About Culebra

Casa SuMarco
About the House
Guest Comments
Travel to Culebra
Getting Around
About Culebra
History of Culebra
Wildlife Refuge
An Island Album
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Culebra is a tiny unspoiled island located 17 miles east of Puerto Rico and 12 miles west of St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands). It measures about 7 miles long and 4 miles wide. Its total area, including surrounding cays, is 7700 acres.
    Lush green mangroves, craggy hills and white powdery beaches line its perimeter, set against a turquoise seashore so pristine that in places the water seems to give off a neon glow. There are even a few magically phosphorescent bays. On some of its beaches you might find your footprints the only ones interrupting the perfect continuity of untrammeled sand.


Coral reefs surround the island and a string of offshore keys all home to brown pelicans diving for fish, nesting colonies of  sooty terns, and cruising grounds for docile iguanas. Leatherbacks and hawksbill sea turtles nest on some of the more remote beaches.
    More than 20 percent of the island and its 23 surrounding cays comprises the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service serving to protect its delicate environment and discourage the rampant development that has all but ruined other tropical islands. The three largest cays Culebrita, Cayo Norte, and Luis Peña are well-known for their undisturbed snorkeling, and scuba diving around the archipelago is some of the best in the Caribbean.


On the southern side of Culebra is a huge inlet, Ensenada Honda, one of the safest hurricane harbors for mariners in the Caribbean. Legendary pirates once made constant use of this safe haven.
   Paddling around this serene harbor in a kayak you see cormorants and egrets dotting an islet that is haven for their nests no humans and few predators. Turtles and dolphins may surface near your boat. You float over shallow fields of turtlegrass where starfish feed. Drifting around, you will spot an improbably lean bird with angular black wings, a forked tail, and an elegant white head the frigate bird. With its enormous wingspan it soars endlessly on a single updraft, cocking its head to discern its swimming prey below. Moments like this best describe what Culebra has to offer.


Well protected by natural rock formations and reefs is the island’s best-known beach, Playa Flamenco, a sparkling crescent-shaped, 2-mile stretch of soft white sand, shallow swimming and gentle surf. It is managed by the U.S. National Park Service and has picnic tables, open showers, restrooms, beach chairs & umbrellas, and kiosks serving local snacks. A magnet for campers, Flamenco is rated one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the Western Hemisphere by the Travel Channel.


Culebra’s dozen or so other beaches proudly claim no organized facilities; they are left as nature created them. Visitors bring their own refreshments and beach gear. Most of these beaches have easily accessible reefs right off the sand. Some of the more remote beaches can only be reached by hiking paths, others by bicycle, or 4WD. Always an adventure!



Culebra has only one small town, Dewey, where the daily ferries arrive and depart from the “big island” of Puerto Rico. The town is basically one main street that crosses a bridge, turns a corner and ends at the ferry landing. It's recently been modernized with newly paved streets, renovated building facades, a small public square and town hall, and new ferry terminal.
    Dewey has several gift & craft shops, two grocers, a liquor store, hardware store, and a half-dozen or so eateries a couple of waterside cafes, a pizzeria, deli-bakery, a gourmet snack & food shop, an ice cream stand, and local snack bars. Also in town you'll find two dive shops, a gasoline pump, a laundry, and a U.S. Post Office. Like we said, small town.
    The small airport is serviced by a few local airlines with scheduled flights to and from the main island a few times each day. Charter flights can be arranged to neighboring islands, like the U.S and British Virgin Islands. Only props fly into Culebra the runway is not long enough for jets.

The population of the island is under 2,000 about two-thirds are native Culebrenses (a handsome cultural mix of Spaniard and Taíno Indian) and the other third a melange of North Americans and a handful of Europeans who have made Culebra their “tropical runaway paradise” some living there year-round, others seasonally.
    The native population is proud and independent, open and friendly to visitors. People smile and make eye contact when passing on the street: hola, buenos días, buonas tardes. English is spoken virtually everywhere, particularly by the younger generation who learn it as part of their school curriculum.
    Local currency is in U.S. dollars. Restaurants range from beach shack to haute cuisine, yet you can go anywhere dressed no more formally than in shorts and a T-shirt.


If you are looking for an active nightlife, resort hotels, tennis, golf, upscale boutiques, jet-set style, and chi-chi restaurants— Culebra is not for you. If you’re looking for the simple life, for unspoiled natural surroundings, for unwinding on a laid-back vacation with daily activities like beachcombing & swimming & kayaking & snorkeling at virtually empty beaches; hiking, reading, and just hanging out in the tropics— well then . . .

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