Saturday, July 6, 2013

So You Want to

rent and drive a golf cart, here on Culebra. Great! No doubt the reasons are varied: less expensive, better gas milage, small, fun. I wish all the vehicles were golf carts. But, they aren't and they never will be, so here's a few rules for the road.


There isn't even a top number for the following, because it is so important and the violators are so wrong, I can't stress it enough. It's illegal, it's environmentally destructive and it's just wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. By the way? It's wrong. If I see it happening, I will call every enforcer of every law on Culebra and beyond and report it, with photos. That's a promise.

DO NOT DRIVE A VEHICLE ON THE BEACH. EVER!!!!

Ok, that's done. Now for the rest. 

1. You will never go faster than 15-20 mph. No worries, Culebra is very small and getting anywhere won't take you long. Especially if you are here on holiday, what's the hurry? However, you are driving along with people in vehicles that go faster and are a lot bigger. Common courtesy goes like this - pull over and let the bigger, faster vehicle pass you. BUT!!! don't pull over on a curve in the road; you might be simply polite but you are endangering the vehicle and its passengers passing and the oncoming vehicle and passengers no one can see around the corner. There! That wasn't so hard, was it.

2. I've seen little kids bouncing around the back seats of these things, no seat belts in sight. I've seen four people squashed into a seat made for two, with kids on their laps, a cooler and other beach paraphernalia crammed in as well. All it would take is one big vehicle behind you losing their brakes or their concentration and there is going to be a pretty ugly splat on the road. If you use these, get enough for everyone in your party to be safe.

3. Even though you are in a vehicle that is almost toy-like, it isn't a toy. Riding two or three abreast, weaving all over the road, having mini slow drag races (I've seen all of that, more than a few times) is dangerous and frankly, stupid. Obey traffic laws. Period.

4. While stopping on the top of a hill to take photographs is completely understandable (our views are awesome), stopping in the middle of the road is not. To whoever is coming up behind you, you aren't expected to be there. That's why you see us growling instead of smiling when we have to go around you.

And for the rest of us? The people NOT driving golf carts? Chill out. They are here and they are going to stay. Passing like a maniac is not going to help you really get anywhere more than about 30 seconds to a minute and a half faster. Yes, it can be really annoying, but why are you living here anyway? If you truly HAVE to be someplace exactly on time, leave earlier. Maybe a whole five minutes earlier. Really.

Personally, my opinion is that there are too many vehicles on Culebra. Too many rental cars. Too many big trucks driving WAY too fast and aggressively. Too many taxis that are too big, driving too fast and aggressively. But that too is most likely not going to change, except in the bad direction. So the best we can hope for is a little courtesy, a little respect, a little caution.

Have a safe Saturday. Do something smart slowly. 


24 comments:

  1. "pedestrians first" courtesy would get the ball rolling....

    we don't really have much actual walkway off of the pavement...

    i like to walk with a longish stick - i hold out towards the oncoming traffic to 'direct' them away from my body!!
    Just make yourself and your personal space req's LargeR.
    it is very effective.
    (they probably just don't want to scratch the paint on their cars)
    also, walking along swinging neon/bright tote bags moves them away from you... just sayin' m

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  2. Thanks for adding the pedestrian dimension, one I deal with a lot. I never considered either of those 'safety devices; now I want a cool walking stick! In neon.

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  3. oh YES!!! all this advice so smart!! can i put this link on my website along with info on vehicle rental? it might help if renters had a clue in advance of climbing into their toy cars :))

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    1. Sure you can link it. And yes, there ought to be a little list of a few rules glued onto the dashboards of the vehicles. In the Virgin Islands, a lot of the rental cars have a sticker saying Keep Left on the dashes, just to remind people, this could be done the same way.

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  4. absolutely! i bet jerry's new road seminars include some "pointers" to renters of his carts. his cautionary tales can be pretty hair-raising :)

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    1. They are pretty real, because weird stuff happens. Better to be safe than sorry.

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  5. Being someone from the island that seems to know a lot about the golf carts... Is it legal for kids to ride in them? Is it okay for a mom to hold a baby in one? I will be there is about 2 weeks and want to check since my sister has a 3 month old and a 3 year old. Thanks!

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    1. It is legal. there are seat belts. Bring baby seats, and work it in. Thank you so much for wanting to do the right thing!!! Mom holding a baby in one? I won't say anything else but...bring a car seat.

