Dare to discover the many treasures of Puerto Rico. Filled with rich historic culture, bioluminescence, and camping on secluded beaches and love.
On a solo trip in Sept. 2016 I explored the three islands of Puerto Rico: Mainland PR, Vieques and Culebra.
Living with this dream-like experience I wanted to share the adventure with my lovers. At the end of Jan. 2019 my girlfriend and I meet in San Juan during San Sebastian, the largest Festival in Puerto Rico. Another girlfriend would later join us on the island on Culebra. The mission would be to fly from San Juan to Culebra, Culebra to Vieques and return to PR. The final landing would be a small port city called Ceiba on the East side of Puerto Rico via ferry.
The first hop was out of San Jaun city airport named Fernando Ribas Dominicci Airport commonly named as Isla Grande Airport.
Airport Code: (SIG)
This small airport was a quick taxi from our Airbnb an ideal spot when staying near Old San Juan. Traveling via a small plane gave a romantic and heart-filling experience. Flying over Old San Juan, a 500+ year old city our cheeks glued to the window enjoying the ariel view of the historic town below.
Modes of Transportation:
Over the next week we would be traveling via taxi, bus, lyft rides, ferries, and small chartered planes. Traveling is not always crystal clear, having an optimistic attitude is very important. Appreciate those you travel with, as much as you can. This will give you even more satisfaction as you think back on your travels.
Finding an accurate ferry schedule proved to be one of the most challenging aspects. Missing a ferry opened up the doors to island hopping via small planes which gave us all-new levels of joy. The Puerto Rican ferry is managed by a small government body. Doing this has been an attempt to keep costs low, effecting frequency. The ferry is mostly used by those living on the islands. An idea to charge tourists $10 – $20 would help to reduce the strain. Personally, I would be happy to pay a higher rate, helping those who need it more and creating a more reliable ferry schedule.
Missing the ferry had us thinking we would not be able to visit Vieques within the window of time we had available. Important: When traveling on small islands, small planes can take you to remote destinations for a low-cost, when you want. Chartering a plane can cost between $180-$800 which depends largely on the plane size. Roughly $60 – 100+ per person has been my experience when traveling via chartered prop planes. Traveling between Puerto Rico islands averages 15-30 minutes from take off to landing. Epic!
Hurricane Maria in September 2017 hit Puerto Rico causing severe damage and uprooting the lives of many. Crushing the tourism industry on the small Eastern Islands of Culebra & Vieques. Tourism has yet to return, as a result. We were able to camp in a secluded area of the beach with showers and restrooms. Magnifique!
An interesting fact, the island of Vieques was without power for 4 months. During this same period the Mosquito Bay known as Bahia Bioluminiscente was dim, near dark during the same time. Mosquito Bay is reported to be the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. During our night adventure to visit the bay and explore on our own, a group of scientists and Dept. of Natural Resources members were trolling on the water taking samples. While chatting with them we learned of several online resources sharing their continued efforts.
My first bio-luminescence experience was via a kayak or canoe with a clear bottom at Mosquito Bay an experience that continues to fill me with joy and curiosity. A true moment of bliss and an experience I will never forget. The three of us didn’t have this option, exploring by foot and a limited window of time. Our vote was to play in the water and enjoy the glowing mystery, even for a short period was unforgettable.
Each island either Culebra or Vieques offers a fun experience for camping. Culebra continues to be voted as one of the best beaches in the world and receives my vote.
When camping on Culebra there is a parking fee of $7. We had a gas golf cart to explore the small island and needed basic transportation. Camping on Culebra is near free, you can fish off the beach grilling their catch. Many snowbirds were enjoying living in a tent for 2 to 6 months. Showers, bathrooms, and a small concession area near the entrance make Culebra an enjoyable leisure spot.
Beach Camping Checklist:
When camping on a beach there are very important considerations. To offer the highest level of enjoyment pack a quality mosquito net, featuring the smallest possible netting. Sand flies or sand fleas can become a living hell.
Bring the following items:
- Water shoes
- Bug Spray (natural / organic)
- Music Speaker
- Several small AAA flashlights, at least 5 (often there is an issue and it is good to have backups)
- String fiery lights (make a path, wrap up an item)
- Heart Glasses