Culebra – An island of sun, sand, sea…and turtles. Lots and lots of turtles

Located around 18 miles east of the Puerto Rican mainland, the island of Culebra is seven miles long and 3 miles wide, inhabited by almost 2,000 people. It’s often described as being sleepy, with not much going on. But that’s far from the case! If you are in Puerto Rico for any length of time you should definitely set a day aside and pay it a visit.

Here are five reasons to visit Culebra from the volunteer holiday company Original Volunteers.

Reason #1 – The turtles!

Culebra is home to hundreds of Leatherback Turtles, but they could soon become extinct. Listed as an endangered species in 1970, the island is one of the last places left on earth where they go to nest. If you’re lucky enough to see one of these fine specimens, you’ll be amazed by just how large they are. Averaging 5ft in length and weighing around 1,000lbs, nesting begins in February and continues until July – while hatching starts in April and goes through to September.

Reason #2 – The snorkeling

Culebra is also home to amazing snorkeling on the beautiful reefs off the west-side beaches of Melones and Carlos Rosario. The waters around them are protected as part of the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge – and because of the fishing ban, the underwater flora and fauna have flourished.

Reason #3 – Flamenco beach

Flamenco BeachOne of the most popular beaches on Culebra is Flamenco Beach. Nearly a mile of long white sand, the water is not only crystal clear, it’s warm and the waves are small – perfect for snorkeling. Believe it or not the Discovery Channel actually awarded Flamenco beach the “second-most beautiful beach in the world” – being pipped at the post by Poipu beach in Hawaii.

Reason #4 – The bird watching

Culebra is also home to a range of endangered and rare birds – including Laughing Gulls, Bridled Terns, Brown Noddie and three species of Boobies! According to the Culebra National Wildlife refuge, over 50,000 seabirds find their way here every year to breed – so pack your binoculars and head off to check a few of these beautiful creatures out.

Reason #5 – Check out Dewey

Although Dewey is the only town on Culebra, don’t let that put you off staying there for a while once you leave the ferry. The town itself essentially one main street, but you’ll find a wide range of gift and craft shops, cafes, pizzerias, snack shops, ice cream parlors and restaurants. After your day of fun, be sure to stop by Mamacita’s for a bite to eat.

The restaurant specializes in Caribbean food – and the crab cakes are to die for! Plus if that wasn’t a good enough reason to go, the colony of iguanas which live nearby come out and sun themselves during the day. It’s worth a trip to see those guys alone.

To sum up…

If you’re looking for crazy nightlife, golf, casinos and high-class restaurants, then Culebra is not for you. However, if you want to see the real side of Puerto Rico and beaches as nature intended, then be sure to schedule a day in your itinerary to check out Culebra – you’ll be glad you did