Sunday, October 18, 2015

Beauty and the Beach: Culebra. Adios Puerto.

October 2015: Culebra's Majesty
Culebra from above.
We got up at 5:45am to catch a 7:30am puddle jumper to Culebra. That was not ample sleep. Let me tell you, if you take a plane to Culebra, you don't need to get to the municipal airport early. Get there like 15-20 minutes before, and that'll be 15-20 minutes earlier than you need to. No TSA. One-way flights to the island are around $70. You can also take the super cheap ferry early in the morning from Fajardo, but depending on the season, it might be a long shot to get as there's limited seating, a long line that people sometimes camp out at, and no advance ticket purchases. If you want to save the hassle, the flight is an easier option. Although that ferry price is awfully tempting.
We be dragging ass. Our 8-seater plane.

The pilot apparently didn't mind having a GoPro camera jammed in his face.

Our G-ride. Courtesy of Carlos Jeep Rentals. Don't get a jeep. These golf carts can go anywhere on the island. As we discovered.
This little food truck, down the street from our AirBnb, is the spot to eat. Cafe Casa Grande operates on island time, but they made a delicious pesto torta sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich. Accompany the sandwich with an assortment of fresh juices and you're good to go.
Not much to look at, but it's good.

Entrance to Flamenco Beach. This was the reason I wanted to revisit PR. One of my boys hyped up this place as one of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. He was right. White sugar. Warm turquoise water. No crowds.
Really pure.
Super really pure.
History lesson that I stole from other sites: the Navy used to use Culebra to test bombs and artillery. It wasn't until the 70's that a non-violent protest from locals led the Navy to stop using the island for testing. That said, there are still remnants of the past - most notably, this tank that just sits in the water. I believe the "Ley 66" is dedicated to ESPN's Bob Ley. That's what I believe. I could be wrong.
This tank must've been operated by barbers.
Here's a nice close-up of our golf cart, which we ended up taking for an off road ride at the suggestion of the dude who rented us snorkel equipment. He recommended we go to Carlos Rosario Beach on the western part of the island, but the only way to get there...
Was through this gate. The guy told us it's totally fine and normally that fence is locked up. He said there's a cart path - even though technically against the law to drive down - but no one actually gets in trouble for it. Hmmmm. By the way, a woman told us earlier there are still landmines in the area, so be sure to stay on said path. Snorkel renter dude then mentioned we can walk, but that will take around 10-15 minutes. Well, that just sounds too long... so we ended up taking the cart on a bumpy ride that involved branches smacking us in the face and destroying the shocks to our Humvee of golf carts. In the cart, it took 10 minutes to get to where we wanted, so I don't know what the hell snorkel dude was smoking. If you take away the light bruising and permanent back damage, the ride was actually super fun!
The path led us here. Completely isolated. This would've been so much more awesome if the snorkeling was good though. There just wasn't much to see,  the water had very poor visibility, and there were sea urchins and sharp coral. Both my dudes Brian and Mason ended up with several urchin spines in their hands and feet. Pete and I were fine, so maybe those guys just don't know how to snorkel.
We had to commemorate making it through the path of broken spinal cords.
The view from our AirBnb. The place was a palace, unlike our stay on the main island.

Okay so this isn't a great picture. I know. But this was the bar at the Hotel Kokomo, one of the few places still open at 10pm on a Sunday night during non-peak season. The bar was practically empty. Maybe 1 or 2 locals. It had a TV. That was set on a family channel (in a bar!). On the channel was the "Super Mario Bros" movie. The "Super F'n Mario Bros" movie??? I thought all proof of that movie's existence was buried in a New Mexico landfill like Atari's ET video game. Not impressed? Whatever. I thought that was zany.
We almost stayed at this place because it was super cheap. I'm really glad we didn't.
Flying back to San Juan. 
Pete and I only had a few hours before having to take off, so we checked out El Morro, the impressive fort in Old San Juan.
Classic El Morro shot.

More El Morro. For facts, you can check my Old San Juan, PR blog entry.

Contemplating jumping.

 Love the colonial look of Old San Juan.

Mason getting artsy. Fascinating colors of cobblestone.

  And just like that - we were done.

GoPro Video:

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