Culebra

Travel Guide Caribbean Puerto Rico Culebra

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Introduction

Isla Culebra is an island-municipality of Puerto Rico. It is located approximately 27 kilometres east of the Puerto Rican mainland, 19 kilometres west of St. Thomas and 14 kilometres north of Vieques. Culebra is spread over 5 wards and Culebra Pueblo (Dewey), the downtown area and the administrative center of the city. Residents of the island are known as Culebrenses. With a population of about 2,000, it is Puerto Rico's least populous municipality.

Originally called Isla Pasaje and Isla de San Ildefonso, Culebra is also known as Isla Chiquita (“Little Island”) and Última Virgen (“Last Virgin”, due to its position at the end of the Virgin Islands archipelago).

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Geography

Culebra is an archipelago consisting of the main island and twenty-three smaller islands that lie off its coast. The largest of these cays are: Culebrita to the east, Cayo Norte to the northeast, and Cayo Luis Peña and Cayo Lobo to the west. The smaller islands include Cayo Ballena, Cayos Geniqui, Arrecife Culebrita, Las Hermanas, El Mono, Cayo Lobito, Cayo Botijuela, Alcarraza, Los Gemelos, and Piedra Steven. Islands in the archipelago are arid, meaning they have no rivers or streams. All of the fresh water is brought from Puerto Rico via Vieques.

Culebra is characterized by an irregular topography resulting in a long intricate shoreline. The island is approximately 11 by 8 kilometres. The coast is marked by cliffs, sandy coral beaches and mangrove forests. Inland, the tallest point on the island is Mount Resaca, with an elevation of 198 metres, followed by Balcón Hill, with an elevation of 165 metres.

Ensenada Honda is the largest harbor on the island and is considered to be the most hurricane secure harbor in the Caribbean. There are also several lagoons on the island, like Corcho, Flamenco, and Zoní. Culebrita Island also has a lagoon called Molino.

Almost 80% of the island's area is volcanic rock from the Cretaceous period. It is mostly used for livestock pasture, as well as some minor agriculture

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Sights and Activities

Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach is quite outstanding and is featured on many "top 10 beaches" lists. Unlike the other beaches in Vieques and Culebra, it is popular enough to attract a real crowd. The beach is in a calm cove and stretches into a circle of nearly a mile in length, and a few rusted-out U.S. Army tanks silently watch over the beach. The water is clear, shallow, and calm, and the waves are small. Reefs exist on each side of the beach and are very easy to access directly off the beach if you have snorkeling equipment with you, and other snorkeling beaches can be accessible by taking the (safe) path through the old army minefield. The reefs are not world class but they are interesting enough for amateur snorkelers. Facilities at the beach are few. Showers run sporadically and there are flush toilets, but no lights other than in the bathroom. Fresh water is freely available. Bring a cooler with plenty of snacks and drinks, plus towels or beach chairs if you can. Campers should be warned that it gets surprisingly windy and chilly at night. Bug spray is recommended. Bring a tent and sleeping bags, and, if you have one, bring a hammock to string between two trees for a night under the stars.

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Weather

Culebra has a hot and humid climate with temperatures rarely dropping below 18 °C at night, although the mountainous areas can get a bit chilly sometimes. Average daytime temperatures hoover around 30 °C, a bit cooler from December to April and a bit warmer between June and October. This latter period also is the rainy season with a chance of hurricanes from late July onwards. Obviously, this is not the best time to visit.

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Getting There

By Plane

You can also reach Culebra via daily airplane service from San Juan, Fajardo, Vieques or nearby Saint Thomas. This option is the best and easiest way to travel, particularly for a single traveler. Air Flamenco and Vieques Air Link have a service that leaves from Isla Grande Airport to Culebra. San Juan Isla Grande airport(SIG) is approximately a $25 15 minute cab ride from San Juan International airport. These are small 8 passenger planes. The plane ride may cost $60 one way and take 35 minutes. There are also flights leaving directly from San Juan International Airport, but they are much more expensive ($115+).

By Boat

You can reach Culebra via daily ferry from Fajardo or on week days from Vieques. Price is $2.25/adult and $1/child for the ferry ride and it takes about one to one and a half hours from Fajardo. It is important to note that although the ferry is a cheap option it is extremely busy during the high season (holidays and summer months). During these times the ferry will be extremely hard to use as people camp out as early as 4 in the morning for tickets. This would be a good time to consider flying in.

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Getting Around

Publicos are shared taxis/shuttles that offer transportation to and from anywhere on the island including the airport, Flamenco Beach and the ferry terminal. The cost for most rides is $3 one-way or $5 round trip.

There are several businesses on the island that rent scooters, road-legal golf carts, and cars at the airport. You can rent a jeep for $60 a day, or a golf cart for $35 a day. If you arrive with the ferry, you can take a shuttle to the airport. If you want to see the many beaches on all sides of the island you can rent a car for 1-2 days and pretty much cover the entire island.

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Eat

There are several small restaurants on the island as well as small hotels which have restaurants. Reservations are recommended if you plan on going to a hotel restaurant.

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Drink

Mamacita's bar and restaurant, in the heart of the town is popular but relatively pricey; the bar area is right by the water. Dinghy Dock also has a waterfront bar. El Eden has the best selection of wine in Culebra.

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Sleep

There are half a dozen or so guest houses, including the Palmetto Guesthouse, and small hotels on Culebra.

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Culebra Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 7:45 on Jul 26, 16 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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