach - on bikes!!!!! It was crazy, (we're crazy), lots of steep terrains, there were some areas where we literally had to walk the bikes up hill and downhill - that steep! - but we made it there and back from Flamenco Beach. Of course it helps that both of us are avid bikers here in NYC, so we got some training while riding over the "steep" incline on Brooklyn Bridge.
Also, we brought a disposable underwater cameras with us, and the photos came out perfectly fine!...just make sure you get it before you leave, as prices on everything on the island is marked up tremendously. and we can also recommend bodyboarding - we did it on board borrowed from other campers, but they're relatively cheap. overall, the whole camping community is very friendly and helpful, willing to lend you a hand with putting up your tarp, to lending you ropes, can openers, etc, or bodyboarding or snorkeling equipment...we loved the whole experience, and can't wait to go back.