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Beaches, Diving & Other Outdoor Pursuits

The island's most popular beach is Flamenco Beach, a mile-long (1.6km) horseshoe-shaped cove on the northwestern edge. It's a mile-long arc of the silkiest, lightest white sand you will ever see, fronting a sapphire covered sea. It's one of the most photographed beaches on the Caribbean, and with reason.

Walk over the hill beside the beach to Playa Carlos Rosario. The sands here aren't quite as good as those at Flamenco, but the snorkeling is even better in these clear waters. A barrier reef protects this beach, so you are almost guaranteed tranquil waters. Snorkelers can also walk south from Playa Carlos Rosario for a quarter-mile (.4km) to a place called "the Wall". There are 40-foot (12m) drop-offs into the water where you are likely to see schools of fish gliding by.

The isolated Zoni Beach is a 1-mile (1.6km) strip of sand flanked by large boulders and scrub. Located on the island's northeastern edge, about 7 miles (11km) from Dewey (Puebla), it's one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Snorkelers, but not scuba divers, find it particularly intriguing; there are beautiful reefs just offshore but the surf sometimes makes underwater visibility a bit murky during rough weather.

Known for its unspoiled underwater vistas, and absence of other divers, Culebra is what the Caribbean used to be before crowds of divers began exploring the sea. At least 50 dive sites, all around the island, are worthwhile. Culebra Divers, Calle Pedro Marquez 138 (tel. 787/742-0803; www.culebradivers.com), offers a resort course for novice divers, including training in a sheltered cove, and a tank dive in 15 to 20 feet (4.6–6.1m) of water ($125). Full PADI certification costs $395 and includes five open-water dives. You’ll have to arrange to study the material before arrival, and you’ll do the real practice once you are here. Certified divers pay $98 for a two-tank open-water dive. The outfitter rents equipment for $15 daily. It’s rare that more than six divers go out in one of these boats on any day. Snorkeling tours are also given for $60 per person. Captain Bill Penfield gives tours on his Pez-Vela (tel. 787/215-3809), a 33-foot sailing catamaran with room for six passengers. Go on a snorkel/picnic, deep-sea fishing, or simply take a leisure sail to nearby islands, coves, and deserted beaches. Bill is an excellent and professional captain who will provide you with a quintessential Caribbean experience. Lunch, drinks, and snacks are included in a $125 per person rate. Tours are given daily, and group rates are available. Snorkel SVI-Culebra (http://sites.google.com/site/culebraislandsnorkel; tel. 787/930-2111) offers kayak snorkel and fishing trips for $95 full day, $65 half-day from the island that traverse waters choked with tropical fish and reefs and venture on to deserted cays.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.