La Cueva del Indio in Arecibo

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La Cueva del Indio, Arecibo, Puerto Rico
La Cueva del Indio, Arecibo, Puerto Rico

This article is the third part of a series describing my seven-day vacation in Rincon, Puerto Rico, and Surrounding Treasures〈〈Click link. I tour and explore the surfing town of Rincon and delve into the details of beaches, dining, and general adventure. In a second article called Click link〉〉Day Trips from Rincon, Puerto Rico, I talk about driving to surrounding areas and attractions. This article is a spotlight on the place I personally enjoyed the most.

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La Cueva del Indio has caves and isolated beaches an hour and a half north of Rincon in the town of Arecibo. If you are a nature lover and like to do some intermediate hiking, this is the place for scenic picture taking and amusement. You know you are getting close when you catch a glimpse of the tallest sculpture in the US – the 360’ Christopher Columbus sculpture named “Birth of the New World”.

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Tallest Statue in the US, Arecibo, PR

Take your hiking sandals or sneakers and a couple bottles of water. Most attractions in Puerto Rico are no charge, but it is five dollars to park so have cash on hand and leave early if you like to enjoy a sense of privacy. You will get some vague directions that turn out to be accurate as you head through some ruined buildings and toward the limestone cliffs in search of caves. As you walk, you will see holes down into caves that vary in size. The craggy and volcanic- looking limestone rock is treacherous and children should be watched very closely. There is one much larger opening that is marked and leads to a wooden ladder. The ladder goes down into the cave where there is plenty of light from the other natural “skylights” above.

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Inside you will see petroglyph cave drawings, a sand covered floor surrounding large rocks that lead into other areas with pools of water. Blue crabs scurry around and hide as soon as they see you. Climb up some of the interior rocks and you will notice a bat or two flying around near the cave ceiling. When waves hit the exterior cliffs, there is a spot that bubbles up from the floor and forms a small stream. The rocks are a beautiful purple near the base and in the water.

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Once out of the cave, continue along the ridge and look out at the ocean and across the neighboring cliff formations that create arches and bridges of stone etched by the tides. One of the coves here is the scene of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie and you can imagine a cast and crew navigating the rocks and water to get a shot that captures the more eerie and dangerous qualities of the film.

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Find an orange cone that marks a hidden trail and hike through the tropical plants to find yet another rocky cliff leading to a view of two crescent beaches. Navigate the rocks until you get to the sand and remove your shoes. This beach has grainy waterlogged sand that you will sink into at the water’s edge by about 4 inches. The softer dry sand further from the water is still hard to walk in after hiking the cliffs.

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You Should Be Here in Arecibo

Strip to a bathing suit and carry your clothes and shoes to continue comfortably. Enjoy the beach and tidal pools while noticing the tiny snail and hermit crab shells that cover everything. Watch the birds and listen to the waves hitting the rocks.

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These beaches back up to another resort and picnic area accessed from the road and there is a private home on the end owned by the same individual as the La Cueva del Indio site. The land connects to a third beach that you can walk as well and you will see a few bulky beach tables and chairs cemented into the ground.

The trek back feels easier after enjoying the beach. Finish this day with a rum drink in hand and a view of the sunset!

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One of the isolated beaches found at La Cueva del Indio, Arecibo, PR

The hiking takes you to areas that less adventurous people might miss. Always have shoes with a good tread, a change of clothes to keep dry, and extra water bottles when in more remote areas. The safety and security are lax, so plan ahead when it comes to personal items. Keep them in a backpack on your person or in the trunk of your car out of site.

This was my favorite experience of the entire seven-day trip, but I thoroughly enjoyed Puerto Rico’s range of activities: beaches, restaurants, shopping, and historical sites. I challenge myself to find photo opportunities beyond the usual vacation images. I was not disappointed while hiking through caves, then standing high on the cliffs with views of rock bridges and arches, and enjoying beaches with incredible scenery.

As a reminder, this article is the third in a series about my vacation to Rincon, Puerto Rico in November and day trips from the Rincon area (links provided in the first paragraph above). The privacy I experienced at this beach is partly seasonal and because I visited the area from 9am until noon. More tourists were arriving as I left.

I am happy to explain how Dreamtrips Travel Club has encouraged me to explore my world and share the experience with others. My blue “You Should Be Here Sign” is a club gift for joining. For information, email me at uppiklos@gmail.com.

