Review of Culebra's Culebrita Island

Playa Tortuga (Turtle Beach) on Isla Culebrita, Puerto Rico

cdwheatley / Getty Images


Come to Culebra for its back-to-nature beauty and rustic, undeveloped charm. Then go to Culebrita to find out what undeveloped natural beauty is really all about.


  • It will never have the crowds of Culebra's Flamenco Beach, giving you plenty of individual space.
  • Only a short water taxi away, it's an easy, half-day or full-day trip from the island.
  • Pick from your choice of at least four easy-to-reach beaches.


  • The surf at Trash Beach is rough and not recommended for swimming.
  • The water taxi isn't the cheapest ride, but it's the only ride.
  • There are no lifeguards or facilities anywhere on Culebrita.


  • As there is nothing on the island, make sure to bring water, towels, and a picnic lunch if you're spending the day here.
  • The only structure on Culebrita, its lighthouse, was built in the 1880s and is closed to visitors, but you can hike near it.
  • The surf at Trash Beach is rough and is not recommended for swimming.

What to Expect

Culebra has low-key ambience, a hometown friendliness, and beautiful, unspoiled beaches. It also has charming anomalies, like the two rustic tanks on Flamenco Beach, Dick and Cathie's "Things," and the ever-famous Island Woman.

But one of the main reasons to love Culebra isn't even on the island but is a water-taxi ride away. Culebrita (which means little snake to Culebra's snake) is truly an out-of-the-way paradise. Only one manmade structure mars it; a small, out-of-service lighthouse that adds to the island's visual charm and is so abandoned it almost adds to the natural beauty. The real reason Culebrita shines is its collection of wonderful beaches.

West Beach, where the Water Taxis dock, is a narrow strip of sand fronting a dazzling menu of blue and green shades of sea. The water is seductively calm and offers a bounty of fish, turtle, and coral to snorkelers.

Playa Tortuga is quite simply one of the star beaches of Puerto Rico. It's a large and picturesque crescent whose turquoise waters are protected on either side by long, encircling arms of rock, creating a tranquil inlet framed by the lighthouse and a small promontory. Playa Tortuga also has, on its easternmost edge, an area of shallow tidal pools and flats perfect for kids of any age.

On the south side of the island lies the Culebrita Reef, called Los Corchos by the locals, and on the way to Playa Tortuga is Trash Beach, so called because a lot of debris from carelessness or indifferent visitors washes up here. Fortunately, all we've seen there is a smaller twin of Playa Tortuga, with the added advantages of views of nearby St. Thomas in the distance.

Its beaches make Culebrita a worthy destination for those who truly want to escape civilization, sunbathe, swim in shallow, sun-kissed waters, and catch a fair glimpse of ocean life. What more can you ask from an island?

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