Forested white-sand beaches and sapphire-blue water make Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco) as picturesque as a Caribbean postcard. Hidden away on the island of Culebra, just off the coast of Puerto Rico, Flamenco is a hot spot for water adventures. With its colorful aquatic life, beachside bars serving up cocktails, and flamingo-filled lagoons, this strip of sand provides an ideal day trip for those looking to go beyond the bustle of San Juan.
Beach bums can spend a day at Flamenco Beach sinking their toes into sugar-like sand and splashing in the waves, taking breaks to order smoothies or piña coladas from waterfront food stands. Those looking for more adventure can rent snorkel gear to explore Flamenco’s highly regarded coral reefs and observe underwater creatures such as parrot fish and sea turtles. High-speed catamaran cruises run from Fajardo, Isla Verde, and San Juan, often stopping at nearby Culebrita Beach, Playa Tortuga, or the other La Cordillera Islands. Guided tours make it easy to access the gear needed for a good time, while ensuring access to Culebra’s picture-perfect sights.
Things to Know Before You GoFacilities at the beach include showers, restrooms, lockers, and picnic tables, as well as a selection of kiosks and beach bars.
How to Get There
Flamenco Beach is located on the northwestern shore of Culebra Island, about 17 miles (27 kilometers) east of mainland Puerto Rico. Ferries leave Fajardo (about a 90-minute drive from San Juan) for Culebra several times a day and take about 90 minutes; plan to arrive several hours before your desired departure. For a smoother trip, take a 30-minute flight from Isle Grande Airport just outside San Juan. If visiting Playa Flamenco directly from Culebra Harbor or the airport, take a taxi or rent a car to access the beach. Book a guided tour to have all the logistics handled for you.
When to Get There
Flamenco Beach is busiest in winter and spring, when it’s best to visit on a weekday or arrive early to avoid crowds. The Caribbean waters are warm year-round, and although low season visitors can enjoy fewer crowds and cheaper prices, visiting during hurricane season (June through November) means boats might be canceled due to weather.
The US Navy used Flamenco Beach as a practice ground from just before World War II until the 1970s. A pair of old US army tanks remain, abandoned on the northern edge of the beach. A reminder of Puerto Rico's military past, the rusted tanks have become something of a local landmark, spruced up with colorful graffiti, most notably a swirling green and yellow design painted by local artist Jorge Acevedo.