Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Exploration Continues

Authentic culture, friendly people and fresh food is what you will find in Culebra, Puerto Rico.  An island with these sought after beaches and culture would seem to be a tourist trap, however the balance between commercialism and reality is wonderful.  
When approaching Culebra I reached out to a Facebook group called "Culebra Cruisers" for insight on the "don't miss" spots.  With such little time we find it very helpful to locate resources that will provide us with information that is most applicable to our travel style.  Connecting with cruisers we are able to receive this important advice such as where to dock our dinghy, where the best anchorages are, and where our dogs are welcome to accompany us.  
When reading our cruising guide we learned about a restaurant called "The Dinghy Dock Restaurant".  With a bunch of cruisers backing the info, we found that it was the best place to dock our dinghy.  As we docked and walked through the restaurant and up to the street we started to get acquainted with the island and what was available.  We saw quite a few Jeeps and golf carts cruising around and learned that there are two places that rent them.  We called up a place called "Jerry's Jeep Rentals" and booked a reservation for a golf cart to cruise the island.  This was the best decision!   We had so much fun driving around exploring.  We drove around with no location in mind, just taking in the views and all there was to experience. 
Some of our favorite places were the two beaches we visited (Tamarindo and Flamenco Beach), the community library and downtown Culebra. 
Flamenco Beach is a very popular beach.  The community has created a camp ground there with vendors and facilities.  Jake and his dad were adamant that we visit Flamenco.  They had taken a dive boat to Culebra in the past and found the World War II tanks on shore fascinating.  There is an endless amount of history on this island, it is amazing.  
 Tamarindo Beach was a much smaller beach with gorgeous snorkeling reefs.  After some beach time we ventured through the main town.  We visited art shops, restaurants, and a fresh food market.  The art was unique, the recommendations for restaurants were delicious and the fresh food market had the sweetest pineapple and mangoes we have ever tasted.  We were captivated by the small town feeling and simple lives that the people from Culebra live.  A simple life is what we prefer and this is the reason we live and travel the way we do. 
One of my favorite places was the Community library and Cinemas.  Jake had read somewhere that the library in Culebra was one of a kind and interesting to see.  We sought it out and loved the experience.  The building is built using shipping containers, one side is the library with computers and books in both English and Spanish.  The second half of the building is a cinema.  They show a movie every Tuesday and Friday evening.  The library had books for sale that allowed you to choose the price, and they considered it a donation to fund the facility.  It was awesome to find a book I had been looking for and also be able to contribute to a great cause.  
Culebra was breathtaking, unique and an experience we will never forget.  

 Sailing to Culebra

Dinghy Dock Restaurant

The golf cart we rented and some of the places we saw.

A property growing fresh food.

The Museum wasn't open the days were were there but looked interesting.

They have one school and it is an Ecological School teaching the local children to be conscience of their environment.

Zaco's Tacos, a restaurant recommended which was delicious.

Visiting the beaches 

While walking through the long stretch of sargassum most would be frustrated by its presence.  Instead, Jake told me about the American Marine Biologist and Explorer Silvia Earle who as a child used to search the sargassum at beaches for hours to find all the critters that lived there.  I love Jake's love for nature and sense of exploration it is very similar to Silvia's. 

Foot Rinse

Fresh food market

Things you will see around the town.

If you look close you can see the dog laying on the sidewalk as well as the dog painted into the wall.

A sculpture made from wood by a famous Puerto Rican artist.

This man is the reason why Culebra is the way it is today.

The delicious pineapple from the market.

Leaving Culebra