Planning to spend Christmas Day at the beach is one thing, but planning to spend it on Flamenco Beach on the island of Culebra in Puerto Rico is an entirely different affair when you consider that this beach is probably one of the most special places in the world.
Listed in numerous travel guides as one of the top beaches in the world, I was crazy-excited when I found out the dock to catch a ferry to Culebra was right near my resort in Puerto Rico. With nothing to do on Christmas Day, my friends and me headed to Culebra for a sunny day on the beach.
The ferry departs from Fajardo, which is about 2 hours outside of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. It runs throughout the day, but to maximize on beach time, we caught one of the first ferries out at 09h30. The ferry ride is about an hour, it’s clean, comfortable and air-conditioned with plenty seating and only costs around $5 for a return trip. I couldn’t get over how reasonable it was to get to paradise!
Once docking at Culebra’s port, there are a ton of private taxis waiting to bus everybody out to Flamenco Beach, and at only $2 for a 15-minute trip, is also very reasonable.
At to the beach, you start to realise how isolated it really is. The long, thin strip of white sand spreads around the curve of the island in one direction, and curls into a bay on the other. A few small houses overlook the beach, and other than four or five food concessions, there’s not much here other than sand and water. And tanks.
Historically, the US Military used Culebra as a firing range before it was opened up to the public. This has helped keep the development on the island to next to nothing, but also left its scars. I saw two tanks, one just off the beach, and then this rusting beauty left there to disintegrate into the sea.
It’s an eerie thing looking at these rusting giants abandoned here, but they make for amazing photo opportunities. They’re definitely not safe to climb onto with all their sharp, rusty edges, which didn’t stop a few macho guys from trying their best.
If you’re going to visit Flamenco Beach, I’d recommend taking a picnic baskets of goodies. The food concessions weren’t offering anything to write home about other than mass-manufactured dry burritos and deep-fried empanadas. Our Christmas lunch entailed a bag of Cheetos and some vodka cranberry mix. Luckily, the view was so fantastic that we hardly noticed.