Friday, October 21, 2005

El Yunque

On our next to last full day in Puerto Rico, we rented a car and drove to the Caribbean National Forest, better known as "El Yunque."
There were numerous scenic places to stop, such as this one at La Coca Falls. A woman who was visiting with her family was nice enough to take our picture. Unfortunately, we saw the same family a bunch of other places in the forest, and we weren't their biggest fans at day's end. (They couldn't find a free table at lunch, so they sat down at one where the owners had their water and papers, drank the water and scattered the papers.)
We climbed to the top of the Yokahu tower, which had views all the way out to the Puerto Rican coast, and beyond. The island in the distance is Culebra.
We also enjoyed a vigorous hike along La Mina Trail to La Mina falls. The hike was very much worth it, especially as we had the spectacular scenery to ourselves when we got there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Piña Coladas and Getting Caught in the Rain

We've been back almost a week, and I'm finally getting around to posting more pictures of our trip to Puerto Rico. We stayed at the lovely Caribe Hilton

It rained on and off during our trip...more so later in the trip. I believe the system that was causing us rain eventually became Hurricane Wilma.

We did try to take advantage of the sun we did get, as well as the hotel amenities. The Caribe Hilton, through a quirk of geography, has the only private beach in San Juan. We were able to snorkel and see a few interesting fishes.

One morning after snorkeling, we contemplated heading to the hotel's "Health Bar" for lunch, but we're not into health food, and it's hard to turn down the opportunity to eat while sitting in the pool.

So we were off to the pool snack bar. Unfortunately, a torrential downpour started right after we ordered our food. First, that meant everybody had to get out of the pool. Second, we ended up spending at least as much time sheltering our burgers from the rain as we did eating. Eventually, though, I realized that it was "free piña colada" time at the pool bar, so we were able to enjoy some free samples.

The piña colada was allegedly invented at the Caribe Hilton (though we did see one sign in downtown San Juan claiming to be its home). At first they poured us alcohol-free piña coladas (this may be why this event was billed as kid-friendly), but after Christina inquired, the barkeep poured some dark rum in. I guess sopping wet customers get sympathy. I enjoyed it, but we didn't order any more during our visit.

Friday, October 07, 2005

El Morro

Greetings from the Ben & Jerry's in Old San Juan, where we're taking a few minutes out of our vacation to check some e-mail.

We spent the morning and early afternoon poolside (I love a vacation with a swim-up bar and grill). Then we switched rooms (the king bed room we reserved was unavailable, so we spent last night scrunched into a double) before taking the bus into Old San Juan.

The trolley no longer runs all the way around the city (they said heavy vehicles damage the walls), so we walked all the way to El Morro, a fort that kept San Juan in Spanish hands for over 350 years.

Well, our Internet access time is running out, so it's off to dinner.