Paradise is one word that comes to mind when I was researching Puerto Rico and things to do while there. The island itself has a lot to offer, tropical weather, ocean, culture, its own traditions, nightlife, mofongo and the best Mojito you will ever have.
If you enjoy beaches and are visiting Puerto Rico for few days then I strongly recommend renting a car and taking a road trip to Fajardo. Majority of the websites and blogs claim that the line to get on the boat is crazy and it is almost impossible. Everyone told me to buy a plane ticket instead which was around 180 USD roundtrip. A roundtrip ticket on the boat was 4.50 USD. What a difference. I researched a little more and stumbled across the website www.culebraferry.com. The site is simple, you input the date and time and they will let you know if they can purchase your tickets or not. The service charge for this convenience is 10 USD but someone goes to the ferry and purchases your ticket for you. They sent me a photo of my ticket with my name on it. All I had to was show up, present my ID and ticket was mine.
The earliest ferry leaves at 9 am and the latest returns at 5 pm. This was a perfect day trip. However, next time I want to schedule an overnight trip because Culebra is a place to experience and enjoy. It is an untouched beauty. You will not find Hilton or Marriott there, instead local moms and pops shops, hotels and restaurants and people are happy to be there.
I still had a fear of the lines being long and us not getting tickets. We left San Juan at 5 am and arrived at the ferry terminal by 6 am. Parking cost us $5 per day and you have to present the receipt upon the return. There are restrooms and an ATM at the terminal. Huge note: please take out cash in San Juan because to find places that took debit or credit cards in Flamenco Beach was impossible. ATMs might be empty by the weekend since tourists take out all the cash. Do yourself a favor and bring cash with you to Fajardo or take out cash in the city itself. The best part of the trip: we arrived at the waiting area and the lines were already long, all I had to do was show a printout of my ticket and they put us first in line. We just skipped and got to the cashier kiosk which wasn’t open yet. They opened the window by 7:15 am, we got our tickets printed and moved on to the boarding area of the terminal. First 25 Locals got on the boat first and then us. What bliss! I won an award for being resourceful and thrifty for this part of the trip.
The boat itself was big with plenty of seats and clean restrooms. I took a good nap until I opened my eyes and we were in paradise. That place cannot be described; you just have to experience it. The beauty of the nature and the water stole my heart forever. We flagged down a bus and the fee is 3 USD per person from Culebra ferry terminal to Flamenco Beach. If we would have stayed overnight then I would have rented a golf cart to ride around the island since Culebra has 21 beaches. I am not kidding! Not 1 but 21 crystal clear beaches.
Around 2:00 pm, we packed our bags and rode back to the ferry but before leaving we had to try tacos from Zaco’s Tacos. This place is a must try. It is a house and a restaurant together with plenty of space outside. Zaco’s opened at 3:00, we ordered tacos. Don’t even think twice; go for the tacos on the menu and a house margarita. My mouth is watering as I type. Prices were affordable and food came out fast. We took a 5 minute walk to the ferry and got in a long line. Don’t worry if that line is endless, you will get on the boat since it takes a lot of people and you have yours tickets. While waiting, we enjoyed a fresh mango sorbet to end the beautiful day on the island. You will nap well on the boat after a fun day in the sun. If you are ever in Puerto Rico, go to Culebra!