Author: Alberto (---.opera-mini.net)
Date: 02-25-10 21:48
I live in Puerto Rico and I visit Culebra about once a month. Like many others on this site, I can say that I fell in love with the island a long time ago. I love Culebra for many reasons...but most important, for the feeling of "peace, the total disconnection from the stress of ordinary life, and the total connection with nature and the simplicity of "real life". I have learned to enjoy and treasure the concept of "the Culebra Pace of Life". Without it, things would run at normal speed and about 50% of the "Culebra Experience" would be spoiled.
Although I am blessed with the opportunity of visiting Culebra very frequently, once a month is sometimes just not enough. Therefore I visit this site rather frequently. Somehow reading what people post helps me get into some sort of "cyber-Culebra mood". Not exactly the same as enjoying a Medalla at Mamacitas, but better than reading work related e-mail. I have read almost every post for the past couple of years...in the process "getting to know" those of you who post very often.
Every time I visit Culebra, I stay at Costa Bonita. And I stay at Costa Bonita because I own a unit. I wish I had a nice house with a view of Culebrita (Hacienda Los SueNos would be nice), but when I decided to purchase a property in Culebra (about 2 years ago), there were not many options for under $200K. I looked all around Culebra (and Vieques) and after evaluating about 50 properties, I finally decided for an apartment in Costa Bonita. Well aware of its history, all the controversy and bad reviews, I figured it was the best I could afford. After all, what Costa Bonita had to offer didn't sound too bad: a well built concrete structure, a great view of Dakiti, an amazing infinity pool, a dock, well kept grounds, and 5 minutes from my favorite beach (Zoni).
So Jeffrey, I think I can give you a good summary of "the real story of this place". Here are the highlights:
1) It used to be a resort. About two years ago (after failure of various hotel administrators) it became a condominium. This means that all units are privately owned and Homeowners Association administers the complex. As in any private complex, every owner pays a maintenance fee which is used to maintain all common areas. There is no "rich man" running it or making money from it.
2) The pool and all grounds are well kept. The complex is in great shape and there is security at night. Since it is not a resort, there are no hotel services (such as room service, daily maid, desk service, etc).
3) There is a restaurant and bar (Michi B') that operates on the weekends. Michelle, the chef, is putting up quite a show...about the very best dining in Culebra. The Chillo a la Plancha is spectacular. She's working really hard to get the place going. I encourage you to visit her and see her in action. There are no secrets, the kitchen is completely open and you can peek and see for yourself.
4) Some owners are renting their units at very reasonable prices. With the great accommodations (rooms with a/c, kitchen and balcony with view), a restaurant, a pool, and a dock, anything under $175 per night is a bargain. Facilities at Costa Bonita only compare to Bahia Marina and Club Seaborn.
There is still some carry over effect from the controversy caused by its contsruction and the poor management from the days when it was a hotel. Most of it comes from uninformed people or from "Culebra Purists" who oppose to any type of big development in Culebra. All critics have valid points and opinions (most of which I agree) but the fact is that the place is built and its not going anywhere. It is a beautiful property with "resort type" facilities with a lot of potential "to be done right". It will never be the small, "eco-friendly" resort which everybody woulk like it to be, but is still has a lot to contribute to Culebra, its visitors, and most important, its residents. Currently there are a lot of people at Costa Bonita (some of which are Culebrenses) working very hard...not only to earn a living, but to make Costa Bonita a better place. The sad part of the story comes when people with outdated, inaccurate, and/or biased information, post negative opinions which end up hurting only the people that check-in to work everyday at Costa Bonita.
I have read about a thousand posts on this forum, never before replied to any. But I had to respond to this thread because I just can't tolerate to see people trying to destroy what others have built with hard work. It's just not fair. It's just: "MAL HECHO".
Want to know more about Costa Bonita? Ask me, I know all about the place. Have a suggestion on what can Costa Bonita do to be a better neighbor? Let me know. I can talk to the people that work there and I can also reach the Home Owners Association.