Our last stop on the island of Puerto Rico was at the Marina Palmas Del Mar on the east coast of the island. It was another recommendation from Jose. There we met Juanjo Boschetti, another delightful Puerto Rican (of Italian descent) and also a font of local knowledge. He helped us plan our next stops in the Spanish Virgins Islands.
Vieques and Culebra form the Spanish Virgin Islands and are part of the territory of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, there had recently been a number of dinghies stolen on Vieques so Juanjo recommended we bypass it and spend our time in Culebra.
Culebra is a laid-back spot with a very protected anchorage. We enjoyed a few drinks with some of the other cruisers at the Dinghy Dock restaurant, which is right on the water. Tarpons feed at the edge of the dock, literally 6 feet from your table.
On our way out of Culebra, we set off down the narrow channel only to come face-to-face with an inbound cruise ship. The captain quickly called us on the VHF and politely asked us to move - we were already doing so at full throttle!
Overall, we really enjoyed Puerto Rico. Both of us were so impressed by all the Puerto Ricans we met, from the customs officers to the grocery store clerks. The people are just so warm, welcoming, helpful and very proud of their islands. Meeting them was truly a delightful experience.
Next stop – the British Virgin Islands!
Background: Puerto Rico was originally claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus in 1493. It was appropriated in 1898 by the United States following the Spanish–American War. It remains a territory of the United States but is still not an actual “State”. Of the 3.4 million inhabitants, those born in Puerto Rico are full US citizens.