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Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: mymoosie (
Date:   03-08-06 00:31

My photos at:

Disclaimer: This is really long as I tend to babble on about every single detail when I'm excited about a vacation =)

Thursday, March 1
We flew Air Vieques from Isla Grande to Culebra after spending the night in OSJ. All the passengers were there early, so we actually took off a little after 8am. Our flight was originally scheduled to leave at 8:30am.

It was an interesting flight. The smallness of the plane didn't hit me until the pilot started the engine. The flight was smooth, except as we were about to land in Culebra. We hit an airpocket and our stomachs must have jumped higher than our heads. Weeee! Good thing we didn't have breakfast yet.

We rented a Jeep Wrangler from Carlos Jeep and they have a counter at the airport which was very convenient. The Jeep was very new. Good brakes, which was great for going down that steep hill at Zoni.

Stayed at Palmetto Guest House, which is a couple of blocks from the airport. Rosarito the innkeeper was wonderful!! She wasn't in yet when we came, but she had a post-it by the door welcoming us and directing us to our room. Better than having to wait around for a hotel's checkin at 3pm!

(I'll post a full review of Palmetto on a subsequent post)

We headed out to town to get ourselves oriented with the roads. We ended up grabbing some pastries and juice from PanDeli. We had a Quesito pastry and a Guava pastry. Yummmmy!!

We walked around a bit in town, before heading off to search for Playa Melones. Of course we weren't quite sure which road it was we were supposed to turn on. We stopped and asked this older gentleman at the corner for directions. Even though we didn't speak spanish and he didn't speak english, we managed to communicate and got directions. All it takes is to be polite and a "Muchas Gracias" which goes a long way. =)

Melones is at the end of the road. My hubby parked under a tree, as my eyes quickly scanned for any tree boas. ;-) Good, none in sight. Check to make sure we both rolled up the windows of the jeep.

Melones is very rocky. It was hard to walk with just flops on. Also hard to put your snorkeling gear on and go out into the water by the entrance. So we walked over to the right a bit, heading out towards the stick marker where there is a small sandy spot. Easier to get in the water this way.
The snorkeling was ok. We didn't think it was that great. We saw some fellow guests from Palmetto and they said it was better the day before.

After a couple of hours we finally gave up and headed to town to grab some lunch at the Dinghy Dock. We had burgers and watched the huge tarpons swimming around. Nice lunch.

... to be continued below...

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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: mymoosie (
Date:   03-08-06 00:31


We headed out to Playa Flamenco after lunch. Figured we could lay out and kick-back. Grabbed a Pina Colada at the food kiosk. Nice and refreshing. Flamenco is everything everyone has said. Absolutely beautiful! We’ve been to other beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and Flamenco will give any of them a run for their money. The sand is soft, and white. The water is clear, and it is shallow for a long way out.

We were hoping to snorkel but it was a bit wavy and windy that day. So we just laid out and forgot how it was 30 degrees back home as we enjoyed the warm sun and sand.

We ended up leaving Flamenco at around 5:30 and drove around towards Zoni. We never quite made it that far, but we did stumble onto Costa Bonita Resort. So we checked it out and it was dead. We were so glad we didn’t stay here.

We headed back to Palmetto to take a shower so we didn’t get out until almost 8:00 for dinner. Went to Mamacitas, but there were so many people they weren’t even taking names for the list anymore. We tried Dinghy Dock and it too was very crowded. What a conundrum. We circled around trying to find a place to eat. Barbara Rosas was of course also full. We contemplated El Batey and Happy Landing, but both looked more like a hangout place than a dinner type of restaurant. We ended up at Club Seabourne at my urging. By this time it was 8:45 and if they had said they were closed, I would have begged and pleaded for food on my knees! Luckily they welcomed us in. Whew!

