Cruising The Spanish Virgin Islands

Spanish Virgin Islands baths

The Spanish Virgin Islands are located off the east coast of Puerto Rico, on the way to the Virgin Islands. We spent a few days cruising the Spanish Virgin Islands, and wish we’d had more time! This stopover en route to the US Virgin Islands got us back in the “island time” groove of slow relaxed living.

Spanish Virign Islands map
Spanish VIrgin Islands – east of Puerto Rico, Vieques to the South, Culebra North and Culebrita east of Culebra


One afternoon and a night is all we had for this remarkable island. We should have spent a few more days but this was the time we had.

Vieques Puerto Rico
The beautiful palm tree lined island of Vieques

We anchored at Punta Arenas on the west coast of the island, and the anchorage was great. There were only 4 other boats, two filled with buddies, so it was peaceful. Dolphins played off the stern at sunset and I slept outside for the first time. Bliss.

Punta Arenas Vieques Puerto Rico
A view of our anchorage from shore, Punta Arenas, Vieques

People live on Vieques but we anchored too far from the town to visit in our short time. This is one of my regrets: I wanted to see more of Vieques.


This island has some tremendous history and we spent a few nights anchored in Ensenada Honda, the main anchorage, which is very busy but still quiet and protected.

We rented a golf cart on the island which was a fast and fun way to explore! On the cart, we got to see most of Culebra, including its gorgeous beaches.

Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach is hugely popular as it is one of Puerto Rico’s best beaches. Some say it’s one of the best in the world, and we have been to one other “best beach” on this trip, in Turks and Caicos.

Flamenco Beach Culebra cruising the Spanish Virgin Islands
Flamenco Beach Culebra

Flamenco Beach is beautiful but the world ranking and attention makes it very busy with a lot of concession stands. I prefer the more remote beaches, but Flamenco is gorgeous.

Culebra History

This beach is an interesting example of Culebra’s sordid history: there are abandoned tanks here from the US Military’s long occupation.

We visited Culebra’s history museum which was well worth the $1 donation. There, we heard from locals about the terrible way the Navy used the islands: as a testing ground for bombs, moving people from their homes, and leaving discarded munitions behind on the islands. The military occupation lasted from the turn of the century into the 1970s.

One of the most photographed sites on Culebra is the tank on Flamenco Beach. It also serves as a reminder of our stupidity and inhumanity to each other and the environment.

Flamenco Beach Culebra
Tank on Flamenco Beach in Culebra


Culebrita is a tiny island east of Culebra and is worth a stop! Our Mother’s Day visit included some friendly locals day tripping from the big island with their families.

Culebrita sign
Where to go on Culebrita

We climbed the hill to the old lighthouse, a 20 minute hike with gorgeous views. Then we walked down an easy trail to a snorkeling beach. We had the path, the lighthouse and the beach to ourselves; everyone else was on the main beach by the anchorage.

Culebrita lighthouse
The lighthouse on Culebrita

Later in the afternoon we rode the dinghy to the jacuzzi pools, natural baths near the edge of the island. There are two baths, but we ventured into the calm one. The other was highly active with waves from the sea. It’s a beautiful spot with gorgeous natural scenery. A highlight of our Spanish Virgin Islands tour!

Spanish Virgin Islands baths
Me enjoying “the jacuzzis” on Culebrita

If you have the time and a sailboat, I recommend cruising The Spanish Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico is a beautiful place and this is a wonderful part of it.

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, scuba diver, cat parent, cyclist, blogger, love the water and exploring new places.

2 thoughts on “Cruising The Spanish Virgin Islands”

  1. great pics and accompanying text, Melinda! Those Islands are really beautiful and not well traveled. We’d been going to PR for the past 5 years and FINALLY got to Culebra this past March. Did you see Icacos island too? what a relatively unspoiled part of the world. Keep it coming, Mel!

    1. Gracias! I wish we could have come earlier and seen you. We didn’t make it to Icacos but would gladly return to Puerto Rico. We loved it there.

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