There are two hotels right on Playa Flamenco , which is the main reason to recommend either one. Just be sure to bring your insect repellent—it gets buggy. Culebra Beach Villas (Playa Flamenco, 787/767-7575, 787/754-6236, or 877/767-7575, cbrental [at] prtc [dot] net, www.culebrabeachrental.com , $125 studio, $175–185 one-bedroom, $225 two-bedroom, plus 9 percent tax) offers 33 individually owned cottages and rooms with air-conditioning and kitchens, some with TVs but no Internet or telephones. The rooms are fairly Spartan, but the cottages have decks and covered porches. The service is minimal, although linens and towels are provided. Request a newer unit in the back of the complex if available. Basic pub fare can be had at the open-air waterside Coconuts Beach Grill .
The other option is Villa Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco, 787/742-0023, Nov.–Aug., $140 efficiency, $120–135 studio, plus 9 percent tax). A party-hardy vibe emanates from the two-story pink-and-green concrete structure, which contains six units. There are four studio apartments with kitchenettes, air-conditioning, and hot water, which sleep two, and two efficiency apartments with full kitchens, hot water in the shower only, and no air-conditioning, which sleep four. A couple of rooms have beachfront balconies. The place is low-key and self-serve.
The most luxurious option in this price range is
Club Seabourne (Carr. 252, Calle Fulladoza on Ensenada Honda, 787/742-3169 or 800/981-4435, fax 787/742-0210, www.clubseabourne.com , $189 pool cabana room, $219 one-bedroom villa, $329 two-bedroom, including tax), which qualifies as Culebra ’s first foray into the world of modern boutique hotels. The quiet, remote, 14-unit hotel features a cluster of old-fashioned yellow-clapboard free-standing villas with pitched tin roofs that overlook Fulladoza Bay on Ensenada Honda. Rooms have air conditioning, but no TV or telephones. A lovely landscaped pool surrounded by umbrella tables overlooks the bay, as does the poolside bar, Sea Shells Bar and Grill. Fine dining can be had at White Sands Restaurant, serving Caribbean cuisine on a screened porch. Rates include continental breakfast, courtesy cocktails, one hour of free kayak rental, and transportation to and from the airport and ferry. Kayaks, snorkeling equipment, bikes, beach chairs, and umbrellas are available for rental, and picnic lunches are available by request.
Even more modern amenities can also be found at Bahía Marina (Punta Soldado Rd., km 2.4, 787/742-0535, 866/CULEBRA—866/285-3272, fax 787/742-0536, info [at] bahiamarina [dot] net, www.bahiamarina.net , $151–179 one-bedroom apartment, $295 two-bedroom, plus tax). This hilltop row of 16 corporate-looking apartments with sleeper sofas in the sitting rooms comes with kitchenettes, air-conditioning, cable TV, and ocean-view balconies. There’s also a large pool and an open-air bar and restaurant.
For total seclusion, you can’t do much better than Tamarindo Estates (off Carr. 251 just south of Playa Flamenco, 787/742-3343, jose2 [at] tamarindoestates [dot] com, www.tamarindoestates.com , $190 plus $20 per pair of children, plus 9 percent tax). The property is on the wildlife refuge and features 12 simply furnished, hillside cottages on 60 acres overlooking the water and Cayo Luis Peña. Units are three or six to a building, and they look like they were furnished by a flea market, which gives them a quaint homespun vibe. Each one contains a TV, a VCR, air-conditioning in the bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen, a screened porch, and a rooftop veranda. Internet access is available in the common computer room. The rocky beach directly in front of the property offers great snorkeling, and a short hike north is a sandy beach for swimming. There’s also a small pool on-site, but no restaurant or bar.