Culebra is known to those who cherish it as "the Spanish Virgin Island". It is a tiny unspoiled treasure of the Caribbean located 15 miles off the northeast coastal town of Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Officially, Culebra is part of Puerto Rico, so visitors are within a commonwealth of the United States. Passports are unnecessary and the currency is U.S. dollars. There are approximately 2,500 residents and most will return a smile or hola. The official language is Spanish though a majority of the people speak English. Culebra caters to eco-tourism providing great opportunities for turtle watching, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, flats and off shore fishing, sea kayaking, bird watching, and hiking. You won't find any major hotels, casinos, fast- food chains or night clubs. What you will find are some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. The coral formations around the pristine shoreline and the surrounding Cays make up an underwater forest of uncompromising beauty and adventure. Culebra includes the island of Culebra and many smaller offshore islands. Culebra is largely undeveloped with approximately one third of its 7,000 acres designated as wildlife reserves.
Unlike many Carribean islands that have over developed in the past 20 years, Culebra has maintained its rural dignity. Indeed there are few places left that can offer the pristine beaches, diving, snorkeling, fishing, and naturalist opportunities such as turtle watching and bird watching. This is an island that has not caught up to the stress, pressures, marketing, materialism, and crime of modern day.
Culebra is divided into six barrios, or districts including Flamenco, Fraile, San Isidro, Playa Sardinas I and II, and Culebra proper. These sectors are further subdivided into neighbors and developments such as North View Estates, Southeast Harbor Estates, Zoni Estates, Punto del Vientos, Fulladosa, Clark, Muneco, etc.
The island of Culebra presents some fantastic opportunities for your dream house in the Caribbean and the realization of growth on your investment. Culebra was zoned in 1974 and is divided into various land zoning requirements for agricultural (R0) and residential-only (R1) construction. Over 60% of Culebra is zoned R0-25 (25 cuerdas per house), and much of the island is zoned R0-5 5 cuerdas per house). The east half of Culebra is the most popular for property purchases and new construction. This half of the island is zoned in one, five, and 25 cuerda sections. A cuerda is .971 of a acre. It is not possible to subdivide these parcels. This helps to maintain a distinctive consistency to the value of your property, while maintaining the ecology and environment of the island where deer and ospreys cohabitate with us. Most of the available properties are located within a development that has restricted covenants that assure quality residential building and prohibit commercial influences.
Residential-Commercial Real Estate:
The legitimate Residential-Commercial (RC1) market on Culebra is extremely limited. Legitimate refers to titled land and appropriate construction. A prospective buyer must realize the zoning on Culebra has severely limited the available land use for housing and commercialization. This same high quality zoning however is what has kept Culebra from being overbuilt and commercialized like so many other Caribbean islands.
Beachfront property is protected from development and practically non-existent. Beaches in Culebra are all public beaches (PP) and mangroves (B2) are federally protected. There are four expansive ocean beaches on Culebra. They are Flamenco, Resaca, Brava, and Zoni. Each beach is a mile long, pure sand, and incredibly beautiful. There are two factors that have preserved the pristine beauty of Culebra. They are the zoning regulations as mentioned above and the Leatherback Sea Turtles. The Leatherbacks have used these main ocean beaches of Culebra as their nesting grounds for thousands of years. Because they are on the endanger species list this has stopped the development of beachfront properties from occurring on these beaches. It is what keeps Culebra very special.
Property taxes are very affordable on Culebra and in Puerto Rico. A home with a resale value of one million dollars would have property taxes of approximately $2,500/year.
Builders and Contractors:
There are several reputable builders on Culebra. The building costs of course vary with the type of construction and finishing. One of the biggest improvements to the cost and alternatives to building has been the establishment of Home Depot in Puerto Rico. Another alternative construction gaining popularity are precast homes (www.ecoprecastpr.com).