Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday Travels: Puerto Rico, Day 2

(Me, Kirsten, Meghan, Amy & Alison posing at the visitor center before we embark on our day at El Yunque.)
Sorry for the long hiatus - but blogging on vacation is not something I'm ready to do just yet! I'm back though and won't be going anywhere for awhile so let's get right back to it.

Last Tuesday I cataloged our first day in Puerto Rico - for this Tuesday Travels edition - I am going to focus on Day 2 - another adventure filled day. We started the day a little later, since our previous day (wake up time 6:45AM, bed time midnight) was not a very vacation like schedule. We got on the road about 10:30 and headed straight for El Yunque, the national rain forest, in Puerto Rico. It's about an hour drive south east from San Juan.

Upon arrival we stopped by the visitor center to watch the movie on El Yunque as well as to pick up a map. Our only goal for the day was to swim in a waterfall. The guide at the front desk informed us of some good stop points for photo ops and we headed on our way (in the car). We stopped at the observation point, the waterfall along the roadside filled with tourists and visitors climbing all over it, and at the Observation Tower.

(View from the Observation Tower - 100 steps up!)

After that we headed for a "hike" to Minka Falls. The hike was along a concrete path taking a little bit of the fun out of it and said path was pretty crowded. It was a pleasant walk to the waterfall but boy were we shocked when we got there! It was pretty crazy - there were hundreds of people just hanging out at the waterfall, perched on rocks, with tons of food, drinking beers while they swam. We had our lunch and then Alison, Meghan & myself decided to brave the freezing cold waters and the crazy swarms of people to swim in the waterfall. It was chilly but well worth it!

(Minka Waterfall)

After that we packed up and headed back to the car where we drove back to Luquillo Beach (the main entrance this time) and spent about 2-3 hours just laying on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and enjoying our time in the sun. On our way home we stopped at the kiosks for a quick snack (eating on the roadside is a big thing in Puerto Rico.)

That night we took advantage of our kitchen. It was Good Friday and everyone we had encountered had warned us that a lot of places would not be open. So we decided to have a night in. We had a simple pasta dinner with salad and wine followed by fun games!

It was a much more relaxing, slow paced day, where we once again got to experience a couple of things and spend good quality time together. My one complaint would be that if I were to go back to El Yunque I would talk to the guide about hiking paths a little less traveled and touristy so that I could really get a feel for the rainforest. I felt that it was definitely a very touristy destination and having so many people crowded around you kind of takes away from the beauty of being in nature!

Post in Comments:

Have you ever felt that a place you were visiting was just "too" touristy? If so, where were you?

No comments: