On my first visit to Culebra, I arrived at dusk. It was pitchblack on the Flamenco campsite when we finished setting up the tent. So we decided to go to the beach, maybe we could see some stars... Did we. There were so many you could actually see a dome from horizon to horizon, it was a natural light show! We couldn’t have imagined what was in store for us the next morning. Flamenco was the most beautiful beach I’d ever seen. How many shades of turquoise could there actually be? We spent our days and nights at the beach, never taking our bathing suits off, enjoying every minute of our incredible “backyard”.
New Year’s Eve in Culebra is a spectacle. Residents and visitors alike unite downtown near the bay to celebrate. Local shops open to offer refreshments, while culebrenses dance the night away with live music while welcoming you with their characteristic Culebra charm. Culebrenses are by far my favorite type of people: extremely warm, happy people, who love, love, love their Island. I gained many friends from different parts of the Island -and the world- who shared this common passion.
After a couple of visits enjoying different beaches like Zoní and Tamarindo, I couldn’t wait to discover the rest of the Island. I decided to find out why Culebra appealed to me, and so many others. I built my very own “eco trip” and was determined to enjoy exotic wildlife sightings; and oh, did I ever! I went hiking to Carlos Rosario Beach, stopping by Tamarindo Grande on the way. I discovered gorgeous deserted beaches filled with curious fish, beautiful beach stones, and incredibly clear water, I mean crystal. On our way back I had my first close encounter of the deer kind. I could not believe it, Bambi’s mom was right there in front of me! I was looking at her; she was looking at me... After what seemed to be minutes (seconds really) she ran away leaving me shocked to my bikini.
Later, local friends explained to me that long ago, deer were introduced to the Island, adapted and became native. Cool, huh? I went on to discover Cayo Luis Peña and Culebrita on a friend’s yola (fishing boat). We went snorkeling and saw beautiful coral reefs (that we did not touch, of course) incredible multicolored fish, a sea snake on the bottom (that was cool), an octopus (that was cooler), and last but certainly not the least, a Hawksbill Turtle. It sounds like a lot. “They’ll never believe me”, I thought, but that’s Culebra for you: Nature at your finger tips.
All of these experiences have brought me here today. I’ve been the camper, the New Year’s Eve traveler, even the friend staying at a friend’s house; and finally the self-proclaimed culebrense. Because even though I don’t live n the Island, I also share that common passion I recognized on that magical New Year’s Eve. A culebrense is not a person born in Culebra, “culebrense is he who loves and defends the island of Culebra.”
In this section, we'll profile the experiences of Culebra's visitors and residents. Send us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows, you may be next!
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