Traveling to Culebra requires at least a small sense of adventure, because you can only get there via tiny, nine-seater plane, or a cheap but bumpy hour-and-a-half-long ferry ride.
We flew into San Juan, took an hour-long taxi ride to the coastal town of Fajardo and caught the boat to Culebra for $2.50 - a long day of travel, but well worth the push.
Once you arrive, you're automatically part of an exclusive group - people who all ventured boldly off the beaten path to escape a little further into the sea.
There, along the narrow, winding streets lined with cheerfully colored homes, tourists mingle with locals, backpackers consort with gringo ex-pats and neighborhood children wait in line for ice cream beside retired couples who have made this spot a regular winter getaway.
For the time being, no matter what brought you to the island in the first place, you are part of a community - temporary though it may be. You will see the same people over and over again, each time with a little more sun in their cheeks and one more tip or story to share from their growing collection.
My favorite everyday encounter was exchanging smiles with an older Puerto Rican man who sat on his front porch doing word searches all day. He was always there, hunting his letters and nodding warmly at passersby.
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