Cayo Norte off the northeast coast of Culebra, Puerto Rico.
|Archipelago||Puerto Rico Archipielago|
|Area||1.2 km2 (0.46 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||103.6 m (339.9 ft)|
|Pop. density||0 /km2 (0 /sq mi)|
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, Puerto Rico. 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.
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.
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."
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.
- Map of "The Virgin Islands" by Thomas Jeffreys, Geographer to the King (1775) included in West India Atlas, 1780.
- Cayo Norte is recorded in the Registry of Property of Puerto Rico, Fajardo Section as property number 84, page 124 of volume 8 of Culebra, SVI Investments, Inc., P.O. Box 1353, Ceiba, PR 00735, acquired Cayo Norte as per Deed No. 8 authorized by Notary Public German R.A. Monroig Pomales on the 13th day of January 2006 and the acquisition is recorded as the 15th inscription of said property number 84 which appears at page 118 of volume 24 of Culebra
- NOAA Chart 25653
- Culebra National Wildlife Refuge
- Survey made in October 2006 by José A. Meléndez, Surveyor License No. 12278
- Flora and Fauna Study made by Biologists J.A. Toro and V.J. Rodriguez, U.S. Corps. of Engineers, Case No. SAJ-2010-01592-IP-EWG
- Notarial Archive of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, March 31, 1902, “Escritura de Cesión de Derechos”
- Tribunal de Primera Instancia, Sala de Fajardo en Humacao – Case No. HAC93-0181 Relación del Caso, Determinación de Hechos, Conclusiones de Derecho y Sentencia
- SVI Investments, Inc. acquired Cayo Norte as per Deed No. 8 authorized by Notary Public German R.A. Monroig Pomales on the 13th day of January 2006 and the acquisition is recorded as the 15th inscription of said property number 84 which appears at page 118 of volume 24 of Culebra
- FINAL Site Inspection Report, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico; prepared for U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, September 2007
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. "Critical Habitat Designations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands" (PDF). U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Critical Habitat Designations. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- U.S. Corps. of Engineers, file number SAJ-2010-01592-IP-EWG