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Cayo Norte
Culebra Cayo Norte NOAA 2015.jpg
Isla Culebra barrios ES.png
Cayo Norte off the northeast coast of Culebra, Puerto Rico.
Cayo Norte is located in Puerto Rico
Cayo Norte
Cayo Norte
Location in Puerto Rico
Cayo Norte is located in Lesser Antilles
Cayo Norte
Cayo Norte
Location in Lesser Antilles
Cayo Norte is located in Caribbean
Cayo Norte
Cayo Norte
Location in Caribbean
Geography
Location Caribbean Sea
Coordinates 18°20′N 65°15′W / 18.333°N 65.250°W / 18.333; -65.250
Archipelago Puerto Rico Archipielago, Greater Antilles
Area 1.2 km2 (0.46 sq mi)
Highest elevation 103.6 m (339.9 ft)
Administration
Territory Puerto Rico
Municipality Culebra
Barrio/Ward San Isidro
Demographics
Population 0
Additional information
Time zone


Cayo Norte, formerly West Key or North East Key is the largest privately owned island in Puerto Rico and is currently the property of SVI Investments, Inc. The island is located about 0.6 nautical mile (1.0 km) northeast of Culebra Island. It lies 21 nautical miles (36 km) east of Puerto Rico and 12 nautical miles (20 km) west of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The island is part of the municipality of Culebra and therein of the barrio San Isidro. It is the only privately owned island in the Culebra archipelago, and is not part of the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge as are most of the other nearby islands and cays.

Geography

Cayo Norte is the first island to starboard when traveling through the Virgin Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. It is somewhat oval in shape, with hills gently sloping to the sandy beaches on the south coast. The north coast is a rocky cliff. The highest elevation, located in the middle of the western half of the island, is at 340 feet (104 m). Its area is about 300 acres (121 ha). The hills on the eastern half of the island are mostly covered with bushes (croton rigidus). There are wooded zones along the south coast, in the valleys and on the western slopes.

History

In 1895, during the initial Spanish colonization of Culebra Island, title to Cayo Norte was ceded to José Morales and Francisco de los Santos. In 1902 title was conveyed to Leopoldo Padrón. Majority ownership of Cayo Norte stayed in the Padrón family until 2004. In 2006 100% ownership was acquired by SVI Investments, Inc., a family corporation, for use as a private retreat. Cayo Norte is the only island in the Culebra archipelago that was not subject to bombardment by the U.S. Navy. A study made for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2007 states that "Impact of Cayo Norte was planned [in 1924] but that difficulties clearing people and cows from the island kept it from being used for an impact area. No UXO has been identified on Cayo Norte."

Wildlife

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified a beach on the southcoast of Cayo Norte as a critical habitat for two species of endangered sea turtles, the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). There are no listed endangered species of fauna or flora in upland Cayo Norte.

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