Visitors from all across the globe travel to Puerto Rico to enjoy its beautiful beaches, and this is certainly the main draw when it comes to Culebra, a small island 20 miles off of the mainland coast.
Culebra beaches are generally less crowded than the mainland, and most of them feature shallow waters perfectly suited to snorkeling and swimming. The vibrant underwater landscapes are breathtaking, but there are also plenty of great sights to see above the water.
Visitors love to take advantage of a photo opportunity next to the rusted war tank at Flamenco Beach (the island once served as home to a U.S. Naval Base). Wildlife enthusiasts are thrilled by the many species found in Culebra.
One-fifth of the island is a National Wildlife Refuge and is home to endangered sea turtles and many sea birds.
Culebra is a beach lover’s destination without all of the hustle and bustle (and amenities) of larger cities; if nightlife and dining are priorities, a stay in San Juan is probably better suited for your vacation. But if you enjoy truly unwinding and relaxing in a natural setting, you can find small boutique lodging and a few quaint restaurants on Culebra.
A ferry from Fajardo will get you to Culebra for a mere $2, or you can spend more on a quick flight from the mainland.
Culebra Beaches: 11 of Our Favorites
Life revolves around the beaches on this small island, and they wow visitors with their stunning natural beauty. Read on for a guide to the majestic beaches of Culebra, Puerto Rico.
This beach is world-renowned for its beauty, often appearing in roundups of the world’s best and most beautiful beaches to visit. Flamenco’s turquoise waters and its shimmering white sand makes it a stunning backdrop for a tropical retreat. If you want to spend the whole day lounging in the sand, beach chairs and umbrella rentals are available at Flamenco.
Camping is permitted at Flamenco Beach for those who like a more rustic vacation experience, and there are also many nearby homes and villas to rent.
Another stunning beach and an especially good spot for snorkeling, Tamarindo Beach in Culebra, is a natural paradise. This is a pristine and undisturbed—also “no-frills”—beach with no official facilities or amenities.
But it’s worth spending time at Tamarindo to see coral, sea turtles, and tropical fish. Even without snorkeling equipment, visitors can see many of these beautiful sights through the area’s clear water.
Bear in mind before heading out to Tamarindo Beach that its shore is somewhat rocky, with fine sands mixed in with pebbles and coral stone, so it is not suited to sunbathing as much as it is exploring (with waterproof sandals) and swimming and snorkeling.
3. Zoni Beach
Found on the northeast coast of Culebra, Zoni is a quiet and secluded beach that has no amenities but has some of the most stunning views on the island. Beachgoers can see St. Thomas and Tortola islands in the distance, and the shimmering blue waters look like something right off of a postcard.
As long as you bring all of your beach essentials with you—sunscreen, water, snacks, chairs, and a good book to read—you will have a wonderful and relaxing day on this gorgeous Culebra beach.
4. Brava Beach
To get to Brava, you will need to have a sense of adventure: a half-hour hike from your parking spot will ultimately lead you to this hidden gem on the wild north shore of Culebra. This spot is a favorite for those who enjoy a secluded and quiet beach, but visitors should be cautious about swimming as the waters can be rough here.
The shallow waters and wide natural pool you will find at Datiles Beach make this an ideal spot for kids, providing an atmosphere where they can swim and splash safely under the watchful eye of parents. This is a quiet beach on Culebra Island that until recently had limited access because of a steep dirt road that only allowed 4×4 vehicles. A newly paved road makes it possible for more people to visit, so the “secret” of Datiles Beach has gotten out on the island.
Datiles is also an ideal spot for easy kayaking.
The only way to get to this beautiful beach is by boat as it is located in a small cay a mile off of the coast of Culebra; once there, families enjoy the beauty of this unspoiled and pristine beach, the perfect place to spend a day swimming and snorkeling. This beach is also part of the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, and you can reserve water taxis to get there from the main island.
Another best beach option that delights snorkelers, Punta Soldado, is located on the southwestern coast of Culebra with a reef boasting turtles and pufferfish, among other species.
The beach is rocky, so you will need appropriate footwear and prepare for a short walk (5-10 minutes) from the parking area to the beach.
If you are visiting popular Flamenco Beach and in the mood for a bit of adventure, you can hike 20 to 30 minutes to Carols Rosario Beach, where an incredible coral reef awaits. Many people make the trek for what they say is the best snorkeling on Culebra.
Culebra visitors travel by boat to get to Tortuga Beach, sometimes known as Turtle Beach or Culebrita Beach. You can pack everything you need for a fun beach day, including snorkel gear, and take it with you by boat to this breathtaking beach, where turtles visit the shores and other incredible sea life can be seen while snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters.
10. Resaca Beach
Resaca is not for everyone, as you have to endure a fairly rigorous hike to get there, but once you arrive at this tropical paradise, you will find a secluded beach perfect for snorkeling, swimming, and surfing.
11. Melones Beach
Melones is one of the easiest snorkeling beaches to reach, making it ideal for those who are only visiting Culebra for the day. It is a short distance from the ferry terminal and boasts a reef teeming with marine life.
It is also convenient to downtown, so restaurants are not far away; be sure to bring along the appropriate footwear as this beach is also rocky.
Megan Jones leads the editorial staff of Seaside Planet. They are a multidisciplinary team of outdoor adventurers, water sports lovers, and passionate beach goers. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.