San Juan, Puerto Rico

In May, my sister graduated from the University of South Florida (grad pics to come!) with her Bachelor’s in Music Education. So, I took the week off and we went to Puerto Rico to visit our cousin, Charlotte, who had moved there a few months ago. It was an amazing trip! We went snorkeling, hiking, sightseeing and swimming. It was a short trip, and we were determined to pack in as much as possible.

Puerto Rico is a delightful mix of Island and Latin culture. Seeing the sights, the people, and the landscape made for an excellent vacation.

As we were trying to pack light, I was only able to take one camera with me- my Sony alpha a260 with a kit zoom lens, 18-55. I figured since most of the photos were going to be taken outside, low light wouldn’t be that much of an issue.

Here are some of the highlights!

On Day one, we went to Poza del Mujeres, a beach about 45 minutes away from the heart of San Juan. There were gorgeous waves and a lot of pointy rocks to climb.

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Vistas
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Tortuga rock. I wonder why? 🙂
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Our wonderful hosts for the week, Char and Joe
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My traveling buddy.
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Some tiny local wildlife.

On Tuesday, Charlotte and Joe took us snorkeling to Icacos island. There was a beautiful reef, lots of seaweed, and tons of fish. And as always, gorgeous waves and beach. Unfortunately, it was raining for part of it, and in order to leave the boat we had to swim, so this is the only picture from that day. Trust me, though, it was amazing.

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Under the canopy of the catamaran

Wednesday, we went to El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rain forest in the United States. A short hike into the forest and we were at a gorgeous waterfall. It was cloudy that day, perfect for rain foresting.

Natural sights:

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Observation tower on the way up the mountain

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It’s nice having a cute travel companion
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At the waterfall- It was so slippery climbing up there, but awesome.
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Always gotta come home with some local merch
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Local soda and what’s left of some delicious smoked chicken skewers. I love roadside food!

On our last day, our flight didn’t leave PR until about 4:30pm, so we decided to walk around Old San Juan and tour the forts. Like any good Caribbean island, PR has a long history of being fought over by a bunch of European guys. So, naturally, they needed a few forts to defend themselves.

Coming from America, where we think 100 years is old, it’s always a bit surreal to stand in a building which was constructed over 400 years prior. Not to mention one where battles were fought and people died. Coming from suburban Florida where the average housing development is 10 years old, it’s always an eye opener.

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Old San Juan
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Statue of Cristóbal Colón, or as we know him in America, good old Chris Columbus.
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One of my favorites- black bird and wrought iron
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The view from El Morro, one of the forts
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Char in an addition to the fort built in WWII.
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The Gate

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The main plaza of the fort
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Windy  🙂
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The green lawn is an area where lots of people come to eat lunch and relax. You can buy kites from a vendor down the hill- it’s always windy here. Sea breeze makes for great kite flying.
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Inside the main fort- lots of lights and shadows.

Eight hours and one bacon burger in at our layover in CLT later, we were back home.

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Last view from the plane.

We hope to go back soon!

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