Puerto Rico 2018 Caribbean Travel
San. Juan has no shortage plazas. In its historic, district, such. As buzzard days on los in front of City Hall. This. Plaza features. Two statues, of a land supporting. A flag which. Is an image taken from the city's coat of arms the original, version of the coat of arms given, by the king of Spanish. The. Totem pole was designed by a Puerto Rican artist and is, made from clays from across the Americas. La. Vieja is a, statute. Consisting, of three figures. Masterfully. Intertwined. Instruction. At, plaza, san, juan bautista, you. Will find the coats of arms for the major municipalities, of. Porto rico, and. Of, course its statue of, saint john the baptizer. All. Across. The street from the Capitol. The. Plaza also, has a stairs that leads to a small Beach. Pelicans. Are. A common, sight near the Capitol, and throughout, Old San Juan. Under. Spanish rule San. Juan was filled with merchants, trading goods from the new world they. Built homes to reflect their new wealth the. City is well known for its colorful Spanish, colonial, architecture and. You can easily spend a day photo-shooting. The streets capes. Spain. Had vast territories. In. Its Viceroyalty. Of New Spain in, the Americas. Berto. Rica was the closest, major island, to Europe in Spain's possession. All. The, European, powers wanted. Spain. Would invest heavily in fortifying. San Juan strategic. Location, with. Its ideal. We. Will be exploring, the two forts, that Spain bill, castillo. Del Moro and Castilla. De la perla which. Is more commonly known as San Cristobal. Upon. Entering, the main courtyard of San Cristobal, you. Cannot help but notice the three flags that fly above, the. Flags of America, and Puerto, Rico are well known but. The third flag is the burgundy cross it. Flies above this fort as a reminder, of the silence long history, under Spanish rule. The. For large barracks, located, off the main plaza were constructed, in 1771. And consist, of two floors. Looking. Inside the vaulted rooms of the fort one. Imagines, what it would have been like to live, and. Try to sleep as a soldier stationed. One. Way to get to the upper level, is by, using a circular staircase. On the south side of the fort this. Takes you to the highest part of San Cristobal, and was known as the Cavalier, of San Miguel. And we were surprised, to find so, few tourists. Before, it. Was convenient, for getting good pictures without, needing, to wait. The, San Juan Sun is hot and the. Constant, wind from the Atlantic, provides a little help but.
Make Sure to, bring your water bottle, and, your. Sons. The. Cavalier, served as an observation deck, and gave, excellent, views in all directions. Pinning. Over the 18, sometimes, 25, feet thick walls you. Get a good view of the Capitol building and, is laverda to East, Greater. San Juan is in the distance, and the. Cruise ship and ferry, terminals. Are, located. In the Bay of San Juan to the south. The. Courtyard, below is massive, and one. Must imagine what, it would look like filled, with soldiers, performing, their drills. Looking. At all this surface, area you also have, to wonder where, would all the rain go, will. They collected, underneath the fort and sisters, the. Entire fort, has evidence, of its design to transport. Water from higher levels down, to the next until, it's finally, collected. This. Is a good use of runoff, water, since. There is no nearby river. Looking. West from the cavalier, you. Get a sweeping, view of the community, La Perla and. Of. The lighthouse at, San, Felipe, del Morro in, the distance, our. Tillery. Tracks sit, next to this not, to architectural. II pleasing, World War two lookout, tower. However. Once. Inside. Its. Efficient. Slot, window, design makes. It easy to see how a soldier could view the eastern, coastline. The. Vast expanse. Of the Atlantic, Ocean in the middle. And. The. Coastline to the west. All. Through. One, unobstructed. Window. Spanish. Caritas. Century. Boxes, that, punctuate, the walls of Old San Juan, while. Charming, to view from the outside don't. Provide, that functional. Level of visibility from. Within. When. Traveling, from leveled the level he will frequently find tunnels, with ramps. This. Made it much easier to move artillery, carts from one level to another, well. Maybe. Not much easy. It. Was still done by human, labour beasts. Of burden were, not permitted in the fort, why. You may wonder well. Remember. How they collected, their drinking water. The. Mortar balls placed. Here, in pyramid. Form for display, were. Excavated. From the