I will do somethings I don't normally do, and that is discussing some of the places we traveled to, tips in finding them, and just our experience in Puerto Rico for anyone searching for some anecdotal info on travel here, as I found other similar blogs to be of help in such a way. So you can read on, or honestly skip to the pictures, I won't be offended!
Why Puerto Rico? We wanted WARM, and this had warmth and a bit of exotic flair to it, as it's a US territory, so it didn't require a passport. A fun challenge is getting around with the knowledge of only high school level Spanish in your brain (and let me tell you, it really is not helpful but more so, embarrassing). I like adventure and a little bit of discomfort in traveling, and language can very much be that discomfort, I find it really rewarding to have a good time and overcome the language barrier.
Bonus benefits? American money is accepted, many people do very much so speak English, and it's beautiful! Oh, and you can wear shorts, tank tops, and flip flops all day everyday... and I did! The temperatures were daily reaching into the 80's and depending on your location of this not so large island you could experience a variety of climates, hot & humid, arid, and the rainy cooler mountains. If you are not adventurous and seek out some familiar options for food, shops, etc- they have all the same stores like K-mart/Walmart, grocery stores, and fast food & chain restaurants.
Rough spots? Tax rates are high! And there are other imposed taxes on things like hotels, etc on top of the 11% sales tax. It is one of the upsides of things like AirBNB. The roads can be tough-- narrow and on the sides of mountains, surprise speed bumps and drain lines, and in general can be poorly maintained. Diet... I gave up on being a vegetarian, I delight in discovering local cuisine, but if you are super strict, there is so much pork, fried meats and seafood in like... everything. And almost all the food was fried in someway- so don't try to be healthy. Stray animals-- get used to it, feral creatures are EVERYWHERE!
This trip was not just about ecotourism, it was to escape the New York winter and spend some quality time together with my husband. But of course, I was always on the lookout for anything that crossed our path.
Our trip involved renting a car and traveling the island over 5 solid days, our red-eye flight gave us a head start in allowing us a full day to begin our trip with from San Juan, with a pit stop in Piñones, with our destination being the mountains, just east of El Yunque in Ceiba. That's where our first of a series of blog posts will leave us!
|Brown pelicans and royal terns dominated the airspace here. Coral fragments littered the beach, hinting at what lies below the waves.|
|A royal tern flies overhead.|
|When we finally found COPI, we rented a 2-person kayak and paddled around the lagoon that it resides along. for an hour and $30, it gave us a chance to explore the mangrove lagoon.|
We were welcomed into the lagoon by resting royal terns on pilings and buoys.
|On our kayak we spotted a silhouette in the trees turns out to be a reptile that is near and dear to my heart...|
|The amazing tangle of roots that crabs can hide in, and other creatures can attach to and grow on.|
|A handsome little blue heron as well as many birds that went unseen thrive in this habitat. Those mangroves do provide some amazing cover.|
|A royal tern welcomes us back... I think.|
|On shore I encountered this white-winged dove, which aside from the white wings, looks very similar to mourning doves we know so well in New York.|
|A young male green iguana basking on the dock after we pulled in. We also saw lots of anoles and Ameiva exsul, or the Puerto Rican Ground Lizard or siguana.|
|I learned that this guy here is a Puerto Rican crested anole, and as their name implies, individuals can grow a little crest along their neck, back, and tails|
|A zenaida dove walks away with a shadow that seems to mimic the white marking on its secondary feathers of its wing.|
|Our drive up to our mountain Bed & Breakfast was very beautiful.|
|We ended our evening with a walk along the beach in Fajardo. An amazing full day behind us with a rainforest adventure ahead!|