THE FOLLOWING JOURNAL IS TAKEN FROM MY "PUERTO RICO OVER NEW YEAR''S" ENTRY, PLEASE GO TO THAT ENTRY FOR ALL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.
We arrived in the village of Dewey, the only town on the island of Culebra, at about 4pm on the 27th. With luggage in tow, we started searching the town for our hotel. Now when I say village, I mean three streets. This is really a true Caribbean village. You can walk everywhere in the town. If your hotel is on other parts of the island, then you will want to catch a taxi (easy from the pier).
We made it to the Posada la Hamoca to find it closed (they are only open from 10-12 and 2-4), however they left our key right there on the counter with a sign that read "Room 6". . .that should tell you something about this town. . .LAID BACK! We climbed our way to the top floor (actually the second floor, but who''s counting?) and into room 6. By the way, there are actually 10 rooms in the Posada La Hamoca (see my journal "Posada La Hamoca") and it is the largest hotel on Culebra. After settling in, we decided to find our dive shop to confirm our dive excursion for the following the morning. It couldn''t be that far in this village, right?. . .it wasn''t. About 100 steps from our room we found the Culebra Dive Shop, one of the two SCUBA dive outfitters on the island. Once we confirmed our dive time for the next morning, we asked Luz (the owners wife) for some help with dinner choices. . .the choice was pretty simple due to a lack thereof--Mamasita''s or Dhingy Dock.
We arrived at Mamsita''s about 7pm, (a casual open-air, canal-side place, with a great view of open water and boats lining the dining area) which happened to be located directly adjacent to our hotel. There was a wait of about 45 minutes. The time passed very quickly with a local band playing "musica caribe" and the Medella''s (a local Puerto Rican beer) flowing freely. As a point of interest, I think that Medella is a cruel joke that the Puerto Ricans play on the gringos, since every local Puerto Rican I spotted was drinking Coors light, not once did I see any drinking Medella. Oh well, we played into their game and drank the Medella, which was actually very good tasting beer.
After a very enjoyable dinner at Mamasita''s (a moderate priced seafood dinner) we decided to head to another establishment for some "refreshments." As we walked I spotted a local man walking out of his house with a beer (yep, Coors Light) in his hand, so I asked him for directions to the closest bar. Ernest turned out to be one of the nicest men we''ve ever met. He literally walked us to a local open-air bar on the corner of two of the three streets. It wasn''t much of a party scene since they only had four stools in the entire 10 x 12 room. We just got our beers and joined Ernest on the stoop outside (see my picture below). We chatted about Culebra and learned all about Ernest''s very interesting, yet uneventful life. I longingly thought of life on this remote, yet somewhat developed, island. What it must have been like 30-40 years ago when all the island knew was themselves and the occasional wayward sailboat with a Hemingway look-a-like on board and a busty blonde in tow. Ernest owns a small guest house and the next time we go to Puerto Rico/Culebra we''ll be staying there. . .no offence to Posada La Hamoca.
Everything in Dewey closes at 10 or at the latest 11pm. Don''t expect any late night romps, this town goes to bed early. However, for romance or families this place is perfect. If your single looking for love, I''d reccommend you stay in San Juan. While "sleepy" Dewey does have several places to party, just not too late. The nights we were in Dewey we had no trouble finding a cold beer for $1-2.
The next morning we headed out for our SCUBA trip (see Culebra Dive Shop journal). This was to be our best dive ever. My wife is fairly small and sometimes needs a hand getting into all that heavy SCUBA gear and even into the water (have you ever tryed to walk with a pair of fins on and a 40 lb. tank on you back?). The crew was great. They saddled her up, leaving me free to better manage my own gear. Our underwater dive guide, Carlos, was wonderful. He pointed out all types of underwater treasures--fish, sting rays, eels, lobster, etc. The day could not have been any more enjoyable. While my wife and I enjoyed the underwater scenery, our travelmates snorkeled from adove. They are not "certified". . .sounds so official, but really it''s sometimes just as nice to snorkel as it is to dive, plus you don''t have to deal with all that heavy gear.
Upon our return to the dock and after getting cleaned up, we sought a place for a late lunch. . . this turned out to be a mistake. We thought we''d head to Gordo''s, an American burger-type place or so it said on the menu at the hotel. However, after what seemed like forever, but was really about an hour of walking, and walking, and walking, we never found the place. Now Dewey is not a big place, remember earlier I said that there was only three main streets. I was not exaggerating. However, all three form a kind of triangle and then "spoke" off in different directions across the island. At any rate, I don''t think that Gordo''s exists. We eventually walked back to our dive shop to ask for help. They suggested that we go to Batey, which was just what the doctor ordered!
About two blocks from the Culebra Dive Shop, a couple of burgers and beers later we were feeling like new people. After lunch we thought it was a good time to do some souvenir shopping. Shopping on Culebra is rather limited (like two or three stores), two additional places by the pier open when the ferry is arriving.
Culebra is one of the most unspoiled points I''ve seen in the Caribbean. There are some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in the world on this island. You will most likely have to hike a little to get to them, but with a little adventurous spirt, you will find the all the great qualities of this small charming island. If you can rent a jeep, you should. You''ll enjoy taking in all the sights that this spectacular island has to offer. While you''re there, long after sunset, take a moment to look up, enjoy the stars and take a deep breath. . .you''re on vacation. . .