grounds, around San, Cristobal. These. Balls are hollow to. Allow them to be filled with explosive. Powder so. That they could explode, over the enemy or, on impact. From. Here we continue on to our next fortress, San, Felipe, del Morro. Upon. Entering, El Morro we. See a similar, the smaller, courtyard. And again. We. See representations. Of what living quarters, might have looked like for Spanish soldiers. We. Also see, more artillery tracks, where, we can imagine cannons being swung around to fire on enemy ships. El. Morro fort has, seen its share of action in. 1595. Sir francis drake failed, in his attempt to attack el morro the. Gunners of el morro thwarted, drake with their cannons, and the use of a metal chain stretching. Across the entrance to the bank. This. Moorish, inspired, lighthouse, was built in 1908, and replaced. An earlier lighthouse, which developed, structural, problems. Although. Seeing a few more tourists, than we found that San Cristobal. There. Were no crowds. We, were frequently, the only people, in the section, and getting. Good, unobstructed. Shots. Was, easy. In. 1598. The. Duke of Cumberland, overtook, El Morro by land and, occupied. The fort for six months. Illness. And dysentery, forced, the Duke to give up the El Morro and, the. Fort returned to Spanish control, however. This. Prompted, Spain to build San Cristobal, to defend the city from the ease. When. It was first constructed in, 1539. Amaro, was just a tower, the. Expansive. Fortress, that we see today was. Modified, several times but. It largely reflects, the design in Spanish military, fortifications. Of the latter 16th century. Later. Attacks, from the Dutch in the British proved. Largely unsuccessful. Because. Of the extensive fortifications. Of San Juan. The, fort is constructed. With six major levels, and it, is impressive to go down view, and, be able to look up at the massive, walls at the levels above me then. Turn around and, look. Over the wall to. The level still below you. Outside. The walls is a path that extends, around the fort on two sides and we. Will travel that path, next. The. Passio del moro trail, follows. Masonary, defensive, walls that. Once surrounded the, entire city of old San Juan, the. Construction, of these walls began, in 1630. And were. Completed, around, 1678. While. Walking along the trail, evidence. Of the maintenance performed on the walls of the city by the Park Service, is apparent. The. Passio del Maura once served as the maintenance road for. The West section, of the city walls but. In, 2001. It was designated as, a national. Recreational. Trail. Placards. Like this one, explain. The importance, of the wall and its gate back. In the day when the gate served as the main entrance, to the city.
Next. To the gate you can see the blue-and-white crenelated, mansion, home. Of, the governors of Puerto Rico. While, walking along, the bottom of these massive, stone walls you. Can enjoy views across the bay and breezes. From, the Atlantic, Ocean. All. Of this helps to provide a historical, experience. Unlike. Any other. In. The distance. You. Can see the famous bacardi. Rum distillery. The. Trail skirts, the city wall from san juan game to, the fort of San Felipe, del Morro along, the entrance, to the San Juan Bay. Major. Plans include, an entrance, to the Paseo Del Mar L from. El morro fort itself. And. A continuous. Trail to connect up to the fort of San Cristobal. The better views, are as you approach them. Once. You get to the forum you. Are actually too, close to it to get a good look. Looking. Out to the ocean and to. The bay you see, the line of boulders, that have been deposited to. Help protect this corner, of the island, from, the pounding, Atlantic, surf. Continuing. On to the end of the paved trail you. Once again get better views of the fort itself a. Narrow. Dirt path allows. You to go partway toward. San Cristobal. The. Path through, dense vegetation. Offers. Clearings, with pretty views. While. Walking along the path you, will hear rustling in the snake plants, beside, you, it's. Probably the Brethren of this little guy. Continuing. Along. We. Are soon provided. With this lovely, Vista. When. We get to the next clearing, we have a great view of the. Cemetery, of Santa. Maria Magdalena. With. La Perla and San Cristobal, in the distance. This. Cemetery, more commonly, known as the San Juan Cemetery, sits. Next to El Morro, and overlooks, the Atlantic, Ocean. It. Is noted, for its intricate. Tombstones, and the circular, neoclassical. Chapel dedicated, to, Mary Magdalene. The. Cemetery, is also, the