Puerto Rico – Poor Tourists in the Rich Port

My most recent trip (last winter) to Puerto Rico was a good getaway from school and the unpredictable North Carolina weather. Puerto Rico is one of the cheaper beachy destinations. For poor graduate students like us, this was already pushing our budget, but the trip was totally worth the price. The country is rich with history, arts, music and culture from the colonial era. Many places to visit, many things to do, and lots of stories to hear i.e. pirate tales (oh yes, I love those).

There, we rented a car and stayed in a somewhat secluded resort between San Juan and Fajardo. I won’t recommend the place unless you plan to rent a car or you’re a golfer. The facilities were good but their private beach was just so-so. The lack of cheap transportation  will strand you there. Puerto Rican open road was fun to drive – relatively easy with good condition roads. A big highway runs through main cities around the island. Though, sometime the road narrows down to just a single lane.

Here are some photos I took from there. Take this post as an introduction. I’ll write more about the trip later.

1.  A mandatory first stop is the old town San Juan. It’s a great place to stroll around in the evening. The architecture of these colorful buildings is a mix between Spanish and Caribbean styles. The bright blue sky and oceany smell reminds me of Barcelona a lot. I’m a little surprised that I don’t see many shady structures in this sunny land. I usually expect people in the Tropics like this to prefer escaping from the sun (you’ll see this in South East Asia).
These gray street cobblestones were once used to weigh empty Spanish ships that came to bring back treasures to the homeland (a.k.a. stealing resources from the Americas).

2. San Juan is usually the first stop for many cruise trips because of its location at the end of two chains of islands (going West and South). In the past, because of this, Puerto Rico was the strategic port used to defend the main entrance to the Americas that the European colonizers had fought over for a long time.

3. Of course, besides the historic town, PR is a beach destination after all. You must go sail and dive at some point here.

4. PR also has many state parks (a part of the US park system) which are great for hiking and camping. It rains a lot, so you will need some rain+summer gears.

5. It was a cloudy day, but that made you see sun rays, in this harmonious bay. (It’s rhymed!)

The (non-)adventure does not end here. Wait for more.

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