Day Trips from Rincon, Puerto Rico

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If you somehow missed the main article on my seven-day vacation called Click link〉〉Rincon, Puerto Rico, and Surrounding Treasures, this article is about side trips I took within a short driving distance of Rincon. There was so much to see and do in Rincon that I couldn’t contain it in one article. I will also remind anyone starting with this piece that the trip was taken at the end of November, the weather was mid-80s, and it was not at peak season…

Boating, Fishing, and Snorkeling in La Parguera

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La Parguera, Gina @ Johnny’s Boat Rentals

We headed out to La Parguera, about an hour away, to Gina @ Johnny’s boat rentals, where we rented two small open skiffs to ride to a nearby cove and snorkel and fish with friends who had done the same.

On the way, we passed small painted cottages on stilts with covered boat slips and grabbed our cameras. We passed a dock where iguanas came to beg for food from tourists, providing another photo opportunity.

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After spending the day in water so clear you could see the color of the sand at your feet and the fish swimming by, we reluctantly left, but detoured through the mangrove forest over the water, in and out of other secluded fishing spots, through tropical tunnels of bird inhabited greenery and twisted tree limbs. If you book a tour in the evening, you can visit one of the islands bioluminescent bays. The best time to go is when there is a new moon for greater visibility.

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Jobos Beach in Isabela

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Another day was spent about a half hour north of Rincon at Jobos Beach to see the crashing waves on the rocks of a popular surfing beach in Isabela. Once a beach primarily accessible to those living in the area, it is now under construction, with new hotels and restaurants making parking a bit of a struggle. Park along the main road or pay $5 in a local resident’s lot.

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Waves crashing into rocks at Jobos Beach in Isabela, PR

You can trek the volcanic and plutonic rock to the top of a cliff and watch the ocean waves make contact and spray seafoam in the air. You are safe in a pair of flip flops, but bare feet would be ill-advised and seriously slow you down. The beach is the typically soft sand found on most of the area beaches and the water is easily accessed for swimming.

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There are Spanish style eateries to visit along the beachfront here serving local fare. The construction will likely end up commercializing the area and taking some of the native feel away. New hotels mean new restaurants and activities, but there is a cost. Puerto Rico’s economy is not the best and additional tourism dollars can help. Keep an eye on this transitioning area and see what unfolds.

 

Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo

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Playa Sucia Beach and Salt Flats in Cabo Rojo, PR

Puerto Rico has salt flats near the beach in an 1800-acre reserve in Playa Sucia – La Playuela – in Cabo Rojo. The name means “dirty beach” but it is anything but unkempt. Heading south, it takes a little over an hour to get there. Then you will drive on a white sand and salt road riddled with potholes and pools of water through indigenous trees and brush for about a mile to reach a secluded beach area perfect for picnicking. The low-lying trees create a canopy to find shade from the sun. The sand is soft and white and the water is clear blue for miles.

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This is where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. On one end of the beach are trails to take you along the ridgeline of limestone cliffs until you reach a jetty of rock and natural bridges for some excellent views of the entire area including the lighthouse and observatory. You will see lizards on the path and big blue crabs climbing the rock formations near the water; a spectacular site as waves crash into the cliffs are viewed from above. An unusual number of butterflies gather here that are attracted by the salt and natural plant life.

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Los Morillos Lighthouse on the other side of the beach is accessible by walking up the long gravel drive to the top of the cliffs or by shuttle bus. There is a tourist center where you can get water, read about the history of the reserve, salt crystals, and the lighthouse, and purchase local crafts made as you watch; items like jewelry, hammocks, and artwork. Outside, get as close as you dare to the edge of the cliffs to capture this dramatic view. There are no safety barriers. You would not be the first person to fall, be wary.

Gozalandia Falls in San Sebastian

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Side view of Gozalandia Falls

With all the cliffs around the island of Puerto Rico, it makes sense to search for waterfalls like the Gozalandia Falls in San Sebastian about 45 minutes away. Be prepared, you will find steep dirt road access to the parking area and it gets even steeper when hiking on foot to the waterfall area. It used to be downright dangerous, but the park added cement steps with railings and walkways to viewing areas in 2010. Wear comfortable shoes and prepare to get wet. Hiking-style sandals with straps would be recommended for traction, to protect your feet, and dry quickly.