final resting place for several, famous Puerto Ricans, from. San. Juan we. Took a shuttle, to Florida, and from, there set. Sail on a catamaran cruise, to. Ko I caucus, one. Of many small islands, off the coast of Puerto Rico. My. Brain was fried from, learning all that history in Old San Juan and. I was ready for a nice relaxing. Sound. There's. Nothing, like dangling, your legs off the front of the boat and watching. The water beneath you as you, see the small island, in the distance. This. Pleasant, day at the, island, consisted, of getting off the boat to do a little beach walk in shell finding. Then. A little snorkelling, in the shallow waters. Where. I knew it the day was over, and we, were racing the other boats back to the main island I. Can't. Help but wonder why, I don't have more photos and videos of the day it. Might have been because the very attentive, crew was, sure to offer me a new drink each time I sat down my, run Pancho. Don't. Let my lack of footage, make you think this excursion, isn't, worthy of your time a, day. Trip to one of these small islands. And be, very enjoyable. Next. We rented a car and headed to Cueva del India near, Arras and. You. Will pass this statue commemorating. Christopher Columbus's. Discovery of. Puerto Rico and the new world as you. Approach the Cueva del MBO coming San, Juan. Once. You arrive you, will find a parking lot with an attendant. The. Walk to the cliffs is not, far, from the parking lot though. Not clearly, marked either. The, Cueva del indio is, said to contain the largest number, of tiana petroglyphs. Found along the coastal, zone a. Ladder. Leading, down to the main cave was removed, in 2017. To. Make it more difficult for, vandals, to furthermore. The site. It. Is an unimproved. Site there. Are no handrails, no. Sidewalks. To. Get to the overlooks, you, need to walk across lava, rock which, is sharp, funny. We're sturdy shoes that provide good traction. When. Looking up at it the terrain looks much more even than it is in reality. So. When you are walking watch, your step and not that move. Once. You look down at the terrain from above you. Can see just how uneven, and pitted, the surface, is.
Definitely. Not for those with poor balance and not, real chair accessory. At. Times. The. Rocks form steps for you to use though. Mostly, uneven. And. At. Times there. Is quite, a jump to make to your next step. But. Enjoy, traversing. All around, the cliffs to see the views and watch. The beautiful Atlantic waves, crash, of the rocks below. There. Is a plethora of cliffs. Arches. Caves and, bridge, formations. To explore, and view. To. Find a spot. Stander. Said. Just. Take in the seascape for, a few. Next. We, headed to a little corner of the island called Rincon, fittingly. So as Rincon means corner, I'm. Staying, for my first time at a resort with a pool bar you. Can even get lunch there. It's. Open both day and night. Did. I mention it has a full bar. We. Actually stayed, at two boutique, resorts, in drink on recon, of the sea grand Caribbean, hotel and Rincon. Beach resort, each. Had pool bars and beautiful, beachfront I. Enjoyed. Taking, a walk by myself each morning, on the beach. Frequently. I was the only person, on the beach for as far as I could see. In. Rincon, there. Are many options to dine or get, a drink and watch the sunset across. The water. The. Plaza in Rincon in El Pueblo the, downtown, area is, an active place even. Visiting, on a rainy Thursday we. Enjoyed this open-air, market, with artists selling their crafts, live, music, and specialty. Food and drinking. Rincon. Is known for winter surfing, and for. Year-round activities. Like snorkeling scuba. Diving. And, parasailing. We. Took a little drive to, crash boat keys. See. The psychedelic. Side of Rinka. We. Even got to watch, an impromptu paddleboard. Race. You. Cannot help but notice how, close many, of the businesses, are to the edge of the water. While. Staying here I saw. Some interesting, sights on the beach from my hotel balcony. I. Also. Got a bit of a surprise while. Relaxing with my last Jeremy, Beach two. The, B&B to the left of my hotel had suffered, considerable. Damage and. Repairs. Were underway. On. The, other side. The, villas, had received, such, extensive, damage, they, were being torn, down completely. I, spoke. With one of the men operating, this heavy equipment and asked. Him how busy he has been since Hurricane, Maria. He, indicated that he was plenty, busy with improvement, projects. Before. The hurricanes hit and that. Since then and. His, men have been working, non-stop I.