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  6. My family is coming to Culebra next weekend, and we are beyond excited to explore your beautiful island. We figured that renting a golf cart would be the most island-friendly and fun way to get around, but I am concerned about safety. I am happy to find your post. It sounds as if there are some risks, and we will certainly take the proper precautions to ensure everyone's safety and well being. :)

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    1. The risks involved are about who is driving the golf cart. Responsible, courteous drivers will be fine. Drunk idiots with overloaded carts acting like they are toys, not so much and the ones you have to watch out for.

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  7. I see that this is an old post so I have no idea if you'll even see this, but as someone who lives on the island, is it necessary to even rent a car or golf cart? My friend and I will be traveling there this summer, and I kind of just assumed we could walk places. Will a bicycle suffice or should we plan on renting something?

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    1. It all depends on you and where you are staying and what you want to do. In in-town location means you could get away with publicos (taxis) to the main beaches, or bikes depending on your fitness level (hills can be long and bring water!). If you have the means, a golf cart is not a bad option, remembering to pull over when possible for other drivers, etc. etc. Every situation is different; again, depending on where you are staying and how long, give it a day or so and you'll know what is best for you. Enjoy!

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  8. Hello! Great thoughts for visitors to Culebra. We are considering coming in March and I am having a hard time finding information on where we can rent a golf cart. We are a retired couple with no children and very safe drivers so this is a great option for us to get to the beaches for snorkeling. PS Where are the best places to snorkel in your opinion...will we need a boat to get there?
    Thanks so much for your suggestions/help in advance! Happy New Year!!!

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    1. Wow, amazing that you found this old post! You can rent a golf cart from Carlos Jeeps, Jerry's Jeeps and another place around the corner from the airport and I forget the name of it. Oops! For good snorkeling? Tamarindo is great, so is Melones. Tamarindo is good early early in the morning before the kayakers get out there (to the left and out, you'll see turtles...please do NOT feed them!), to the right you'll find beautiful coral gardens. Melones, head out to the right. You can walk in, no boat needed. There are other spots but those two I am familiar with. Have a wonderful holiday!

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  9. Hello -- I came across your blog while researching our upcoming trip to San Juan. We are hoping to make it to Culebra and your blog has provided some very helpful insights. I was wondering what your thoughts were on trying to catch the ferry during Holy Week...is that feasible or would it be too crowded? I was thinking Thursday, March 24. Or do you think it would be better to aim for the Monday after Easter (March 28)? Thank you!

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    1. Hi! I would definitely NOT plan on coming over by ferry during Holy Week and the later date would be better, but still, if you can fly at that time? I'd do that. But if you must take the ferry, yes, absolutely the later date is the best one. Good luck and enjoy Culebra!

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  10. Hello!

    I loved all the great advise you gave, really gives a better picture of what would work and wouldn't when it comes to getting around the island. My family and I (a party of 8) will be traveling to Culebra on March 9th, from your experience, how busy does the ferry tend to be around that time of year?

    Also, we are interested in getting golf carts (multiple of course) do you think it would make it from the airport to flamenco beach and back? my family and I have short knowledge on golf carts but we are interested in booking things 2 weeks prior our arrival so I am really trying to start gathering everything we will need and won't.

    Thank you so much for your response!

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    1. I'm sorry, but I really just can't give you advice on the ferry. There is a website called Isla Culebra where they talk about that sort of thing much more informatively (and recently) than I know about, so best to check with a site like that.

      The golf carts can go pretty much anywhere on the island unless you go off road and that isn't a good idea anyway, no matter what you rent. The main thing with them is, don't overload them with people, drive politely (mostly meaning, when you are on a clear stretch of road, NOT a curve, pull over and let others pass).

      Have fun!

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  11. Hi,
    Thanks for all the information, its been really helpful! I was wondering if you could tell me about the seatbelt laws in Culebra. I have read different websites and haven't seen a definitive answer.
    Thanks! So excited to visit this beautiful island!

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    1. Super important that you wear your seatbelt. Probably one of the most enforced laws on Culebra.

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  12. M Andersson10/6/16, 4:13 AM

    Thank you for your advice. How long does it take to drive from the airport or Dewey to Flamenco beach?

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    1. From town, maybe 10 minutes, from the airport, maybe 5.

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  13. Do the golf carts have headlights and tail lights? Is it safe to drive them at night?

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    1. These are street legal vehicles so yes, they have all the equipment you need to drive, day or night.

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