Welcome to GotoCulebra.com!

Welcome to the GoToCulebra.com Island Blog! We hope you find our site and our blog useful in your travels throughout this Puerto Rican Paradise! Over the next few weeks we will be re-developing our site. Our end goal is to provide you with a resource for all your needs during your stay on Culebra Island! We appreciate your patience throughout this process. We cannot wait to start sharing all of the secret gems of Culebra with you! :-)

Images Without Borders for Haiti

Project to sell limited edition prints by world class photographers to
benefit Doctors without Borders. Photographers have
donated images to benefit Doctors without Borders relief efforts in
Haiti. Today we have over 85 photographers committed to working with
the project. At this time there is no overhead other than the ba…sic
cost of printing. Project began because of concerns in organizing
artists through legitimate and trustworthy organizations.

Images Without Borders

More bad news for Culebra’s few remaining Leatherback Sea Turtle populations

More horrible news for Culebra’s (and the world’s!) Leatherback turtles…..thanks to our friends at CORALations.org for sharing the article with us. The Government of Puerto Rico just doesn’t seem to understand how destructive this is for not only the Leatherback’s in Puerto Rico and Culebra’s waters, but worldwide….so incredibly sad, on so many levels.

Appellate decision could open NEC to construction

Leatherback Turtle Hatchlings

Leatherback Turtle Hatchlings

January 20, 2010
by Xavira Neggers Crescioni

The Appellate Court has dismissed a lawsuit the developers of Dos Mares Resort filed against the commonwealth after then-Gov. Acevedo Vilá issued an executive order in 2007 setting aside 3,107 acres of pristine coastline and adjacent wetlands in Río Grande and Luquillo for conservation.

In its suit, the company claimed the creation of the Northeastern Ecological Corridor deprived them of the right to enjoy their property without due process of law. For years, Dos Mares has been attempting to build 3,000 housing units, a 400-room hotel, and an 18-hole golf course on some 400 acres inside the NEC.

The Appellate Court used the lands’ current legal limbo to dismiss the developer’s suit, saying in its decision Jan. 15: “Since executive orders OE-2007-37 and OE-2008-22 have been nullified by executive order OE-2009-42, the restrictions placed on the development of the lands immediately disappeared turning the pre-existing controversy into an academic matter. There is no other course of action but to dismiss the suit since it has become academic.”

Under OE-2009-42 last Oct. 30, Gov. Fortuño rescinded the order creating the NEC saying it contained legal gaps that needed to be resolved. The governor said his executive order called for a smaller nature reserve, with the difference being plans to use lands close to PR-3 to develop a highway.

At the time, Natural and Environmental Resources Secretary Daniel Pagán and Planning Board President Héctor Morales Vargas justified nixing the NEC as a nature reserve saying legal changes were needed because the reserve was approved without public hearings or a management plan for the area and land owners were not informed of the change in zoning.

The Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. owns more than half of these lands, while 1,262 acres are privately owned.

Development unclear

Whether or not Dos Mares is free to begin construction of a mega-tourism complex inside the NEC remains unclear under the Appellate Court’s decision, because Fortuño’s executive order places a moratorium on all development until the Planning Board officially designates the new Northeastern Ecological Corridor, Planning Board spokesman Tulio Endi Gómez said Tuesday.

This week, the Planning Board expects to receive a report from the DNER as to which lands are environmentally sensitive and which can be zoned for other limited uses, such as ecotourism, he said.

Once the agency receives this information it will issue a land-use plan for the area and plans to hold public hearings in mid-February. Once the public hearings are over, the agency will issue its final land-use plan for the site by March 31 and officially designate the lands that will make up the NEC, Endi Gómez said.

He said the new NEC will protect river basins and coral reefs.

While Fortuño and other officials have said that limited tourism projects could be considered for the area, what in fact is in the pipeline are mammoth, luxury residential projects, Luis Jorge Herrera, from the Initiative for Sustainable Development and the Coalition for the NEC, has said.

Besides Dos Mares, other mammoth projects in the works include San Miguel Resort, which calls for 1,025 residences, a 250-room hotel with casino, 175 time-share units, and 18-hole and nine-hole golf courses.
As plans now stand, a 229,092 square-foot shopping center called Playa Azul Center is also in the pipeline for the NEC, Herrera said.

This is yet another chapter in the longstanding struggle over how much development to allow on the 3,107 acres that are the third most important leatherback turtle nesting site in the U.S.

The matter has been under discussion for more than 30 years: Gov. Rafael Hernández Colón first toyed with the idea of conserving the site, but declined to do so. Former Gov. Pedro Rosselló, with Fortuño then as Tourism Secretary, then designated the lands as a hub for tourism development and subsequently Gov. Sila María Calderón granted the long-term lease contract of Pridco lands to Dos Mares, which was nixed when Acevedo Vilá designated the area as a nature reserve.

