Puerto Rico // Vieques and Culebra //

Playa Flamenco

A brilliant white crescent of coral sand, lapped by glittering waters of turquoise and azure blue, Playa Flamenco (24hr; free) is fringed with the same low-lying scrub and palm trees that Columbus would have seen five hundred years ago. Staggeringly beautiful, it’s worth a day of swimming, lounging and simply soaking in the idyllic scenery. The beach can get busy at the weekends, but it’s wide enough to handle the crowds and at other times is remarkably tranquil. Check out the rusting Pershing tank half-buried in the sand at the northwestern end of the beach. Once used as target practice, it’s decorated with murals (there’s another tank just inland). At the far eastern end of the beach is the “Muellecito”, where an old pier has formed a sheltered pool popular with families.

Flamenco lies about 2.5km north of Dewey at the end of PR-251, with the large car park behind the sands home to a series of tempting kioscos selling drinks, snacks and more substantial meals from around 7am to 6–7pm every day; the best is number 6, Meson de Goyita (t787/642-1101), selling fresh fish, shark nuggets and garlic shrimp ($4–11). For information about camping here. To access beach hotels, turn right along the signposted dirt track just before the car park.

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