Really. Loved the solitude, I got each morning, on my beach walks I. Was. A little sad to leave rain come from. Here, we traveled, inland, to see the town of the river. We. Had an experience that included, a bit of hiking tubing. And then, alternating, between wading, and swimming in, the river as. We. Hiked through the forest our guide BJ, would point out beautiful, and potentially, dangerous flora. And fauna such. As fire ants that, we would want to avoid. There. Are two underground, river caves on this journey the first cave is, called el Portillo the little doorway. Sometimes. This cave can be unpassable. Due to heavy rains high waters, and debris and such, was the case at the time of our visit so. We only saw a small bit of that game. Even. With the heavy rains our first, section of the river remained, calm which. Allowed us to enjoy, some leisure tubing, and jumping, off large rocks into the deep water. After. Our comm start it. Was time to put away the tubes and continue, down the river in, a combination of, waiting and swimming until. We reach the next cave. With. The water being so, muddy from, the many rains. You. Could not see just how quickly the water got deep, many. Times the. Surface water appeared, near calm but. The water below, is rapid, pulled, you along. I was. Glad to have bj as our, experienced, guide to warn us show. Us what to do. We. Also saw, plants, that I've only seen in nurseries, and here. They grow wild like, this Lantana. Clinging. To the banks. It, was beautiful, to see all these tiny. Natural. Water features. As, we continued. Along, the. River grew in speed. And then, wet. The. Size and the, height of the waterfalls, beating. It grew as well. Our. Breathtakingly. Beautiful. The. Second, cave on our excursion. La cueva del arco is, huge. We. Were able to go inside, and see. The formations. Djay. Also, showed us what could be done with the stones lying on the ground some. Of them could be used to make black and white face paints, as would. Have been done by the Taino. Indians. 500. Years ago. To. Finish our tour we climbed one of the waterfalls, and used the Russian water to clean out the debris that, had built up in our shoes. As. We. Started hiking through, the forest to the bat-cave. Began. To rain, no. Matter we were soaking wet anyway, in. The bat-cave we would look down on the river below us and also. Get a chance to see more humongous. Stalactite. And stalagmite, formations. You, can also hear, the bats about you. But, no Robbins. The, Tanami river excursion. Was so beautiful, I couldn't, believe we had the entire Valley to ourselves. Thanks. Again BJ. Next. We drove for an afternoon, stroll through the cobblestone, streets of Santa Monica. Santa. Mon has a rich history with, 250. Spanish colonial, buildings. It. Is the second oldest town in Puerto, Rico and one of the best towns to admire Puerto, Rico's architectural. Heritage. It. Was named after the second wife of Ferdinand, of Spain, maned. Of walk. San. Ramon was, once the capital of the western side of the island.
