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Puerto Rico: More to This Island Than Meets The Eye
When I was studying in Canada on exchange we had fall break and when you are already on the other side of the globe, why not choose a destination that would otherwise be too far? We wanted to get out of the Canadian cold and go somewhere warm and as poor students the destination also had to be affordable: Puerto Rico it was!
Though we did not do a lot of research before we left, this island left me amazed! It is a gorgeous place with amazing people!
Everyone's journey to Puerto Rico starts here in the capital. When we got there it was pretty devoid of tourists as we arrived during the hurricane season (which explained why it was so cheap) After dumping our bags in the hostel we decided to go explore straight away! We decided to go to El Morro: a fortress with amazing defense for anyone coming from the Atlantic ocean. As a history student this was a must and it was huuuuge! We walked around for over an hour.
The fort also offered beautiful views of the coastline
After a night of partying in San Juan we decided more of this beautiful island awaited us so we rented a car and headed towards Fajardo to get to the island of Vieques the next day. Most tourist don't end up taking a ferry to Vieques, a pretty small island to the east of Puerto Rico. But they should! It is crazy beautiful there and the people were incredibly nice. We ended up dining at some locals neighborhood barbeque with great people who attempted to teach us how to dance salsa and failed miserably haha
You have to take a ferry to get to Vieques which offers beautiful views, though the people in this boat didn't think so...
We also got treated to what I can only describe as the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. Magical... After that sunset it would only get better as we headed of at night for a kayak trip in the Mosquito Bay. Now you wonder who wants to go kayak in the dark in a place with mosquito in the name? Well, everyone, because they have bioluminescent shrimp there. Or when you move your kayak the shrimp in the water give off light. It was magical, but did not have any camera with me (because kayak).
Still reeling from all the beauty we saw we headed to the mainland again and went to the forest of El Yunque where you can see amazing tropical rainforest. You also have great views from the rainforest as you climb steadily up while you hike.
We got back to the car completely soaked, not because of rain but because of the humidity in the tropical rainforest!
We decided to drive the Ruta Panoramica that runs across the middle of the island through the central mountains from east to west. If you have a car (and you should on this island!) I would recommend this route. It was beautiful though the roads were not great everywhere.
We also got some rain, but sitting in the car with Raggaeton blasting from the speakers and being in a tropical country make up for everything.
The goal of our drive on the Ruta Panoramica was Rincon: surfers paradise in Puerto Rico. Neither of us could surf, but it's always good to watch people who know what they are doing.
After a night of party in Rincon we headed back to San Juan, did a final day at the beach and flew back to icy cold Canada...
I would tell everyone to go to Puerto Rico, rent a car, get out of the capital, see some amazing scenery and meet some amazing people!