I wanted to contribute our recent experience in Culebra as a small way of showing appreciation for all the information I have gleaned from these pages:
on 6/24/09 we took the 4am ferry to Culebra from Fajardo. We were a group of 10 family members and 2 cars.( My sister and dad brough there cars since they live in PR) I think it was about $72 total.
The checking in and loading of the ferry was confusing and a little stressful, since although we had a reservation ( made over the phone 2 weeks before) you are not guaranteed a spot and it was important that all 10 of us get on.
The ferry was pretty smooth but some of us still felt nauseated probably because there is some rocking and there is a sort of loud hum. The cabin of the ferry was freezing so a pillow and blanket would have been nice.
We arrived at about 6 am and saw a great sunrise. We had rented a house through www.culebravacationplanners.com and the agent o nthe island was there at 6 ready to give us keys.
We rented Villa Violette which is in town. It is about a 15 minute walk to the dock and about 10 to the bakery and less to a grocery store. You do need a car to get to the beach. But the house was great for us. We rented both floors and so we had separate bedrooms for the families and kids.
There is an excellently equipped kitchen and everything was very clean. There were plenty of towels and bedding. The kids enjoyed the dvd player. The house had a good library of books and DVDs which was so great!
Previous guests had left beach chairs and snorkeling and beach stuff. There are 2 decks. On the big deck on the 1st floor there is a large table where we had our meals and hung out.
There is also a large dining table on the 1st floor where we had breakfast. The house was plenty big for us. Although there were 10 of us, we never felt like we were in each other's way.
The water pressure was good and there was hot water.
The checkin and checkout was easy and the agents were friendly and helpful. No surprise costs either.
I would unhesitatingly recommend Villa Violette for it's cleanliness, amenities and the great service.
This was a perfect place for us as my father was able to walk to the center of town everyday and chat up the locals. It was simple to get our daily bread too. The area was quiet and clean and safe.
We had brought food over from the mainland which was fine. But there are at leas 2 biggish grocery store that seemed well supplied. The prices where higher than in PR but not outrageous.
After we settled int h house we drove to Flamenco beach which is better than anything that you read or pictures that you see. The sand is so fine and the water so clear it is surreal. The one disappointment was that the people on the beach who rent umbrellas rent them at a rate of $30 which is a total ripoff. We just wanted one for a couple of hours for my 83 year old father to sit under but there was no break on the price. I felt like it was price gouging.
We also want to Zoni beach and one day we had great snorkeling at Melones beach.( We rented additional snorkeling gear at I think it was Culebra divers, right on the ferry dock.
There is not much to do but go to the beach , hike is the desert scrub and share wine on the deck which was just our speed.
We had already reserved the 6pm cargo ferry on the 26th but there was a problem witht he ferry and we did not leave Culebra until 9 pm. The boat was unusually slow and we didn't arrive in fajardo until midnight.
If I could do it over again:
I would have rented Villa Violette for 7 days and taken a beach umbrella. ( maybe left my sister in Fajardo;-))
I would NOT have taken a car over and instead rented one there. The cargo ferry is a pain not just because on the outbound you have to pull an all -nighter but also because it takes forever to load and is just not that comfortable for passengers over 10 years old.
It's also hard on your car. My father's car muffler was damaged because the roads are not in good shape.
Taken more hats for sun protection.
All in all it was wonderful. I had a great experience with Culebra vacation planners. They emailed right back and also returned phone calls promptly.