The food was great. I had the Tuna Wasabi appetizer which was actually very filling by itself, and the Mahi Mahi topped Tostones. Also had a Pina Colada. Hubby had a salad, Fetuccini, and Medalla beer. The restaurant was nearly empty. Don’t know if it was the slow season or just late. We had EXCELLENT service from Eric. He was full of tips on which beaches had good, calm waters for snorkeling. He even fetched us some brochures for Club Seabourne when we had asked about the place as we thought it would be a contender for next time if we want more private accommodations. Couldn’t have met a nicer Culebrense.

….to be continued below…

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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: mymoosie (
Date:   03-08-06 00:33


On Friday we went to PanDeli again for breakfast. We ran into Eric at PanDeli. If the locals go here, it is really good. Hubby wanted something more substantial than the pastry so we shared a Cuban sandwich and ordered 2 café con leche. That was soooo tasty. Yummy yum yum. We LOVE PanDeli!

Afterwards we headed out to Playa Zoni. Another beautiful beach. Only a few people so it was nice. Long stretch of sand. We tried to snorkel but gave up. It was wavy and couldn’t really get close to the rocky reef areas. So we did what we do best, we laid around and enjoyed the sun.

After a few hours we headed back into town and did my shopping. Butiki store has great stuff. Bring your credit card, there will be lots to spend on. ;-) We then got some gas for the Jeep by the docks since we were leaving early the next day, and headed out to Playa Flamenco for one last hurrah.

We grabbed some grub from the food kiosk at Flamenco. I had the Arepas rellenas de mariscos (It’s a fried dough kinda like an Indian Puri, then stuffed with seafood) and hubby had the Pinchos Pollo (barbecued chicken on a stick) and another Arepas. The food was good. Cheap too! And the lady was very nice. She had limited English, but everyone seemed to be able to communicate just fine. Again, smile and be polite and you shall make friends!!

It was a nice day in Flamenco and we ended up snorkeling at the small reef. Saw mostly juvenile fish, but enough to entertain us for a while. The reef was very shallow, so actually it worked out great for my photos.

For dinner, we went back to Club Seabourne because hubby was kicking himself for not having ordered the Tuna Wasabi the night before. This time I opted for 2 appetizers – the Tuna Wasabi and the Shrimp Spring Roll. Hubby had the Tuna Wasabi and the Mahi Mahi with avocado sauce. We also had a Pina Colada, a Mojito, and splurged on the molten chocolate cake, and coffee. Outstanding service from our server, plus we also saw Eric who chatted with us again.

The next day we woke up at the crack of dawn as we had to catch a 7:15am flight back to Isla Grande. *sigh*

We will definitely go back to Culebra for a longer stay.

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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: mymoosie (
Date:   03-08-06 00:33

Now for the specifics that may be helpful to other folks planning their trip…

Cab ride from Old San Juan to Isla Grande - $12 + tip
Roundtrip Air Flamenco from Isla Grande - $98/person
Jeep Wranger from Carlos Jeep Rental - $65/day + $5 for additional driver
We did not take the CDW insurance since we checked with our auto insurance at home and confirmed we were covered.
Room #3 at Palmetto Guest House - $76/night
Breakfast of Quesito pastry, Guava pastry, orange juice, and bottled water at PanDeli - $4 (What a bargain!)
Cuban Sandwich, Quesito pastry, and 2 café con leche at PanDeli – roughly $7
Cheeseburger, Hamburger with fries, Pina Colada, and Medalla beer at Dinghy Dock - $26
2 Pina Coladas at Flamenco food kiosk – I think it was $5
2 Arepas rellenas de mariscos, 1 pincho pollo, 2 sodas at Flamenco food kiosk – $8 or so
Dinner at Club Seabourne - $74 the first night, and $82 the second night (both include the tip, but service was so outstanding we tipped an extra $20 each night)

Overall we actually thought the food prices were very reasonable on the island. Compared to other Caribbean islands anyways.

