Yesterday, Aaron and I went to El Yunque National Park, Puerto Rico's rainforest, and hiked to La Mina Waterfall. On the way to the trailhead, we climbed to the top of a lookout tower that had an amazing view of the ocean and forest. There are only 98 steps to climb and it is worth it!
We chose the trailhead that traveled down to the falls and it was a simple hike. Once we arrived to the falls, there were lots of people swimming in the natural pools and enjoying the cool breeze. We chose not to swim since the water was "cold". Hiking up the mountain was much more difficult than going down. Luckily, the trails are really nice and most of the hike is concrete steps or concrete paths. The steps were the difficult part :)
On the way out of El Yunque, I had to snap a picture of my niece's Flat Stanley to record the adventure. I wonder what he will get into next?
Last Friday Theresa and I spent the day exploring Maunabo. Maunabo is located just 20 minutes down the road from where we live in Humacao, but it is literally a world away...
To get to the town of Maunabo, you must drive on the beautiful Panoramic Route (Ruta Panoramica.. which is part of a network of small roads covering 167 miles throughout Puerto Rico with beautiful views through remote areas). The drive on the Panoramic Route is a wonderful experience, although there are a lot of white knuckle hairpin turns with huge gas (say huge gas three times fast..) tanker trucks coming full speed around the mountain switchbacks... this is nothing that Theresa and I aren't used to after having lived in St. Croix for so long though.. and a pleasant experience compared to rush hour traffic in the city..
After making the beautiful drive, we first visited the light house at Punta Tuna. We have been here before a few years ago, and it really is a beautiful place. The views from the point are incredible. We had a picnic lunch here under the shade trees and enjoyed watching the waves crash on the beach.
I talked Theresa into letting me go down to the boat dock to talk to the local fishermen and to take some pictures (because sometimes, once I get started talking.. I can't stop..). I saw the boat dock from the road on the way to the light house and I knew I had to check it out. It was really a great time for me, because I love finding areas of preserved culture where people do things the old fashioned way (old school) and I love old boats. I found out that you can buy fresh seafood at the dock every day there from the local fishermen. Just like it should be..
While we were standing at the boat dock we decided we had to go find the access to the beautiful beach we were looking at out across the bay. This beach is known as Los Bohios. Los Bohios beach is apparently a popular place on the weekends, but this was Friday, and we had the whole place to ourselves! Well, almost.. as soon as we got there I stumbled upon an old wooden fishing boat up on the beach, which made me super happy, and Theresa immediately befriended three little puppy dogs! I set up our hammocks between a couple of palm trees and I set off to explore the beach down around where the river was flowing from the mountains into the ocean. Theresa was feeling less adventurous and she opted to take a siesta (a nap, she is a professional nap taker).
The scenery was amazing, the beach is really quite beautiful, and Theresa made some new friends.. When I got back to our hideout, I found Theresa sleeping with one puppy dog in the hammock and two underneath her. She said they woke her up when they came and started running off with my shoes!
Well, we spent another hour or two laying in the hammocks, enjoying the cool breeze and watching the puppies play as the waves rolled in.
It was a great, relaxing, island day and we can't wait to do it again.
Driving in Puerto Rico is MUCH different than driving in St. Croix. When we originally moved to St. Croix, I found it difficult to drive because
However, after being in St. Croix for almost 5 years, driving there has become second nature. I now give directions based on landmarks, we know where the pot holes are, who cares what the road names or numbers are, and driving on the left seems natural. Unfortunately, driving in St. Croix did nothing to prepare us for driving in Puerto Rico. The average speed that I drove in St. Croix was about 35-45 mph. I enjoy this pace of driving. It suits me. But guess what? Puerto Rico has super speed highways with multiple lanes and other drivers who are not bothered with cutting you off. The difficulties I now face with driving here is
The first time we had to drive to San Juan in rush hour traffic, I was in tears. So many cars... It was just too much. When we purchased a vehicle here, the owner informed us that it is better to not use a blinker when trying to move into another lane. The reason was because using a blinker would cause other vehicles to speed up and not let you over. Can you believe that!? In St. Croix, people will purposefully slow down to let you in and honk or wave to say hello. Are we missing home? Yes...
Because I get car sick, I am the one driving for the most part. I suppose I will learn to be assertive and drive like other Puerto Ricans soon enough. For now, driving is a daunting experience and if possible I find ways to avoid it. Driving the golf cart through our neighborhood is so much more relaxing...
Theresa and Aaron
This blog is dedicated to our life here in St. Croix and the experiences we have each day.