Hiking on Culebra
While Culebra is known for its beautiful beaches, great sea life, and relaxing lifestyle, there are also some hiking trails for those times you want to get away from the beach. Some hikes are an easy walk on the beach, and others are longer and more difficult.
While not hiking per se, if you don’t want to rent a car, it is possible to walk all over Culebra. We saw one woman walk from the Punta Soldado area to Flamenco Beach within a few hours! There aren’t a lot of cars on the roads in Culebra, but it is sunny and hot!
We rented a Jeep during a recent multi-day trip to Culebra, so we were able to drive to the starting locations for each of our hikes.
For a nice easy walk, we followed the dirt road around the Flamenco Lagoon. Unfortunately, it is across the street from the dump, and people have dumped trash at the beginning of this road when the dump is closed. But after the initial 50 yards, it is nice.
We stayed on the dirt road, and we occasionally caught a glimpse of the lagoon through the trees and could do some bird-watching. We followed the dirt road for about 0.6 miles, and it eventually came out on the northeast end of Flamenco Beach, near the Shark Cages or Muellecito. Once on Flamenco Beach, there are picnic tables where you can enjoy the great view.
Our original reason for walking around the Flamenco Lagoon was so that we could hike up to the old US Navy helicopter pad on top of Mount Resaca, the highest point on Culebra.
Unfortunately, the land was sold a while ago, and it is now "private property". There is currently an on-going legal battle regarding public access on the road, but for now there is a locked gate across the road. We got permission to hike up there, but for most people this is not really an option for a hike. But, for the record, the hike from Road 251 to the top of Mount Resaca is about 1.1 miles.
Playa Carlos Rosario
Starting in the Flameco Beach parking lot, we went to the back corner, where there is a chained gate. Though it has a keep out sign, lots of people have gone through the gate, and followed the path (which is well-used, and easy to follow). It is about a 30-minute walk, up and down hills in the full sun from the parking lot to Carlos Rosario Beach.
Road to Punta Soldado
During our trip to Culebra, we rented a Jeep, but the contract said we could only use it on paved roads. We wanted to snorkel at Punta Soldado, and the road to the beach is a loose gravel surface. So we had to park at the end of the blacktop and walk to the beach.
The walk to the beach is about 0.3 miles, on a dirt road, in the full sun. Easy downhill walk to the beach, harder uphill walk back to the car. We were happy to have drinking water with us!
Trail to Playa Brava
The hike to Brava Beach is a moderately difficult hike, downhill most of the way to the beach, and then back uphill back to your car.
To get to the trail head from Road 250, we turned at the Culebra Museum, and followed the road until it ended. We parked on the side of the road, being careful not to block either of the two gates. The trail to Brava Beach is through the gate at the end of the road (heading in the exact same direction as we were driving). There is a no pase sign, but obviously lots of people use this trail.
The first part is easy walking, up and then down, down, down. Then it goes to the left and we started going through bushes and down a dry stream/river bed. The path is well-used and well-marked, so it was easy to follow. It was obvious that there must have been some serious rains and flooding in the past couple years, even though Culebra is a relatively dry island.
After hiking approximately 0.75 miles, we emerged on Brava Beach. Being on the north side of the island, Brava Beach is not a swimming beach. So we spent time walking on the beach and taking photos, before starting our hike back to the car.
Trail to Playa Resaca
The hike to Resaca Beach is a difficult hike, downhill most of the way to the beach, and then back uphill back to your car.
To get to the trail head from Road 250, we took the road that goes "behind" (or on the north-east side of) the airport. We followed the road until it ended, and then parked at the little roundabout at the end of the road. When we got out of the car, we noticed two paths. One had a big gate, and was more like a road. The other was a tiny path behind a large rock, and marked with a little official “tortugas marinas” sign. It’s the little path that leads to the beach, not the gated path.
This path starts fairly easy and degrades quickly. The path was steep in places, and we found ourselves basically climbing down rocks. Then the path turns into a maze of trees/roots through a (thankfully) dried mud marshy area. Luckily, the path was well marked with blue tape marker flags when we went in April 2012.
After hiking approximately 0.5 miles, we emerged through the sea grapes onto Resaca Beach. Much like Brava Beach, Playa Resaca is not a swimming beach. So, again, we spent some time on the beach taking photos, then started our difficult hike back uphill to our car.
If you plan to do any of these hikes, make sure you have plenty of water, something to eat, and shoes with sturdy soles. We hiked in Teva and Keen sandals.
Parking for most of these hikes are in remote areas. Don’t leave any valuables in your car.
Watch out for thorns, razor grass, and loose gravel along the trails.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.