Author: Teresa (66.50.189.---)
Date: 11-21-05 05:36
Hi Valery. The only place in Culebra where you can camp is Flamenco Campground. Please call them at 787-742-0700 to make a reservation. Unfortunately it is not OK to just land and camp anywhere anymore because of problems that occurred with camping by other people. If one party is allowed to camp in places other than designated camping sites, then we have to let everyone camp in those places too. The offshore keys are part of Culebra National Wildlife Refuge and the two keys open to the public are Luis Pena and Culebrita, but camping is not one of the public uses there. You can enjoy the beaches on those two islands during the day sunrise to sunset but please do not camp. They are closed at night. Hawksbill sea turtle nests are on many beaches both on and off the Refuge, even on coral beaches and in maritime forests, and the nests are not marked. A tent or other thing set up on top of a nest can destroy the contents. So please stay on public use beaches, camp only at Flamenco Campground, and do not hike around on rocky points, etc. on Culebrita and Luis Pena. The non-beach areas of those two islands are not safe and are not open to the public. Also migratory seabirds nest on some of the closed offshore cays and rocky points of Culebrita, Luis Pena, and the other offshore keys, and can lose their nest because of people that walk around the site. All other areas of the Refuge are not open because of the presence of unexploded military ordnance remaining from past military bombing exercises. The shoreline and interior lands of pristine looking areas have not been cleaned of the bombs. The entire shoreline of the Flamenco Peninsula is closed because of the presence of bombs and most of the offshore keys were bombing targets.
No campfires are permitted anywhere in Culebra other than the campground and they can tell you what their requirements are. The Caribbean is not fire adapted and fires can wipe out entire areas. Many kinds of trees and shrubs won't grow back.
As far as your landing sites on offshore cays Luis Pena and Culebrita, remember to land only on the sand beaches. When you arrive in Culebra, check on the current conditions to know if there are any predominate sea swells that could make landing on certain areas difficult or dangerous. The kayak renters should know and also feel free to give us a call at 787-742-0115. We will do our best to answer all of your questions.
Also please know that the canal between Luis Pena and Tamarindo and also the Carlos Rosario and west Peninsula Flamenco area is a no-take fishing reserve. You can get a temporary fishing license from PR Department of Natural and Environmental Resources to fish in other areas (this includes shoreline fishing). PRDNER is enforcing the license requirement now. Their number is 787-742-0700.
After saying all of these "don't do this" things, please know that the area is still beautiful because it is managed as such, and you will love the beaches here. There are plenty of places to hike that you can enjoy and not get into trouble while doing so.
Culebra National Wildlife Refuge