Under. Spanish rule, the. Island was divided, into two administrative. Districts, one. Administered. Out of San Juan and the, other administered. From San Ramon. We. Started, by heading to the tourism office and, were immediately able to get booked on a tour of the, larger, of San Herman's, two historic, Catholic, churches. Iglesia. San, himand Azusa. This. Church is the newer of the two and still functions, as a church. Here. We learned about the Catholic allegory, of the pelican and its young. We. Enjoyed seeing gripping, religious, artwork. But. I have to say my. Favorite, was the magnificent. Ceiling. The. Interior. Is one of the most lavishly, decorated on, the island, with, trompe l'oeil oil painting, that imitates, wood coffers. The. Other church is the Porta celli, one. Of the oldest, churches in the Americas, and the oldest. Church in the United States. In. 1609. The. Dominican, Order built, the convento, de port de chelly at the, crest of a hill in what is now Santa, Monica, stork district. Today. The church houses an art collection which includes, wood. Statues, of saints paintings. Scriptures. And other, religious, images. Our. Next. Adventure would, take place at the southwestern, most edge of the island in Cabo Rojo. After. Enjoying views, of flocks, of shorebirds, feeding, along the saltwater lagoons. And marshes. It. Is time to begin our, 1/4. Mile ascent, the. Perilous, maria's de cabo rojo, or. The reefs life. From. The eastern side of the lighthouse you. Can enjoy a sweeping. View of the pink ute saltwater, marshes. The. Turquoise, bay and. The. Beautiful, deep. Blue of, the Caribbean, Sea. To. The west of the lighthouse is, the puente de piedra or. Stone, bridge. Which. Seems to defy, gravity and, provides. A natural link to. A small, rocky, pediment. The. Precipice, is just, to the south of the lighthouse hover. Over 200, feet from the ocean below and provide. Mostly, solid, though. Uneven, footing and. Gusting. Over us. Looking. Down from above you can see offshore, monoliths, and lower rock line coasts, - by waves. Visiting. In the shoulder season, between the winter months when most mainland. Visitors come to the island, and the, summer when most Porto Ricans vacation. You. Can enjoy the park almost to yourself. Except. For this guy who. Kept tagging, along beside me. Coming. Down from the cliffs near the lighthouse to. The bay we. Are standing on the first of two forks, of the peninsula. The. Bay between, these forms allows you to get a closer, and calmer. Look at the water and its inhabitants. For. A solitary, of. Clothes and, spray. Filled. Experience. With the Caribbean ceremony. Take. The 1/4, mile and, walk skirting. The bay to, the end of the non lighthouse, Fork of the peninsula. Our. Final, destination, was lapa guerra. This. Seaside, fishing, village has managed to retain, its casual. Low-key, ambiance. This. Is the place that Puerto, Ricans go to get away from it all. Lapa. Guerra is not heavily promoted, in travel media so, it remains, a hidden gem. By, day the, main attractions, here are locker head the, wall offering.
About 20, miles of excellent, scuba diving. Deep. Sea fishing and. The. Many small offshore islands. We. Took a cruise around the small islands. We. Enjoyed seeing the other boats. And the small houses, built on many of these tiny, islands. La. Higuera was fortunate, and was largely missed, by Hurricane, Maria good. Thing for all the people here today. At. Night, you can head out to the water to see the bioluminescent. Bay either, with a large group by boat or in smaller groups by kayak. The. Bioluminescent. Dinoflagellates. Light up when the water is disturbed. It. Is an unbelievable, sight to see the sparks, of these tiny microscopic, creatures. In the water. Sadly. Capturing. The magic, is not easy doesn't. Show up using typical cameras. We. Stayed at the Parador, via Peguero. We. Had a terrific, waterfront. View off our rooms patio. To, be part of the pair adores the, puerto rico program the. Accommodation, must meet certain standards set, by the puerto rico tourism, company. These. Include, being located, outside the, san juan metro, area, having. 15, to 75, rooms, an. On-site. Restaurant and, being. Family, owned and operated. During. The week you felt, you had the entire place to yourself. What. You will notice on the weekend, is the knife line. That's. The atmospheres, fun. Families. And couples are, out and about and. The people are literally dancing. In the street. You. Can even get group dance lessons, in the street. If you don't want to dance. Find. A bar or a restaurant with, a balcony, and. Enjoy. The action, crema bah. I hope, you have enjoyed taking this little adventure in, Puerto Rico with. Adios. Wasting. Power. Let's over the top is anybody's, guess.