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Gozalandia Falls, San Sebastian, PR

The falls empty into a swimming hole before continuing down the rocky river bed. A recent rain will make the 50’ falls even more amazing. The water in November, after some pretty heavy rains, was still comfortable for swimming. Even though the weather was mid-80s, it was a little cooler in the shade of the trees. We spotted a drone or two taking photos above our heads to get some crazy angles.

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Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla

We just had to see what the fuss was about at Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla. A half hour north of Rincon, local fishermen paint their boats in bright colors, load up their gear, push their boats off the beach and into the ocean to fish for the day. On their return, there is no dock to tie up to so they get a running start and head full tilt to crash onto the beach as far as they can go before dragging the boat onto rollers and hauling it up further to unload their catch.

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Crash Boats Beach Fishing Boats

There is a long cement pier on one end with a strange bright yellow metal doorway to nowhere. You can walk through it and continue down the pier. You may see a man surrounded by pelicans. Some train them for taking pictures with tourists and it is probably the closest look you can get to a wild pelican.

Look for a rock wall with the national flag painted on it near a path up the rock face that has crumbled from weather. A vendor style food stand is located just off the parking lot. This is a watersport beach and considered a great spot for Scuba diving. The beach is wide for sunbathing, but not for swimming.

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Each of these sites is a personal experience I will treasure. Puerto Rico is loaded with other activities, beaches, restaurants, shopping, and historical sites. They provided countless opportunities for extreme picture taking.

I have one more location to share that had so many things to see and explore, I put a third article together titled, La Cueva del Indio in Aricebo.Click link.

La Cueva del Indio is a hiking excursion through caves to see views of rock bridges and arches and find isolated beaches with incredible scenery. The tallest statue in the US is visible as you approach the town of Arecibo.

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Dreamtrips Travel Club has encouraged me to plan more travel. I am expanding my mind, experiences, and culture everywhere I go; I am determined to work on my bucket list of destinations now, while I’m healthy. I would be happy to share information about it with you. Leave your contact information on the site or contact me by email at uppiklos@gmail.com.

Rincon, Puerto Rico, and Surrounding Treasures

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Almost any destination has areas of interest, and you want to find the best opportunities for your idea of fun and adventure. I have the inside track on the west coast town of Rincon, Puerto Rico, for hikers, water sports, dining, and nature enthusiasts. If you are like me, sometimes you prefer to visit places off the beaten path and out of peak tourist season.  This trip itinerary was put together for the end of November.

The rates to fly to Puerto Rico are extremely reasonable this time of year. The San Juan airport is the main international airport on the island, it is small and easy to navigate, and a short walk to get to the car rental area. Take a carry-on and you will breeze right through your flight schedule.map-of-puerto-rico

There are typical car rental rates in November, but a bigger selection of newer cars to choose from with very low miles. My car had 128 miles on it and still had the plastic on the seatbelt connections and the new car smell. I had 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to the surfing beach town of Rincon, Puerto Rico. I could have flown into the closer Aguadilla Airport, but San Juan had less expensive options and I wanted to explore anyway.

The Mental Adjustment

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Rooftop rental with seating, hammock, and pool

It’s my belief that traveling to my destination is part of the vacation. Snacks and drinks in the airport, reading a book I’ve been dying to crack open during a layover, a movie on the plane ride, and hopefully a window seat for take-off and landing, are part of the experience. It helps if you revert to child-like wonder from the moment you leave work and start packing. A perk of my trip is a membership to Dreamtrips travel club and having what is called “Rovia bucks” gained from sharing the club with friends who love to travel as well as I do. This club account paid for my airline ticket and sent me through expedited security lines. I didn’t start spending money until I picked up my rental car. I could have covered my accommodations by searching for a pre-packaged vacation or an available hideaway in the area but opted for a private rental option with friends who live in Puerto Rico instead.

There are many places to see between San Juan and Rincon driving along the west coast of Puerto Rico and I had researched a few ideas ahead of time. Waking in a comfortable bed on the first day in my Rincon rental, I felt the ceiling fan and open windows blow the humid 82-degree air over my body and was immediately psyched for morning coffee on the rooftop. I left the rain and chilly air of Charlotte, North Carolina, far behind to stay with people who spend six months of the year in Puerto Rico’s Rincon area who were going to be really helpful finding my kind of vacation entertainment. I walked upstairs to find myself in a tropical paradise of plants, outdoor cushioned furniture, a hammock, and a small pool. The sky was blue and I could see the ocean in the distance. I was already taking pictures to send home.

