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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Family Trip to Puerto Rico!

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Hey guys,

Ian and Lil Dude and I just got back from a 12-day spring break in Puerto Rico, and loved it.  We spent a few days in Old San Juan (for culture and history), a few days in the El Yunque rain forest (hiking and waterfalls), and a few days on the island of Culebra (beaches, snorkeling.)


There are a couple huge, cool forts in Old San Juan, complete with turrets and tunnels and dungeons and pirate history and other features perfect for a 9-year-old boy. He had a blast in the big spaces by fort and sea where he could run around like a little maniac...


The buildings in Old San Juan were deliciously candy-colored.  I'm a firm believer in painting homes cheery colors (ours is yellow)-- I wish people did this more in the U.S.! It would make wintertime less depressing, I think... and it would make houses and apartments and condos easier to find. ;-)


Can't get enough of these wrought iron, plant-filled balconies...



Pink!

 

Puerto Rico is such an easy place for overseas travel with a kid... you don't have to go through customs and immigration at the airports, you can use dollars, and you don't need any special cell phone plan (at least with Verizon we didn't.) And yet, you're in a completely different culture, immersed in a different language (well, not completely, because almost everyone seemed able to speak English here.)

 

 We took a little puddle-hopper to Culebra island-- a gorgeous ride. On the way there, I got to sit next to the pilot, and on the way back, Lil Dude did... he was over the moon!


This island was incredible-- really laid-back-- most travelers drove golf carts around rather than cars. The beaches were breath-taking, and not crowded.  There were a few we had to hike to that were particularly secluded and beautiful. We saw lots of fish and even got to swim alongside huge, graceful green sea turtles.




The hike to two of the beaches (Tamarindo 2 and Carlos Rosario) was technically off-limits because of the "unexploded ordinance", which means that there are undetonated bombs in the forest in that territory.  But everyone assured us that as long as you stay on the path, you're fine. (eek!)

 

The bombs came from the U.S. military, which did target practice on this island until about 1976.  I talked to some old-timers who remembered the constant explosions, and were relieved when they finally came to an end. Here's one of the old tanks, now a rusted work of art on Playa Flamenco.

 

We boogie boarded...


Lil Dude dug holes and built sand castles... here he made a new, local friend. He got to use some Spanish to make plans to fortify the walls. :-)

 

 We happy-danced at twilight...


We were entertained by the wild chickens who hung out with us on the beach...

 

Lil Dude really enjoys getting "battered" by waves, and enjoys it even more when I get battered. (Below, he's been knocked over and I'm about to join him...)


 We stayed at a sweet little guesthouse called Mango Fish. Our idyllic routine involved snorkeling in the mornings, having lunch in town, having relaxing siesta time (I read and wrote, Ian slept, Lil Dude read and wrote and played video games), then going for a late afternoon swim, then heading to dinner in our golf cart (aka "this bad boy.")  Lil Dude loved the golf cart-- one evening, as we were getting buckled in, he took a blissful breath and said, "A starry night, going out to dinner in this bad boy.... does life get any better?"

 

  It was so pleasant to sit on the porch and feel the breeze and hear the birds and insects (and wild chickens).  The temp was perfect-- 80 degrees and not too humid. I love these clanky old metal screen doors...

 

I truly didn't want to leave!  I'm such a beach girl at heart. In college, I lived with friends in a beach shack on the Chesapeake Bay in southern Maryland. Every morning and evening I'd walk on the beach with my dog, Nut, and we'd all track sand around the house and no one cared.

 

We also stayed a few days in El Yunque rain forest less than an hour's drive from Old San Juan. We hiked to waterfalls and old towers, saw brilliant flowers, cool animals...




Trying to fly...

 

View from the tower...


Romantic moment in the rain in dorky army surplus hats (photo credit: Lil Dude)...


Lil Dude and I giving ourselves a limpia (spirit-cleaning) in the waterfall...


 Thank you for swinging by! Hope you've been having fun adventures of your own!

Heaps o' love,
Laura













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