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Six Reasons Not to Visit Culebra

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I know, I know. It's a bit strange for me to give you reasons not to visit Culebra; it's an odd angle for someone who is trying to promote tourism to the island. But after giving you eight reasons to absolutely, positively go Puerto Rico's rustic and removed jewel in the Caribbean, I realized that, to enjoy Culebra, you should know what you're getting into.

And I have a feeling that even Culebrenses would nod approvingly at this list, because this island is unlike your typical Puerto Rican holiday experience.

1. To gamble

Photo © Zain Deane

If you've heard about all the excellent casinos in Puerto Rico, don't come looking for them in Culebra; you won't find any. Not a slot machine in sight, and no plans to add one (that I know of).

A Culebra alternative: Feel like taking risks? I've got a gamble for you: see if you can make it down to Brava Beach, or even more challenging, Resaca Beach. It's not the easiest of tasks, but the reward might feel better than a full house.

2. To book an all-inclusive luxury resort

They tried to build a fancy, high-end resort hotel in Culebra, and it didn't work. failed. In fact, you can still see what's become of the project, which is now marketing itself as high-end rentals. This island simply doesn't have the infrastructure for a mega-resort. The zoning laws make it hard, if not impossible, to build one, and most Culebrenses have no interest in one.

A Culebra alternative: There's good news for those seeking a luxury experience here. Club Seabourne, the island's best hotel, has just undergone a major renovation, and is now better than ever. 

3. To play a round of golf

This one should be fairly obvious for anyone who knows the island. It's way too small for a golf course. There's not even a putting green. But then again, a tourist getting off the plane in Culebra with a bag of golf clubs would be similar to a tourist getting off the plane in Culebra with a snowboard.

A Culebra alternative: Why spend so much time on land when the island has such a wondrous kingdom in the water? Try snorkeling or scuba diving, and see what you'll discover. 

4. To go shopping

This is no knock on the smattering of shops located in Dewey (mostly gift shops and places to buy beach accessories, curios and home decor items). There are even a couple of kiosks just outside Flamenco Beach that will sell you what you anything you need to enjoy a day on the beach. But if you came here for the shopping experience, you'll hate it. And anyway, why come here when you can go to the largest mall in the Caribbean?

A Culebra alternative: It's no mall, but the Island Woman is without a doubt the most iconic place to shop on the island. If you don't go for the sauces, gifts and other novelty items, go for the photo op.

5. For historic sightseeing

Puerto Rico has excellent museums; truly, its arts and culture scene is, in my opinion, vastly underrated. But Culebra? Culebra has one museum, housed in an old munitions storage facility.

And actually, it makes for a worthy stop while you're here. From naval ammunition shells found scattered around the island, to an indian canoe (not local), to archives and stories, there are worthy artifacts in this small space. Just don't expect the Museo de Arte de San Juan.

A Culebra alternative: Beyond the museum, a can't-miss bit of history is found at Flamenco Beach. Just walk along the western shore until you get to a brightly painted tank, symbol of the naval occupation of the island.

6. For the raging nightlife

Considering that Dewey (the island's only town) is asleep by midnight, you can imagine what your clubbing opportunities are in Culebra. There are places to hang out, of course. But there are no fancy nightclubs, and DJs don't go out of their way to come here, unless they're trying to get away from the raging nightlife.

A Culebra alternative: My favorite place to relax at night in Culebra is Mamacita's, a fun destination for dinner and drinks. 

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