Prior to running for governor, Fortuño opposed establishing the NEC, and denied his previous opposition to the nature reserve during one of the gubernatorial debates. Fortuño revised his stance on the NEC during his run for governor based on the widespread international and local support for conserving the entire area.


Culebra’s Earth is Weeping

Culebra has been assaulted by developers coming from every corner. Our earth is weeping and crying for mercy, and I wonder when Culebra’s people will realize that there will be nothing left, very soon. This is yesterday and today’s project behind Genesis.

Culebra Hill Development

Culebra Hill Clear Cutting

Culebra Hill Development

Culebra Hill That Used to be beautiful

Culebra Hill Development

Culebra Hill That is Just Dirt

Culebra National Wildlife Refuge


Culebra National Wildlife Refuge

Culebra is host to the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Comprising almost 1,500 acres, including many cays and outlying rocks, the Refuge is home to many seabirds and endangered species.

From May to September, nesting colonies of many different species of terns, boobys, gulls and tropic birds can be found on Culebra and it’s surrounding cays.

Culebra is known for it’s wonderful birding, and many reknowned ornithologists have done research in the Refuge. Culebra serves as nesting areas of several endangered turtle species.

Mount Resaca preserves a large area of dry subtropical forest and is home to many orchids and bromeliads along with diverse bird and reptile species. The Culebra giant anole, in the lizard family, is believed to survive in this area.

Culebra’s mangroves form a unique protective barrier and habitat for the island and is vital for coastal wildlife. Small fish and crustaceans thrive in the extensive mangroves which attract larger species of fish and birds to feed off the rich waters. The endangered brown pelican can be found living in the mangroves as do varied marine life and their nurseries. Ensenada Honda and the surrounding waters have phosphorescent qualities (best seen on moonless nights) partly because of the mangroves serving as a filter and buffer from runoff sediments from land deforestation and development.

All visitors to the Refuge should first check on current access regulations and any special permitting required at the Culebra Refuge office located at Lower Camp on the far side of the bay.

Much of Flamenco Peninsula and several other areas were sites of extensive bombing by the US military, and unexploded ordinance are present. Please pay attention to signage, stay out of prohibited areas, and stay on existing roads and trails.

Please do not touch coral at any time as reefs are extreamely fragile ecosystems and take hundreds of years for regrowth, and coral collecting, dead or alive is strictly prohibited. Littering and fires are prohibited at any time, and to protect wildlife, no domestic animals may be brought onto refuge lands.

Culebra, refugio nacional de vida silvestre

Culebra, anfitrión del refugio nacional de vida silvestre el cual es administrado por el servicio de pesca y vida silvestre de los Estados Unidos .

Comprometiendo 1,500 cuerdas de terreno que incluye cayos y rocas, este refugio alberga muchas aves marinas y otras especies en peligro de extinción. Desde mayo hasta diciembre anidan muchas especies de aves como las palometas, bubies, gaviotas y otras aves que se encuentran en la isla y sus alrededores. Culebra es conocido por sus aves y muchos ornitólogos han hecho sus investigaciones en nuestro refugio. Culebra también es el hogar de muchas tortugas en peligro de extinción.

El Monte Resaca tiene un área extensa de bosque árido que alberga diversas orquídeas y bromelias, ádemas, es el hogar de muchas aves y réptiles. El lagartijo gigante de Culebra también vive en esa área.

Los manglares forman una barrera que proteje la isla, y a su vez, un habitat perfecto para la vida marina. Peces y aves se alimentan de las riquezas que estas aguas le ofrecen. El pelicano marrón, otra especie en peligro de extinción tam-bién vive en los manglares.

Ensenada Honda y sus aguas circundantes tienen la cualidad de ser fosforescente (en las noches sin luna se aprecia mejor la luminicencia). Todos los que nos visiten deben verificar antes las regulaciones sobre los accesos y si necesita algún permiso especial. Para información favor de llamar al (787) 742-0115.

El barrio Flamenco y muchas otras áreas fueron bombardeadas por la milicia de los Estados Unidos y todavía se encuentran artefactos explosivos. Por favor sea cauteloso cuando los vea, y manténgase fuera de áreas prohibidas.

Por favor no toque los corales en ningún momento pues son extremadamente frágiles y tardan cientos de años en crecer. Esta prohibido por ley. Tirar basura y las fogatas también son prohibidas. No se permiten mascotas dentro del área de refugio bajo ningun concepto, así protejemos nuestra vida silvestre.