An Easy Boat Trip Get Away to Culebra for the Day
2022 update- Due to COVID, some changes- box lunch instead of buffet, and you must bring or buy mask/snorkel equipment for the East Island tour (only fins included). Check their web page for more info.
I am a BIG fan of the island of Culebra. I think this little island is an easy day-trip away from the main island, and it is full of great beaches, decent snorkeling and SCUBA diving. We have been there a few times and have never been disappointed.
Generally, to get to Culebra you have 2 options — the ferry out of Ceiba or fly from one of the main island’s airports. But there is another great choice — a motor boat day trip. We went with East Island Excursions’ Culebra Get-Away for a day of fun!.
Our Boat Ride
Once you sign in and meet the crew, you’re welcome to board the boat. East Island Excursions uses their high speed catamaran, when they go to Culebra. It does a nice job cutting through the waves, but you do still feel the motion of the ocean.
The trip over is almost never super calm. The day we were scheduled to go, there were some pretty high seas and a strong south wind. Anyone prone to sea sickness should take Dramamine before starting.
The crew was really attentive — they start offering ice water and sodas as soon as you get on board. Once everyone is settled in, they do a safety briefing and tell you various things you need to know (like how to use a marine head and where the life jackets are located). After the briefing, we got started on the 45-minute trip east to Culebra. Due to the sea conditions, the ride over is usually inside the boat. It may be a rough ride over…hang in there…the way back is always easier!
Just as an FYI- no matter what beach stops may be planned, Mother Nature has her own plans. The snorkel stops can be different every day, depending on the weather, water and wind conditions. The Captain decides each day which places are the best and safest, depending on the current conditions.
This trip typically stops at a nice reef in the Luis Peña Marine Reserve. Due to the waves, we couldn’t stop at the usual spot. But the Captain found a nice, protected cove there that had some reefs. Here, we got a briefing on the reefs and they gave out snorkel equipment (fins). If you needed a lesson or review on snorkeling, the crew was happy to help you out.
Underwater- The quality of the snorkel spot can vary by location and of course what you see changes by the minute…nature! But there is always some thing to see underwater. On board, it is impossible not to love the sun, blue water and pretty island views topside. And now the bar opens- after we were done snorkeling, a nice cold Cuba Libre hit the spot!
After about 1 hour, they called everyone back to the boat and we headed for our second spot for the rest of the day and lunch. Usually they try to go to Flamenco Beach, or depending on weather, somewhere else like Culebrita (one of the small islands off of Culebra).
Here you will have time to check out the beach and surrounds, snorkel or just hang out and enjoy the open bar, the sun, the views and talking with the other people until it was time to go. Luckily, the waves were much smoother, so we were able to sit on the outside benches and enjoyed the scenery, sun and sea air on the way home. Everyone agreed it was a great day.
Normally, when we review an activity that is not free to the public, we pay the admission price out of our own pockets. However, we just want you to know that the folks at East Island Excursions were kind enough to offer us this trip for free. While we don’t feel that this free ride influenced our review one way or the other, we felt that we should tell you, just as a matter of fact.
The cost is $125/adult and $105/child (3-11 years old), plus IVU (sales tax) and a $3.00 Natural Resource fee. Includes lunch, Piña Colada, Rum Punch, sodas, water, iced tea and juices. Beer may be available for additional fee. They can also provide transportation from some hotels in the SJ area for an additional fee.
If you're happy, let them know it — Don't forget to tip your your bartender, tour guide or trip operator if you enjoyed yourself. Gratuities are appreciated and typically aren't included in the price they charge you.
9am – 3pm. They ask you to arrive early so the boat can leave on time.
You can visit their website at their web site for more information or to make a reservation.
For East Island, you will need to supply your own mask/snorkel, or buy one from them. They will supply the fins. Bring towels, sun glasses and sunscreen. Wear light clothing over your swimsuit. Underwater cameras and sunscreen are available for purchase on-board. Always drink responsibly, don’t drink and drive and snorkel at your own risk.
You will be back to the marina in time to catch a trip to the bio-bay that same evening, so you can check-off 2 things from your list in 1 day.
Directions to the marina: From the San Juan area, take Route 3 or Route 66 east. Continue on Route 3 east to Fajardo. Just as Route 3 merges with Route 53, you’ll see an exit sign for Puerto del Rey marina. Take that exit, cross under Route 53 and follow the road to the marina on your left. Please note that if you get to the toll booth on Route 53 then you have missed the exit. East Island offers transportation to/from the marina at an additional cost.
Travel time from the San Juan area to the marina is about 60 to 90 minutes, depending on traffic and the route taken (Route 66 versus Route 3).
Other companies that have similar public snorkeling day trips from Fajardo to Culebra.
Traveler Catamarans has the Tobias power boat- more info on their trip check out Tobias Culebra Snorkeling Tour
Sail Getaway- has a boat. For more info Culebra Power Boat Snorkeling & Beach Tour.
Pure Adventure offers boat trips. Check out CULEBRA ISLAND BEACH AND SNORKEL TOUR for more info.
Click on a placename below to view the location on Google Maps ...
- Balneario Flamenco, Culebra
- East Island Excursions
- Playa Tortuga / Turtle Beach
- Puerta del Rey Marina, Fajardo
PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it!