Diving in Culebras
Culebras is a bucket list diving destination for many for its turtle encounters and massive coral reefs. The Carlos Rosario Reef alone has 4-5 mooring balls. You could spend a week diving in Culebras and still not see it all.
No matter how wonderful Culebras seems in theory, it’s financially impossible for any small charter to make the trip profitable. The Fajardo to Culebras boat trip is 20 miles one-way or a 40-mile round trip. The Dragon Fruit is reasonably powered, but with its 12-knot max speed, you’re still looking at a 3-4 hour motor. Not only does this journey mean they can only run one tour a day, but it will cost over $350 in gas, not including maintenance costs. Also, there’s the uncertainty of making a crossing like that in a small boat. You would have to more than double the costs of the charter to make Culebra trips feasible for small boats.
There are bigger, faster ships that can make the crossing in half the time that carry enough people to make the trip profitable, but you will not get the personalized service. They might not even make the trip at all if there’s any chance of bad weather. When shopping for a trip to Culebra, you can ask questions to gauge the likelihood that you’ll make it to Culebra, such as: “did your boat go to Culebras yesterday,” or “when was the last time you went there?” You don’t always get a straight answer, but they’re good questions.
The better question is, perhaps, do you want to go to beautiful water and see amazing things instead of checking a box? Fajardo has the same water, coral, and abundant turtles as Culebras. Even with two days of diving, you will not see everything that diving in Fajardo offers.
The numbers tell the story; if you want to dive Culebras, spend a couple of days on the island. Be sure to book your trips with a local dive company that knows their dive sites as well as Captain Scotty knows the waters around Fajardo😉.