When driving around, especially if you decide to drive around the main island, know your directional signs in Spanish! Here are the basics:
Oeste = West
Este = East
Norte = North
Sur = South
Derecho = Right
Izquierda = Left

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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: mymoosie (
Date:   03-08-06 00:42

Palmetto Guest House

Room #3 is a small room that has a full-sized bed. We didn't think it was that small. In fact it was larger than the room we had at Hotel Milano in OSJ.

The room has an A/C and private bathroom

The room looks spartan, but very clean. We thought nothing of walking barefoot in the bathroom.

No alarm clock, no TV in the room – BRING a travel alarm clock if you have to catch an early flight

You share a kitchen with 4 other rooms, and you get your own mini-fridge in the kitchen

The living room has a TV and VCR. (What?! No 42-inch plasma HDTV?! What kind of a place are they running here! LOL. ;-) )

There is no phone in the house – our Verizon cellphones worked fine

Bath towels are provided, and shampoo and shower gel

No, there is no hairdryer --- forget about coiffing your hair. You don’t need to get all dolled up anyway.

Bring your own beach towel, or buy one for $10 at the store by Dinghy Dock

Shower has warm water (not hot like back home, but you don’t really need hot water, warm is good enough). Ok water pressure. No, it’s not a strong water pressure, but you know, you’re in the islands. We’ve stayed at nicer hotels in the US where they also didn’t have water pressure. No problem.

If you turn on your A/C or fan at night and have your windows closed, you will not hear the roosters!

You may hear the planes early in the morning, but since they are small planes, the noise wasn’t that loud.

There is a kitty that hangs around outside. He pretty much keeps to himself, unless you call him over. Rosarito feeds him, so he’s well-cared for. We LOVE cats, so this was a major bonus for us. (We named kitty "Senor Don Gato de Palmetto") =)

One great thing about staying at a guest house is meeting fellow travellers and sharing tips with each other. We met a father and daughter from NY and we shared tips on which beaches to go snorkel, which restaurants we’ve tried, etc. It was so nice.

Bring a mosquito repellent, you will need it if you go out at after dusk. It was not an issue inside the house.

A couple of weird things...
You cannot flush the toilet paper because they are on a septic tank. You have to throw it out in the wastebasket and Rosarito empties it daily. That was a bit weird for us.

The bathroom does not have a real door. Instead there is a hanging curtain that hangs to about your knees. This was a bit disconcerting to me. Even though I was sharing a room with my own hubby!

Finally, I can shut up now. Hope this helps others that are planning a trip.

Culebra is beautiful, but definitely not for everyone. If you are used to posh places with all the amenities, you will be disappointed. But, if you keep an open mind and enjoy friendly people and beautiful beaches, then you will enjoy Culebra.



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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: Peter Bowden (
Date:   03-08-06 09:33

Great trip report....thanks for the effort.

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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: Isa (68.236.110.---)
Date:   03-08-06 11:06

Nice pictures on your website, thanks for sharing!

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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: Debbie (
Date:   03-08-06 19:16

Great report; great pictures!

Happy Diving!

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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: Eunie (
Date:   03-09-06 22:17


Great report. Awesome pics! Definitely looks like you made the most of the trip to beautiful Culebra.

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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: mymoosie (
Date:   03-11-06 10:23

Thanks for the compliments. I'm still jealous of Debbie's photos. LOL. I really need to work on getting a strobe for next time.

I have a couple of questions hoping someone can provide some input.

1) When staying at a guesthouse, do you leave a tip like you would for the housekeeper at a hotel?
We left a tip at the end of our stay because we didn't want to stiff anyone, but then I worried it may have been insulting?

2) I saw at the airport real estate boards that the Palmetto was pending sale. Hopefully this won't bring drastic changes to it and hopefully Rosarito stays.


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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: wanderer (
Date:   03-11-06 14:32

Thanks for the detailed trip report, photos, and pricing! I can't wait to be out there (two more weeks and counting)

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Re: Trip Report 3/2/06 - 3/4/06
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: serafinapup (
Date:   03-12-06 00:56

Thanks for posting some pics of town and things other than the beaches (not that they're not great, but I was curious what town looked like)!

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