Culebra Island Attractions Isla de Culebra
Called "Isla Chiquita" (Small Island), Culebra was founded on October 27, 1880. Located 27 km / 17 mi east of Puerto Rico and 19 km / 12 mi west to the Caribbean island Saint Thomas, Culebra is about 11 km / 7mi long and 5 km / 3 mi wide. There are 23 offshore islands that together with Culebra form a miniature archipelago. The area's coral reefs are considered some of the best in the entire Caribbean region. Today's population is about 1,542, and the capital of the island is Dewey. The history of Culebra is somewhat clouded prior to the 19th C because the island did not have a permanent settlement. The major draw to the island is ecotourism, and Culebra is one of only two nesting sites for giant sea turtles in the USA. The island offers great opportunities for fishing, diving, and other water sports.
Culebra - Flamenco Beach
Playa Flamenco is a public beach shaped like a horseshoe. The water is clear with no surf (good for diving) and the beach is lined with palms. Playa Flamenco is as close to a perfect beach as possible. The sand is blazingly white and the water warm water gently laps at the shoreline.Playa Flamenco is the most popular beach on Culebra Island / Isla Culebra and depending on your Spanish, a good place to meet and interact with the locals. Snorkeling is good at Playa Flamenco as is the scuba diving.Camping is available at Playa Flamenco, however reservations are required.
Cayo Luis Peña
Cayo Luis Peña is a small island just west of Culebra. It is part of the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge with some rugged terrain and nice coves. The island is open to visitors for day use only and offers some great, although slightly challenging hiking opportunities. There are some small beaches, which may be closed for turtle nesting depending on the time of year. This information is available at the park office. Cayo Luis Peña is easy to reach by water taxi or on a kayaking trip from Dewey on Culebra. In addition to the beaches and hiking, Cayo Luis Peña is also known for being a nice snorkeling spot.
Culebra - Culebra National Wildlife Refuge
A favorite for nature enthusiasts, Culebra Island / Isla de Culebra National Wildlife Refuge is a well preserved slice of nature. More than a third of Culebra is designated as the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge includes the entire coastline of Culebra and more than 20 offshore cays. Encompassing 1482ac / 600ha of land, the area is a bird refuge designated by Theodore Roosevelt at the turn of the 19th C. Approximately 85 species of birds are protected, as well as nesting sea turtles. U.S. Fish and Wildlife administer the land, and an office is located on the east side of the refuge, providing literature and maps on the area.
Address: Road 250, KM 4.2 Lower Camp, Box 190, Culebra 00775, Puerto Rico
Useful tips: Permission needed to go to some areas.
Guides: Work-study or volunteer programs.
Just 1.6 km / 1 mi off the coast of Culebra, Culebrita is the largest of the cays near Culebra and part of the National Wildlife Refuge. Culebrita has six beaches, reefs, tide pools and seabird nesting areas. The northern beaches are a popular nesting area for sea turtles, and turtles can often be seen swimming near the reefs offshore. The small island of Culebrita offers many opportunities for diving and other water activities.A lighthouse built in 1886 was the oldest operating lighthouse in the Caribbean; however the Navy and Coast Guard closed it in 1975. Since then the lighthouse has been heavily damaged by hurricanes and vandalism. The lighthouse is registered in the National Historic Register of Buildings.
On the northeastern edge of Culebra is the lesser visited Playa Zoni. Located at the end of the only dirt road in the area, this beach is not hard to find. It may be hard to get to if a storm has recently gone through and the road is in bad shape. Playa Zoni is arguably one of the best beaches on the island. Due to its remote location it has a different feel then other beaches, like Flamenco. Depending on the time of year turtles may be nesting and visible on the beach so visitors should be cautious not to disturb them.
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