Author: Matt Walters (---.law.gwu.edu)
Date: 02-02-05 14:54
I feel compelled to write on behalf of people who stayed at the HVV with me last June. I've read these "stories" but, having stayed there, I want to set the record straight.
Don't be dissuaded by the unrealistic expectations of others. The mosquito nets are fine (if not unnecessary). The place, overall, is simple but clean. There is no animal poop (mentioned on some other thread) or any other stuff in the place and the bathroom is clean. The water needs to be heated by flipping a switch in the bathroom (don't let it warm for more than 5 minutes or it will be too hot), but everything else is provided nicely. Clean sheets, pillowcases, and blankets will be provided. There may be some mosquitos (not many), a few lizards, and maybe a dog or two that belongs to the owners outside your place.
- We stayed in a two bedroom unit (the center villa). It was clean and tidy, although best described as an open cabin due to the wood interior. It has a working fridge, a useable kitchen, a table, 2 decks, etc. Overall, it is not a Hilton, but nothing to be concerned about.
- We bought an "Off" candle and used some bug spray, but found that mosquitos weren't any more of a problem then they are in Northeastern suburbs. I think the wins coming in from the ocean ad the absence of any nearby "still water" keeps them away.
- We did not see any rats at all. We did, however see several harmless
- Although we didn't meet Druso, we did meet his daughter Jennifer. She picked us up from the dock, showed us around the villa, gave us some advice on places to eat and buy food, and dropped us off at Jerry's Jeeps thereafter. She was very pleasant and hospitable.
Overall our trip was a great success. We were really relaxed and found the beaches beautiful (particularly the water at Flamanco and the privacy at Zoni). In fact, the rive to Zoni in and of itself is memorable.
As far as hot water is concerned, the water there is usually tepid, but a little chilly for a shower. There is a timer switch in the bathroom by the bathroom sink that turns the heater on while taking a shower. It is not marked and unless Jennifer remembers to tell you, you will be without hot water. I have read of people who have spent whole time there without hot water. However, don't leave it on too long (about 5 minutes should be good), because the water will be scalding hot!
The Villas themselves are clean, well-kept, and open to nature. If you go to
their website, which I included here http://www.harbourviewvillas.com/harbourview.htm that is exactly what it looks like. Except for the "fish-eye lens" on the one shot. The property is all on a hillside overlooking the town and the ferry dock and a superb view to the south east. The 3 cabins or villas are about 100-150 ft apart and totally isolated. They are fully equipped with kitchen, bath, living area, and sleeping area on top floor. We opened the doors and windows front and back and let the prevailing breezes blow through, and didn't have a single mosquito. A great experience. But if you don't want this kind of seclusion and privacy you may be disappointed. One person described it as "extreme luxury camping."
If you are looking for an all-inclusive resort, you will be disappointed with them (and the Island itself). Go into your trip with reasonable expectations... the people on Culebra live a simple life compared to your average American. Don't expect perfectly paved roads, antisceptic buildings, a wild nightlife, and people catering to your every need. Do expect stunning beaches, a friendly community, and a relaxed atmosphere. People seem to either love it or hate it. It is undeveloped and non-commercial. It appears a little shabby and run down, like a small mid western town of a couple 1000 people. There are roosters all over town and Jennifer's dogs followed is into town one day and must have spent the day lounging by the street.
Honestly, I took my girlfriend here, who has high "Boston" standards. She liked the accomodations. You will only be disappointed if you are expecting the Hilton, rather than the Culebra atmosphere. Druso may seem curt, but that's the attitude that many people on the island have. Don't look to be catered too. Culebra is a beautiful place where people accept travellers as locals and, although they do not tend to your every last need, as they do in places like Hawaii and the St. Thomas, they make you feel comfortable and provide you with everything you need for a pleasant and wonderful vacation.