Four blissful days under the sun with history, beaches and waves... and of course fantastic food. A wonderful experience for the eyes and palate indeed!
Puerto Rico is a former Spanish colony that Christopher Columbus landed on (and thus integrated into the New World) in 1493. It's first governor was Ponce de Leon whose legacy continues today in the names of streets and the region Ponce itself!
The prolonged Spanish rule of over 400 years has left a lasting impression in the island and much of it is well preserved in the Old town of San Juan which was a walled city in those times.
The charm of the pastel hued and vibrant houses, cobblestoned streets, rich Spanish inspired and locally adapted food cannot but bring a smile to any visitor to this old town.
Over the four days that we spent on the island, we walked through all of old town, hiked in the El Yunque National Forest which bears the honor of being the only rain forest in US territory, walked the beaches of Luquillo while witnessing one of the most spectacular sunsets, pigged out in Guavate on Lechon, blood sausage, got tipsy on coquitos on Christmas, walked around the historic town of Ponce and sat on the balcony of our harbour overlooking room at the Sheraton and chatted till the wee hours.
Our trip was perhaps kissed with more festivity since we were there during Christmas and were caught up in the joyous spirit of it all. But, I suspect that the good people of San Juan and PR in general have more than touch of party and good naturedness that you would perhaps witness the street concerts (and impromptu dance floors) and street food vendors at other times of the year as well. I must say this for their music, it is hard to not shake a leg and that we did a lot and very happily much!
While in the region, make sure you take the Bio Bay night kayak tour. You can do this from Fajardo, which, is what we did or travel to Vieques island and enjoy what is supposed to be a more spectacular experience at the Mosquito Bay. This tour is about witnessing bio-luminiscence.
That is indeed awesome but I was more inspired by kayaking under the stars in the pitch darkness between mangrove trees. It is an interestingly introspective and calming experience (except on those heart-stopping moments when I drifted away and bumped into something-I-quite-did-not-know-what-was). But, honestly, it is absolutely safe and splendid!
It was a fantastic trip indeed and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick relaxing getaway especially in the cold months now.. :)
Places to go:Old San Juan
Castillo de San Cristobal
Castillo de Felipe del Morro
San Jose Church
Walk through the cobblestone streets
San Juan Cathedral
Museums (we did not go as they were closed for the Holidays)
Bioluminiscent Bay tourEl Yunque National Forest
A number of hiking trails of various difficulty level
Parque de Bombas
Board Walk - La Guancha Paseo Tablado
El Vigia hill - for the view
Castillo Serralles - former residence of the most powerful rum-producing families, the Serralles family, producers of Don Q rum. Guavate