Culebra - The Undiscovered Puerto Rico
When most people think of Puerto Rico, their thoughts turn to the cobblestoned streets of Old San Juan, beautiful beaches, the Bacardi Rum Factory, or traveling through the El Yunque Rain Forest. Recently Cruise Store agent Lisa Herrick, spent some time in Puerto Rico visiting family, and while she was there she had the opportunity to experience the picturesque Isla Culebra.
Culebra is an archipelago consisting of one large island and 23 smaller ones, and is actually closer to St. Thomas than Puerto Rico by 5 miles. The 17 mile ferry trip from San Juan takes less than an hour and costs approximately $2.50. Others choose to fly there using commuter flights from Air Flamenco or Cape Air. Yes, THAT Cape Air. They have to go somewhere after tourist season on the Cape, right?
Culebra is an old pirate hideout and still has some undisturbed treasures. In 1909, Theodore Roosevelt declared Culebra one of America’s first wildlife refuges. World War II historians will recognize Culebra as being a gunnery range training site for the U.S. Navy until 1975, and many of the craters remain as a reminder. Perhaps unexpectedly this turned into something good for the island, as the reefs and waters that surround it have remained unscathed by commercial boating or tourism, leaving the beaches unspoiled. Playa Flamenco (Flamenco Beach) was rated as the third best beach in the world for 2014 by Trip advisor/
Culebra offers no luxury resorts, upscale restaurants, discos, casinos, or the typical touristy amenities. Popular smaller hotels include the Club Seabourne Hotel and the Sea Breeze Hotel. What it does offer is as crime free of an area as one can expect, and a home for many native birds and wildlife, plus surrounding waters where beautiful fish abound. In fact, Lisa went snorkeling and saw three stingrays, at least five turtles, and a variety of tropical fish. Their snorkeling guide would dive and bring up different starfish for them to look at. Golf carts and jeeps can be rented so that you can explore the island to your heart’s content.
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THE CRUISE STORE
55 Maple St., East Longmeadow | 413-525-9001
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