The Spanish Virgin Islands are the real "Nature's Little Secret" but easy accessible on a crewed yacht charter one way from St. Thomas to Puerto Rico, all American soil, no hassle with customs or immigration.
If you want to experience a Caribbean sailing vacation off the beaten tracks, this is the perfect choice for you. The Spanish Virgin Islands are Vieques, Culebra, Culebrita, Cayo Louis Pena, Palominos and several uninhabited small islands. The mixture of Caribbean flair and Spanish culture creates a unique exotic ambience.
The anchorages are quiet, except at the weekends when the locals enjoy their islands with their boats themselves, the fishing and snorkeling is excellent. In the winter time the seas in the passages maybe rough and the numerous reefs in the middle of the ocean require a more experienced captain then the rest of the Virgin Islands.
The island of Culebra: Located about nineteen miles east of Puerto Rico and eight miles north of Vieques, Culebra is the smallest of the inhabited Spanish Virgin Islands. She is seven miles long and 3 miles wide. Culebra is an arid island, having no rivers or streams. She gets her water from Puerto Rico via Vieques. Because of the lack of run-off from streams and rivers, Culebra boasts crystal clear waters with sixty feet of visibility on a bad day.
Culebra is an island municipality under the domain of Puerto Rico, which has been under the protection of the United States, since its annexation from Spain in 1898. In 1909 the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge was established. The refuge takes in over one thousand four hundred acres of land and is well known both as a nesting area for numerous seabirds, as well as the endangered leatherback turtle and Culebra giant anole. Culebra has by about three thousand residents.
The quiet, unspoiled island has little to offer in nightlife, except for a quiet, safe walk in the moonlight or the occasional sound of guitar music from one of her few night spots. The island has little crime and very little to do, but relax at the beach or your favorite watering hole. The snorkeling and scuba diving around Culebra are outstanding. Hard and soft corals abound in the shallows and magnificent reefs encircle the island. Tropical fish and other sea life abound. The depths rarely exceed one hundred feet.
The U.S. Navy left Vieques on May 1, 2003. The land they left behind was turned over to the U.S. Interior Department, and it is now managed under the direction of the US Fish and Wildlife Service as the largest Wildlife Refuge in the Caribbean.
The Island is about 21 miles long and 5 miles across. It the eastern most island of the Puerto Rican Archipelago, sometimes referred to as the Spanish Virgin Islands. Since the US Navy left the island in 2003, 60+% of the island has become the largest Wildlife Sanctuary in the Caribbean under the protection of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
The Sanctuary lands are open from Dawn till Dusk, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean are on this property.
The population of Vieques is about 9,400 and is an island-municipality of Puerto Rico, which is a Commonwealth- as an Associated Free State. It is a democracy, which governs itself subject to the Constitution of the United States.
The climate in Vieques is sub-tropical and during most of the year it is blessed with the trade winds from the east, which helps keep the humidity low even during the summer months, when it is actually preferable here than in most areas of the United States. The most humid months are in mid-Sept. to mid-Nov., which are called the "doldrums". August through mid-October are the most active hurricane months in the Caribbean.
During the winter months there is very little rain, and the water takes on the azure blue color, which people equate with the Caribbean.