As you are traveling through the island, I recommend that you look at the front lawns of the homes. Puertoricans can really dress up their yards. I saw things from 15+ yard gnomes on one lawn, horses eating, to maniquins. I loved it!
This is one of those places that is becoming more well known. I'd still consider this cave off the beaten path, but probably not for much longer. It is really a fantastic journey and view. To begin with you'll park at the Texaco for Route 10. They charge $2 per car. There is a steep dirty hill next to the gas station that leads you on a 15 minute hike to the cave. At the first fork, take the right. At the second, take a left. There are two entrances to the cave, the big tree and the main. I wouldn't suggest the tree entrance unless you are REALLY adventurous. Even the main entrance is pretty rocky. You definitely need a flash light. The cave opens up to many rooms. The best advice i can give is to follow the air flow. It is slightly muddy and any chirping above are bats! They won't bother you. I would suggest going early. Like I said before it is becoming a popular "internal" touristic place. Once you wind your way around the cave, about 5-7 mins, you'll come into a large opening a "window" if you will. The opening is huge, about 80 by 60 feet at least. The edge is a cliff so be careful there isn't any guard railing.
**This is quite a natural wonder, I am surprised that the DNR or National Parks Dept. hasn't created any regulations here. I would say with the increasing human traffic there should be some regulation, because people are starting to graffiti the walls and I'm sure the bats need some sort of protection.**
Yes, Puertorican drivers aren't the safest or most polite. But a road trip on this island is probably the best way to see all that it has to offer! The island is small, about 100 miles by 35 miles. They have some good roads and some bad roads. In the cities, I would recommend caution, because they are litered with potholes. Anyway, don't worry about planning every stop and prebooking motels (unless it is holiday season). We arrived late to towns and were able to find lodging every time. Another important point to mention is that a basic ability of Spanish is useful. Most people study English for 12+ years, but many don't speak it well in small towns. Please don't let language detour a possible road trip.
The main reason I recommend a road trip is that yes it is the most affordable way to experience the island, but the terrain of the island is quite vast!
***Having a GPS is very important!***
This street vendor who is in front of the El Morro has a lot of information where to go and what to do in Puerto Rico. He has loads of tips, too. He was the one who told me about the trolleys and what time their schedules are.
He also allowed me to shade under his big umbrella when it started to rain. He is a very pleasant, very helpful guy!
The bathroom has a tiny gift shop. The lady at the store ask tourists to pay first before you get in the bathroom. It would be nice if the bathroom is kept clean and with toilet paper.
As a tip, I suggest that since you are heading to the castle, just pay the entrance fee and head to the castle and just use their bathroom there- that is if you can hold yourself!
The fee to get in to the bathroom outside the castle is $1.00. You save at least a dollar...That is if you are a budget traveller...
It's the same distance to walk down to the front bathroom than getting inside the castle anyway...
Thinking that I will have a faster route to the El Morro, I walked to the base of the castle! But, I saw the other side of tourism...I saw stray cats, guards taking their lunches, local working class doing their daily routines, etc.
This is a nice "paseo" but, make sure that you have a lot of time when you come here. It's a long walk back to the Department of Tourism!!!
The weather in Puerto Rico gets really hot and humid. So, when you are travelling, make sure to bring water in your backpack. However, there are some vendors of water bottle on the streets of San Juan.
With a reflecting dish 1,000 feet in diameter, and a 900-ton receiver suspended 450 feet above it, this is the largest, most sensitive radio observatory in the world. It can detect radio signals from near-earth space and from billions of light-years away.
The visitors center has a theater, small museum, and shop. Even if you're not a scientist, the place is a sight to behold. There is nothing else quite like it.
This location was chosen because the exceptionally rugged karst country offered a natural valley sunken into it. It was just perfect.
To get here from San Juan, follow Highway 22 west to Highway 651, and turn south. Follow the signs. It's located in a very scenic, out-of-the-way place, off a narrow, winding two-lane road. Be careful coming up.
I recently was in San Juan at the front and back end of a cruise with RCL. San Juan did not exactly come recommended as a "destination port" -- so we were not quite sure what to do with the extra day we had on either end.
I found a listing of a guy who does Jeep Tours on the island -- and this turned out to be the PERFECT thing. We didn't have a lot of time, so we couldn't justify a car. And, friends had told us about the driving in PR anyway.
Jerry picked us up at our hotel -- and took us out for a wonderful day of exploration, sightseeing, hiking -- and even a picnic lunch in the rainforest, El Yunque. He has an open-top jeep wrangler, which was a bit windy for my girlfriend -- but was great for me! We were able to enjoy the open air and get out of the big city.
Jerry is knowledgeable of the island, and has a very outgoing and magnetic personality. We got along well with him - I think he could get along with just about anyone.
So, if you find yourself in San Juan with some extra time, look Jerry up at Coqui PIE. His website is www.coquipie.com
And, have a chicken pincho -- they are great!
Jibaro means something akin to peasant in Puerto Rican Spanish, and the Jibarito sandwich means the country sandwich, or peasant's sandwich. This memorial came as a pleasant surprise along Hwy 52, about halfway between San Juan and Ponce, but you have to be going southbound in order to stop as the northbound lanes have no access. Still in the mountains, this memorial watches traffic flow, sporting plaques (only in Spanish) that commemorate the role of the peasant in Puerto Rico's national identity. It eulogizes him, pronouncing the peasant as the synthesis of all their virtues, the spirit of their land and country, the inventor of their traditions and more. It idolizes his work ethic and strength, his simple determination to live justly and well with honor.
If you stop here it is also a great place to photograph lizards and chameleons since there is little foot traffic and lots of warm pavement for them to sun themselves. Nearby is a scenic lookout with a parking lot. There isn't anywhere to park really close to the memorial, but this being Puerto Rico you can simply pull up on the curb and get out.
From Fajardo (1.5hrs. drive from San Juan), one can find ferries that will transport them ($3 USD) to the island of Culebra (30mins. by ferry). One can also take a plane for about $30USD one-way. The island has a small port w/ all the typical nuances of a tourist town. Yet, however, a $10-shuttle (5mins.)--this fee can be split up among those traveling-- to the outter reaches of the island will land you in one of the most beautiful and serene beaches in the world: Flamenco Bay. Nevertheless, if one can't make the trek in one day why not stay the night on the beach (have to bring your own food and tent supplies).
Thing to do: miles of trekking, camping, snorkler's heaven are just a few of the items that await this hidden paradise.
Check this site out for more details--the pictures do not do this place justice!
We found Playa Punta Santiago on the day we rented a car to get to El Yunque and to stay at the Casa Cubuy Ecolodge! There are endless places to pull out and check out little visited beaches at this time of year! I could easily have spent 2 full weeks driving around this Island!
Just got back from PR last night and I spent a full day hiking in El Yunque last Thurs. It was great! I wore a pair of Vasque trail runners. They're studier than tennis shoes and were great on the slippery rocks. I saw a few people out on the trails in flip flops and they were not having a very good time. I did the El Yunque trail and the Mt. Britton spur into the cloud forest - it took about 5 hours round trip. Good shoes are a must - also water and snacks.
Pirates treasures? Bat habitats? Moonshine/Drug runners labs? The road from where I took these photos was not safe so I did not hike through the fields of sugar cane to get to the caves.
These caves were in the mountains along a small road heading directly south from the dam.
The Taino Indians had a village here for centuries before European explorers arrived. Here they lived out their lives, and played a ceremonial ball game called bateyes. Traditional Taino huts have been replicated here. There is also a modest museum.
On Rte. 111, west of Utuado, Puerto Rico.