Getting to Culebra was an event in changing (airlines cancelling flights) plans, which caused a domino impact on hotel, ferry/flight from PR and ground transportation. But after almost a dozen curve balls, we landed in PR on a full plane from Dallas via the West Coast.
We had our QR code in advance so after collecting our luggage, we scanned past the hazmat suits quickly. That was one of the biggest stressors for us prior to leaving but the process once we were there was easy and fast because we did the online declaration prior. If you are traveling with minors, you don’t need to fill out a form for each of them (only the adults +18).
We hired Go Puerto Rico Shuttle to take us at 11pm on the hour drive to our Airbnb in Ceiba, to catch our AM flight out of the Ceiba airport. We were a party of 6 so it made sense to make the trip out to Ceiba instead of flying out of Isla Grande ($45 different per person per way).
The flight into Culebra reminded me of flying into St Barts. You come in over Flamenco beach and hit a crosswind over the mountains and ride into a roller coaster white knuckle landing. It was intense. I thought it might have just been our flight, but I watched the planes land all week and from what I saw, they all got tossed around on final approach.
Culebra is an amazing beach island. We loved the snorkeling at Melones, the water taxi to Culebrita day, the long walks and big surf at Flamenco, the remoteness of Zoni, the easy to find turtles at Tamarindo and even made the walk over the rocks over to Tamarindo Grande and over the hill to Carlos. We've been to many Caribbean and European islands and Culebra stands at the top for quality of the beaches, scenic views and amazing underwater life.
I will say the customer service on the island of Culebra was subpar. It was my first trip to PR so I wasn’t sure if it was a Covid attitude or just general irritation to be in business, but there was a general attitude that we were bugging them by using their service (rental car, restaurants, housing, grocery store, gas station, ferry, airport) and they moved very, very slow before acknowledging you. I get the island attitude and respect it, but this was something I’ve never seen before to this degree. I’m going to chalk it up to Covid and not eliminate this beautiful island from future trips.
Speaking of Covid, the island is mandating masks in all public spaces and from what we saw, it’s been followed, even in outside places. They also take your temperature at the grocery store, island tours (our tour to Culebrita on the boat), the airport, the gas station etc. Hand sanitizer was everywhere. Capacity in most buildings wasn’t allowed (Heather’s Pizza) or limited to 1 person. I felt they were taking it very seriously and probably went even a little over cautious. So if you’re worried about exposure, it’s highly unlikely you’ll catch anything but a sunburn or a coral scrap on this tiny isle.
We took our chances prior to leaving and thought I got lucky by booking return ferry tickets from Culebra to Ceiba. We arrived at the ferry dock as instructed at 6am and waited about an hour and a half until the ship arrived. There was a protest this morning with kayaks, boats and swimmers in the water preventing the ferry from docking. So the ship was sent back to Ceiba full of passengers unable to unload and many locals and tourists scrambling over to the airport to try and catch a flight at the last minute. We were very fortunate to get a flight 2 hours later but many weren’t so lucky. As many say on here, don’t even try to reply on the ferry, even if you can get online tickets like we did. It’s a mess and the locals are fighting a good fight by protesting this poor service.
We found a great local to drive us back to San Juan (who was awesome and I’ll use in the future for all ground transportation). Our overnight stay at the Marriott
courtyard Isla Verde was perfect for the next morning flight and our spring break vacation was done.
With this trip in our review mirror, I still think the extra effort and cost is worth going to Culebra. Beautiful island!