Friday, February 7, 2014

Tourism in Culebra, Puerto Rico

Culebra is a popular weekend tourist destination for many, including mainland Puerto Ricans, Americans as well as residents of Vieques. Because of the "arid" nature of Culebra there is no run-off from rivers or streams. This results in very clear waters around the beautiful archipelago.

Culebra has many beautiful beaches including the famous Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco). Flamenco can be reached by shuttle buses from the ferry dock. Playa Flamenco extends for a mile with white coral sand which is framed beautifully by the arid tree-covered hills. Playa Flamenco is also protected by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources as a Marine Wildlife Reserve.

The area that is west of Flamenco Beach as well as the adjacent Flamenco Point were used for joint-United States Navy/Marine Corps military exercises until 1975. Many military relics, which include a couple of tanks, still remain. Culebra and Vieques offered the U.S. military an experience of great value to the battles in the Pacific as a feasible training area for the Fleet Marine Force in amphibious exercises for beach landings and naval gunfire support testing. Culebra and Vieques were the two components of the Atlantic Fleet Weapons Range Inner Range. In recent years, only the shortened term "Inner Range" was used.

Some of the other beaches in the area are only accessible by private car or boats. Of the smaller islands, only Culebrita and Luis Peña permit visitors and can be accessible via water taxis from Culebra. Hiking as well as nature photography are encouraged on these small islands. However, activities which would disturb the nature reserves on these islands are prohibited. These include camping, littering and use of motor vehicles. Camping, however, is allowed on Playa Flamenco throughout the year. Culebra is also a popular destination for scuba divers because of the many reefs throughout the archipelago and the crystal clear waters.
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