When the ferry gets close to Culebra, it is wise to get closer to the exit. It is a mass hurding of people - and you don't want to get stuck at the back of the crowd. The last people off the ferry are usually the last ones to get transportation to the beaches and the hotels. The first few minibuses and taxis primarily cater to locals who are visiting Culebra's famous Flamenco beach for the day. They simply load people up and take them directly to the beach. If you aren't aggressive, you will not get a taxi ride until everyone else has been transported. Money talks. If you are staying at the Tamarindo Estates (where we stayed), you will need to meet the staff at the airport. The airport is less than a mile away from the port. It is an easy walk as long as you stay out of the road (you don't want to get "bumped" by a taxi!). The link below has a decent map of Culebra...
Rather than taking the ferry and then driving back to San Juan, we decided to take a direct flight from Culebra to San Juan. There are several small airlines that provide this service at a reasonable cost (approx. $60 each way). We chose to travel with Isla Nena and were happy that everything ran as scheduled. We arrived in the San Juan airport in plenty of time to check in for our flight home. The scenery was spectacular and it was fun to see El Yunque and the beaches from the skies.
Make sure you do this! If you want to see more than 10% of what Culebra has to offer than get a moped. 40 $ a day may be a little hefty but you are going to spend more than that using and waiting for Publicos. Publicos will take you no where near the far-off places you can access on two wheels. The locals that were staying at the hotel dropped us at the airport by way of moped to rent our own moped. We shared, I ferried Yuki all over that island. Everywhere we went the distant buzz of another smart moped-riding traveller approches than passes with people aboard with that smile and nod "yes, you are as smart as me, F the Publicos" exchanged.
Puerto Rico is one of the better countries in the region. Getting out of the airport, renting a car, and driving toward Fajardo on the East coast, was a cinch. We waited at a tiny little airport to catch a plane to Culebra. I don’t know if one can call it an airport. Another way of describing it would be a single building with a huge parking lot, on which teensy-weensy airplanes landed and took off.
When the time comes, you walk up to the plane, climb in through the back door (just like you would climb into a car) and dump your bags in the back. The plane can seat about 10 people, including the pilot. Is it too hot in the plane? Just crack open the window a wee bit! On-board refreshments ? Sure … just reach into your backpack and pull out the munchies you had bought at the airport. If you are lucky, you could call shotgun and sit next to the pilot. Culebra was half an hour away, and our eyes were riveted to the window as we passed the beautiful beaches of mainland Puerto Rico, flew over the sea with its little islands and boats, till we saw the mountains of Culebra looming in the distance. It is kinda noisy in the plane, so conversations may be limited. Every once in a while the plane may hit an air-pocket, so you have to be careful with your drink, if any. The plane has to maneuver between two mountain peaks during its descent, which can make some people nervous.
We landed at the airport, pulled our backpacks from the “trunk” and simply walked up to the terminal, making sure the rotating propellers were a safe distance away. We thought it was a pretty cool ride. Once there, you have a choice of renting two wheelers or 4-wheel drives. There are also some vans that ply across different parts of the island.
The ferries to Culebra & Vieques are very crowded, but SUPER cheap! Be sure to get to the ferry terminal early and get in line so you can find a seat on the ferry. The ferry ride to Culebra was very short, but it was very scenic and CHEAP ($3US each way!). It was worth the ride! The ferry schedule is online (see below). We took the ferry from Fajardo to Culebra, and after our vacation we took a flight from Culebra to San Juan. See our flight post under transportation for additional information.
If you want to get to the good snorkeling spots and secluded beaches in Culebra, it is best to have a 4x4 vehicle. You can rent one from the local car rental places - there are a few different companies and these typically have newer vehicles...OR you can ask your hotel if they rent vehicles. We stayed at the Tamarindo Estates and they provided us with a vehicle at a lower rate than the car rental companies, however our car was MUCH older and more "rugged" than the ones offered by the rental companies. We needed 4x4 just to GET to Tamarindo Estates. Be sure to check about the accessibility of your hotel before making a rental decision (if you are considering a car without 4x4).