Tranquil, Carefree Retirement
Culebra, Puerto Rico is a small town of around 1800 people that takes pride in being a natural refuge. Unlike some beach retirement towns that are striving to expand and become the next biggest tourist destination, this dazzling archipelago keeps commercialism at bay. You won’t find any large hotels or major chain stores here, nor man-made attractions meant to attract a huge hoard of tourists. This ensures a quiet, peaceful life away from annoying crowds, and a closer relationship with the locals. Plus, the island has a very slow space—a stark contrast from bustling cities. Here, you can relax all you want without feeling bad about it.
Culebra may seem secluded since it’s an archipelago 17 miles east of the Puerto Rican mainland, but it’s really easy to get there. You can get there by airplane, ferry or private boat. The ferry service will take you to and from Fajardo for $4.50, round trip. There’s also public transportation on the island in the form of shared cars and taxis. Don’t like sharing? Rent a car, jeep, golf cart or scooter—or better yet, bicycle around the island.
A Paradise within Easy Reach
If you’ve ever wanted to retire in a beautiful, exotic place without traveling halfway across the globe, Culebra is the place to go. It’s just a few hours away from major US cities by plane. The culture and ambiance are largely different from many beach retirement locations in the States and the most commonly spoken language isn’t even English—it’s Spanish. Here, you get to experience living on what feels like a foreign land without actually leaving the country, as Puerto Rico is 100% part of the United States. Oh, and don’t worry about not being able to speak Spanish. Many of the locals speak fluent English so communication won’t be a problem.
White Sand Beaches
Diamond-dust white sand, crystal clear waters, lush palm trees lining the shore—the award-winning beaches in Culebra are simply amazing. Due to the lack of rivers on the main island, there are no murky river run-offs to ruin the outstanding clarity of the surrounding waters. Culebra has a lot of beaches but the most noteworthy and popular is Flamenco Beach, which has been rated as one of the best—if not the best—by various entities like TripAdvisor and Forbes. Adding to its character is the rusted military tank on its shore which shows a tiny glimpse into the island’s military past.
This Puerto Rican town isn’t really a major fishing destination. In fact, very few people come here to fish. But don’t let that discourage you from retiring at the beaches of Culebra. What most people don’t know is that the islands offer a unique, fun and quality fishing experience. If you fly fish from one of the ocean flats, you’ll have a chance of catching bonefish and tarpon, both of which you’ll be able to spot right away thanks to the island’s clear waters. You’ll see random marine creatures like sea urchins, octopi and stingrays while out fishing as well. Offshore charters are also available for catching tuna, king mackerel, wahoo and mahi-mahi.
Nature and Wildlife
While Culebra is mostly famous for its beaches, that’s not all the archipelago has to offer. The islands that make up Culebra are classified as nature reserves, so expect to see cliffs and lush forests teeming with wildlife. Apart from bird sanctuaries, different species of turtles and white-tailed deer, Culebra is home to the possibly extinct Culebra Island Giant Anole. If you want to go deep in exploration, the uninhabited island of Culebrita is just a water taxi ride away. Six beautiful beaches await you here, as well as an old lighthouse that provides 360-degree views of Culebrita.
Beach Weather Every Day
The average weather in Culebra matches its beautiful beaches perfectly. Summers are hot with temperatures varying between 75°F and 87°F. Winters are, well, practically non-existent. With an average low of 69°F, winter in Culebra almost feels like an extension of summer. And the best part is, despite being warm in the winter, it doesn’t really get that much busier. Here, you’ll have an undisturbed beach retirement all year long.
Culebra may be a small, sleepy town, but it does have a variety of activities to offer when you’re ready to take a break from beach-bumming. Culebra has magnificent nature and wildlife, which would make activities like hiking, biking, paddleboarding, kayaking and birdwatching (or watching any type of creature in general) a spectacular experience. It also has breathtaking underwater landscapes, making the archipelago a top destination for scuba diving and snorkeling.
It’s hard to believe that a tiny town like Culebra is rich in culture and history, but it’s true. Take a stroll around the quaint neighborhoods and you’ll see cultural and architectural elements you’ve never seen before. Delve into Culebra’s past at the Museum Fort Count Mirasol and Culebra Historical Museum. Mingle with locals and learn about their way of life. Or indulge in good food at Zaco’s Tacos, Tikis Grill Burgers, Heather’s Pizza, or at another restaurant on the island.
Nightlife and Festivals
You’re not necessarily giving up on nightlife by living your beach retirement in Culebra. While the options aren’t as bountiful as what you’re probably used to, you can still get a night of fun hanging out with locals and tourists at the local pool hall, which turns into a dance club on Friday evenings, by the way. If you just want to meet new people and have interesting conversations, grab a drink at Dinghy Dock. It’s arguably the best spot to hang near the waters.