Culebra, Puerto Rico
Culebra (koo-LAI-brah) is an island municipality located to the east of Puerto Rico and separated from the main island by the Vieques Passage. It was earlier known as San Ildefonso and as “the Passage Island.” The island is referred to as “where the sun rises on Puerto Rico”, “the little island”, “the last of the Virgins,” and “the island town”.
The patron is Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whose festival is held on July 16. Other important events include tournaments, sports events, and crafts festivals in August, September, and November. There is a small airport on the island and there are several flights and ferry trips by sea every day.
Culebra has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, some of which have coral reefs. Points of interest include a bioluminescent bay, La Pelada; a lighthouse on the smaller island of Culebrita; and the Spanish town. The Punta Molinos sector was designated as a national bird sanctuary by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909.
Income is derived from a scientific instrument factory and tourism, especially ecotourism. There is also some dairy farming and fishing. There is very little agriculture since the land is very dry.
Culebra was founded October 27, 1880 by Cayetano Escudero. The original names were “Passage Island” and “Island of San Idelfonso” in honor to bishop San ldefonso de la Culebra. Cayetano Escudero was the first delegate of Culebra designated by a governmental order from de Island of Vieques August 2, 1881.
The capital is Dewey, where most of the 1,868 inhabitants of the archipelago live. The municipality of Culebra includes the surrounding keys: Cayo Norte, Cayo Ballena, Cayos Geniqui, Culebrita, Arrecife Culebrita, Cayo de Luis Peña, Las Hermanas, EL Mono, Cayo Lobo, Cayo Lobito, Cayo Botijuela, Alcarraza, Los Gemelos and Piedra Steven.
President Theodore Roosevelt established a Naval Base June 26, 1903 and a bird refuge February 27, 1909, making it of the oldest refuges.
Since then most of the island and its 23 keys including Culebrita are protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which makes these islands one of only two sites in the U.S. for giant sea turtles to lay eggs.
The Culebra National Wildlife Refuge protects approximately 85 species of sea birds. The refuge is accessible by ferry from the east coast or by airplane from San Juan.
Culebra is located 17 miles east of Puerto Rico and 12 miles of west of Saint Thomas. The coasts are bathed by the Atlantic Ocean.
26 sq km / 10 sq mi
1,868 (census 2000)
71.8 per sq km / 186.8 per sq mi
People are known as:
Culebra is also known as:
Isla Chiquita (Little Island)
La Isla Municipio (The Municipality Island)
Última Virgen (Last Virgin)
Wards: Culebra, Puerto Rico
| Census 2000:|
Population by Wards – Culebra
|Playa Sardinas I||136|
|Playa Sardinas II||122|
Source: Censo 2000
Nuestra Señora del Carmen
Culebra, Puerto Rico 00775
Tel. (787) 742-0133
With little more than 7 miles in length and 3.5 miles wide, Culebra displays a uniform surface below the 328 feet, except for the Resaca Hill, that has a height of 623 feet and the Balcón, with 541 feet of altitude above sea level.
Tourism & fishing
$232.37 weekly (1998)
The Culebra flag consists of five vertical stripes, three alternate yellow and two green ones. The yellow central stripe has the map of Culebra in green.
Like in the Coat Of Arms, the yellow represents the flags of the Delegación de Culebra the Comité de Rescate de Culebra. The green, makes reference to the Coat Of Arms of Puerto Rico which means that Culebra is Puerto Rican territory.
Coat Of Arms:
This municipality has a somewhat complex Coat Of Arms. It is stamped by a naval crown instead of a stone crown, to emphasize its insular character.
This crown consists of sterns of two ships with their sails filled by the wind. The cross and the episcopal walking stick symbolize Bishop San ldefonso, because originally the island was called San ldefonso de la Culebra. The serpent (culebra means serpent) symbolizes its name. An armed arm from the Coat Of Arms of the Escudero family, first settlers of the island. The laurel cross refers to the civic triumph reached when Culebra obtained the evacuation of the United States Navy from the island.
- Three Kings day – January
- Mothers day – May
- Fathers day – June
- Patron Saint’s festival – July
- Veterans day – November
- Lighting of the Christmas tree – December
- New Year’s Eve – December
Places To Visit:
- La Pelá Bioluminescent Bay
- Honda Inlet
- Culebrita Lighthouse – construction was completed in 1886. Until 1975, it was the oldest lighthouse in operation in the Caribbean. In that year, the United States Navy and the Coast Guard decided to discontinue using it.
- Culebrita Island and Luis Peña Key – parct of the Culebra archipelago. In spite of their size, they include beaches, forests, lagoons, and cliffs.
- Flamenco Peninsula – an important site for dark seagulls.
- El Polvorín (Historic powderhouse) – located in San Isidro Ward, the building has a stone roof and is used was used as a warehouse for all kinds of explosives by the United States Armed Forces.
- Spanish Town – located in San Isidro Ward.
- Draw bridge
- Manglar Port
- Luis Peña Natural Reserve
- Culebra Underwater Reserve – a nature sanctuary in Luis Peña Channel it is used for studying and protecting underwater species, coral reefs, turtles, and fish. In March of 2006, the Reserve was granted the presidential distinction “Coastal America Spirit Award” for outstanding efforts in the protection, conservation, and restoration of coastal natural resources.”
- War tanks – Flamenco beachLa Pelá Bioluminescent Bay
- Luis M. Collazo – engineer and physician on this island town
- Ramón Feliciano Encarnación – mayor (1960 – 1980). A leading defender of the rights of the residents of the municipality and progress for the island.
- Claro C. Feliciano Padrón – historian and mayor of Culebra.
- Angel Luis Morales – teacher of Hispanic-American literature at the University of Puerto Rico and writer.
- Pedro Morales Rivera – world wrestling champion
- Engracia Mulero – mayor (1946 – 49)
- Aracelis Ortiz – Dentist and forensic physician.
- Erasmo Quiñonez –artisan and teacher of artisans, creating ships and canes from shark bones.
- John K. Vincent – American minister, an able sea captain, school principal, and public servant.
Public Schools sorted by educational levels.
|SAN IDELFONSO||K-3||(787) 742-3583||PO Box 848, P.R. 00775-0000|
|ANTONIO R. BARCELÓ||7-12||(787) 742-3583||PO Box 848, P.R. 00775-0000|
|LUIS MUÑOZ RIVERA||4-7||(787) 742-3583||PO Box 848, P.R. 00775-0000|
By: Edgardo Romero
Culebra Isla preciosa,
lugar donde nací,
con tus playas de arenas blancas
que el Mar Caribe baña.
Al este de Borinquen,
al norte de la Isla Nena,
se encuentra el terruño
donde mi alma sueña.
Culebrenses con amor,
pues por primera vez
en esta tierra tan bella
la luz del sol yo ví.
El sol que nos alumbra,
a todos los borincanos
y pintar de dorado
nuestros montes y llanos.
Mi isla es pequeñita,
y su gente muy sencilla
y todo el que la visite
así lo comprobará.
de todos los culebrenses
porque así se identifican.
Aunque vaya a tierras lejanas
a mi islita caribeña
donde mi vida forjé.
Presente en todo momento
aquí en mi pensamiento
Culebra islita querida,
Isla de mis ensueños.