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Looking for a Job in Culebra
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: Luisa (
Date:   08-18-04 16:13

Hey guys,
I visited Culebra recently and want to go back to work there - I can do anything: cleaning, cooking, bartending, etc.

I'm fluent English/Spanish (not that something like that is really needed there). Let me know if you know of any possibilities. Thanks!

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Re: Looking for a Job in Culebra
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: kingpin (
Date:   08-18-04 20:45

First off, are you SURE you want to live & work on Culebra? Not sure how long you were down there, but living can be a VERY small island. Everyone will know everything about you (and you about them) in short order. Also, while it's true that you can get by without being bilingual, keep in mind that there are two very distinct tourist seasons; winter brings people from mainland US and summer brings people from the big island of Puerto Rico, so you'll need both languages if you plan on staying a while and working in any tourism-related service (i.e., cleaning, cooking, bartending, etc.). While it's a very friendly place, cliquey divisions do exist between some of the real locals and some of the gringo crowd, so best advise is to be friendly/respectful and speak a lot of spanish - you'll make better friends that way. Also, Culebra does have it's share of social problems, and while crime isn't high on the list, you'll see a lot of alcoholism, drugs, teen pregnancy, and apathetic ex-pats. Getting beyond - or at least coming to terms - with all this is probably the biggest hurdle, and if you can do so, then it's really a beautiful place.

Work-wise, you've hit the mark on what's typically available. Lots of vacation houses there these days, and they always need care and cleaning. I'd start by getting in touch with vacationplanners inc., re: cleaning gigs. They probably won't set you up with anything until you're actually on island, but at least it's informative. Same goes for cooking/bartending - it'll be a lot easier for you to find something once you're there, you've met the right people & established some trust.

If you're interested in non-profit work (which may involve room & board on occasion), you can contact Teressa Tallevast with the Culebra US fish & wildlife division. You'll spend most of your time watching for turtles on the beaches at night, but it's rewarding.

Of course, if you really want to live life to the fullest down there, why not try doing something by and for yourself? It helps to have a roof over your head, but I've known people who have started out camping & then moved into houses on the cheap. One woman used to make and sell brightly colored fish out of driftwood and coral that she would find on the beach (corrugated tin, too, I think). Going waaaaaaay back, another guy used to bake all sorts of gourmet breads and sell them once or twice a week out of his truck downtown. Another guy tried selling donuts - which were popular among the locals - but so was his wife (ha ha) and he ended up moving her off island. Anyway, I'm sure you can think of other ideas. Always better to take an original path - you'll have way more fun.

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Re: Looking for a Job in Culebra
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: Luisa (
Date:   08-18-04 23:19

Hey Kingpin,
thank you so much for the hints. I'm Latin American, so the language/culture barrier is ok for me. As for the social problems of the island, I think having lived in New York City for 7 years has given me a thick skin for those kind of things. But as I said, thanks for the advise. I find them very helpful.
I'm not planning to settle there permanently. I just would like to spend a couple of months there and wanted to get an idea about possible job opportunities.
If anyone has any other idea/suggestion or heads ups I would appreciate them.
Thanks again!!

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Re: Looking for a Job in Culebra
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: Pietra (
Date:   08-19-04 10:08


Kingpin is right on the money with everything he said. Culebra can be an extremely rewarding place to live and work and most of the people are awesome. His cautions are not to be taken lightly though, depending on how much you choose to integrate yourself and with whome you decide to be associated-- Being Latin-American and speaking Spanish will not automatically ingratiate you to the Culebrans if they perceive you as acting American, and can also have pre-/mis-conceptions about nuyoricans and others from New York. Having lived both places myself, New York prepares you for a lot of things and gives you a tough skin, but the drugs and pregnancy but most of all the way those things are dealt with I found much more difficult to take in Culebra than in Washington Heights, where I lived in NYC, probably because you expect to see it in NYC, but in Culebra, it doesn't seem to make sense. It's hard to explain but if you get close to the Culebran community and with some of the families, it wears on you a bit more.

Another suggestion for nonprofit work or volunteering is the Asociacion Educativa, also known as el centro or el centro de marta. It's one of the few places on the island that gives services to children and families. They have a daycare during the day and sometimes do other community activities, fundraisers, etc. I worked there for a year and a half and it was one of the best experiences of my life. There always looking for help with administration and other stuff. You'll meet a much different set of people doing that than bartending or cleaning though (though kingpin is right-- everyone will know you after a couple of weeks no matter where you work).

Good luck and have fun!

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