Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Booked It: Culebra, Here I Come!

I like to do three things on vacation - (1) escape from "civilization", (2) experience nature and (3) get in shape. Number 3 may sound strange but if you see vacation as a chance for some adventure, there are activities that are so fun you hardly notice you're working out. I look forward to biking, snorkeling, kayaking and swimming as well as some well-deserved loafing about. Culebra (which means "snake" in Spanish) is located 20 miles east of Puerto Rico and 15 miles west of St. Thomas (it is part of Puerto Rico). It is about 7 miles long and 4 miles wide and has less than 2000 year round residents. It is home to one of the oldest bird sanctuaries and is a nesting site for leatherback, green sea and hawksbill sea turtles. The island has an interesting history. It was first inhabited by the Taino Indians. During Spanish colonialism, it served as a refuge for native Indians seeking to escape slavery on the main island. In the 18th century, pirates used its secluded cays as hideways. Culebra was ceded to the United States in 1898 after the Spanish-American war and used for bombing practice by the U.S. military until 1975. Today, most of the island and its surrounding 23 islets are protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a nature preserve. Flamenco Beach, pictured above, is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and the clarity of the water and reefs at another, Carlos Rosario beach, are supposed to be ideal for diving and snorkeling. I will be there for five days and four nights beginning on December 27th. I cannot wait! Now, I only have to make it through Christmas . . . .

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