After a few days in Vieques, we sail 9 miles north to Culebra, Snake Island. Once a refuge for pirates the archipelago comprising one big island and 23 smaller ones is now part of Puerto Rico and the Spanish Virgin Islands.
We anchor on the west side of Culebra and walk across a little hill to Flamenco beach ranked #2 in the top 10 most exotic beaches in the world (I don’t know who ranked it; the beach is nice but nothing too special and there are way too many people making it not so exotic for our taste).
As we walk towards the west end of the beach which looks more secluded, we encounter the most peculiar object. A rusty old tank all covered with graffiti. Beautiful!
Looks like the U.S. Navy was here too! The entire archipelago was used as a gunnery and bombing practice site since the beginning of the Second World War until 1971 when the people of Culebra begun protesting the Navy’s bombing activities and in 1975 all operations were moved to Vieques. This explains the bombs in the water around Vieques and the tank on the beach in Culebra. But, if the bombs in the water are not yet a popular snorkeling destination, the tank on the beach is a local attraction, a work of art to my view.
East of Culebra lies a tiny island populated by hermit crabs and wild goats, Culebrita, Little Snake Island, where we spend a few more days swimming, snorkeling, and hiking in the hills.
On its north side is the most beautiful lagoon we have seen in Puerto Rico, with fine white sandy beach and palm trees, and if you walk or kayak to the east corner you will discover a few small natural pools formed among black volcanic rocks.
The only way to visit this place is by boat and, except on weekends when locals and tourists invade it, the anchorage is so peaceful and serene.
An abandoned lonely lighthouse stands on top of Culebrita, a pleasant walk away from the beach.
Built between 1882 and 1886, it was the oldest operating lighthouse in the Caribbean until 1975, when it was finally closed down.
Spiral steps rusting away, red bricks crumbling down, paint peeling off, today it is a beautiful old ruin still standing on its hill watching the sea and the boats sailing back and forth.
– Good by old lighthouse.
– Good by Fata Morgana.Share