Monthly Archives: May 2015

El Yunque Rainforest

A trip to Puerto Rico wouldn’t be complete without a trip to El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest System.

There is a visitor’s certre to visit, and as you drive in, a place to leave your vehicle.  From here, your trip will be on foot.

Visitor's Centre at El Yunque National Forest
Visitor’s Centre at El Yunque National Forest

This is the path at the entrance.  Beyond here, it is mostly paved access.

Entrancce to El Yunque Rainforest
Entrancce to El Yunque National Forest

Part way through, you will encounter La Coca Waterfall.

El Coca Falls, El Yunque Rainforest
La Coca Falls, El Yunque Rainforest

It is a long trip up the path.  Very hot, and very humid.  People coming down the path tell you that you’re almost there, but you’re not.  It’s a very long slog, with a reward at the end.

Top of the Rainforest
Top of the Rainforest
Top of the Rainforest
Top of the Rainforest

I stayed at the top for about an hour, chatting with the locals (thanks for the info, George!).  From here, one can see San Juan, Loiza and Fahardo.  That dot out in the Atlantic Ocean is St Thomas.

Clouds blow past your head.  There was a brief rainstorm.  Returning takes less than half the time it takes to get there.

Puerto Rico 2010

Way back in 2010, I happened to stumble upon a great deal to Puerto Rico.  I was living in Sarasota, Florida at the time.  The trip was for a four day weekend, included return flight, hotel, and a car rental for $500.00.  I couldn’t resist.

The flight was uneventful.  I arrived at the airport and went outside looking for the car rental place.  The heat and humidity hit me like a sledgehammer.  Turns out, there are no car rentals at the airport (although there was a closed casino).  I had to take a shuttle to somewhere in San Juan to pick up my vehicle.  This also meant I had to remember where this place was to return the car.

Lucky me, I got a white Toyota Yaris.

Coral by the Sea
Coral by the Sea, Carolina, Puerto Rico

This was my hotel on the coast, east of Puerto Rico.  Two short blocks from the ocean, and free parking.  I had a decent room on the top floor, facing the street.  On the lower left of the building was an ice cream parlour, on the left a restaurant.  This was used a lot by people for an overnight stay before boarding a cruise ship.  I have never seen travellers with so much luggage before.  I brought a backpack.

101 Bar
101 Bar, Carolina, Puerto Rico

Between the Coral by the Sea and the Ritz Carlton, this was my hangout.  Wonderful owners and patrons, cold beer, good food, inexpensive.  A quick search today tells me it has since been closed.

El Morrow
El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Guard Station, El Morrow, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Guard Station, El Morrow, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Castillo San Filipe del Morro is a Spanish citadel built to guard the entrance to San Juan Bay in the 1600’s.  Construction began in 1539 by order of King Charles V of Spain.  Many improvements were made over time.  The original 1.8M thick walls were increased to 5.5M by the end of the 18th century.  Puerto Rico was awarded to the US at the end of the Spanish-American war in 1898.

In 1961, the US Army officially retired El Morro, and the citadel was declared a World Heritage Site by the UN, and is a US National Park.

Guard Station, El Morro, Puerto Rico
Guard Station, El Morro, Puerto Rico
Entrance to El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Entrance to El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

Abandoned Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Abandoned Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan is mix of modern structures and also a place where time has stood still.  This old hotel had been abandoned for some time.

North Shore, San Juan, Puerto RIco
North Shore, San Juan, Puerto RIco

The rocky shore of San Juan, Puerto RIco, below El Morro.