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The old church sign at my Rincon rental

The rental I was staying in used to be an old church. It was an open floorplan, light wood, tile floors, and brightly colored walls with beach themed decoration; totally my idea of an oceanside cottage. Three bedrooms and two baths with one outdoor shower made it perfect to share as everyone had their own privacy. Open windows allowed us to be serenaded by tree frogs at night and awakened by crowing roosters in the morning.

Caribbean Beaches

We all eased into the first day with a trip to local Rincon beaches. Getting from point A to point B means navigating roads that are only a lane and half wide with periodic hairpin blind turns. Take the extra car rental insurance and bravely explore. Eventually, you will be driving like the locals, in the middle of the road, relying on reflexes, and blowing through red lights late at night. You will note the cars parked outside their residences are marked by a series of fender benders with age.

Local Rincon Beaches
Local Rincon Beaches

Sandy Beach, like many beaches, is lined with palm trees on one side and turquoise ocean water on the other. Since the area is known for surfing, many of the beaches are rocky and it’s hard to walk into the water without tripping, but Sandy Beach is “swimming friendly” where you can walk easily in and out of the water, snorkel and float, then relax on a beach chair. A convenient boutique size hotel and bar called Tamboo is on the beach when you feel like getting some food and refreshment. Stay the day or hop over to Steps Beach – named for the mysterious cement stoop – sitting in the water near the shore. This beach is a little rocky, but good for snorkeling since there are places for fish to play hide and seek.

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Dome Beach in Rincon

Dome beach was once an active military installation that officially shuttered its doors in 2012. Within the dome was a boiling nuclear superheater run by general electric from 1965-68. There is now a museum of atomic science, a local surfing beach with trails, rocky outcrops and a view of the mysterious looking dome over the tropical trees and vegetation. It is now a premier surfing beach for skilled locals and tourists.

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Rincon Lighthouse

Next to Dome Beach is the Rincon Lighthouse sitting atop a small hill. You may find a stand for handmade jewelry outside, a grassy courtyard is often used for weddings for its picturesque views of beaches from above, and there is a convenient restroom facility.

Beach Activities and Equipment Rental

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Rincon Paddle Boards

If you like watersports, locate Rincon Paddleboard Rentals owned and operated by Damiano and Chicako who are Rincon locals. Find them on the main website or on Facebook and learn about how they can teach you to paddleboard, surf, kayak, and snorkel as well as take you on tours. They have all the necessary equipment for each activity

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“Big Red” Paddle Board, Rincon Paddle Board Rental

available to rent. Tell them Don Klos sent you for a surprise on your visit. They are located on the beach and can take you out as soon as you are ready. Keep in mind that Puerto Rico has 501km or 311 miles of coastline and this is just the western section.

Dining and Accommodations

Playa Maria Beach access is next to the Calypso Café which has a bar with live music in the evenings. There are a couple of beach shops that provide great reasons to get out of the sun for a bit, soothe your skin, and hydrate.

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The Lazy Parrot Mini Resort, Rincon, PR

The Lazy Parrot Mini Resort in Rincon has an island atmosphere suitable for events and weddings. It has hotel rooms and suites, a gift shop, restaurant, and poolside bar in the courtyard. Stay there to take complete advantage of the amenities or just visit the bar and take in a game or two over a local Medalla beer.

Grab an authentic English style breakfast or tea at the English Rose Bed and Breakfast located up a winding road surrounded by lush foliage, ending on a hilltop with breathtaking views for miles. Have a relaxing brunch or reserve a guesthouse overlooking the pool and stay a while.

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Aloha Surf Curbside bar and restaurant

The Aloha Surf is an outdoor food stand and bar right in town beside other local restaurants. The owner, Crystal, may be your chef,  creating local favorites like fresh seafood, steak, chicken, and pork pinchos which are pieces of meat pierced with a stick like a kabob. Empanadillas are another Spanish dish of pastries filled with the same meats as the pinchos either chopped or ground. These finger foods are very popular fare found along every roadside throughout the island, but there are always those that come highly recommended over others.

Located right on the beach, La Copa Llena at the Black Eagle is the setting for spectacular sunsets, unique menu items and specials like Poke (a yellow fin tuna dish), tostones (mashed green plantains), butter-poached mackerel, and ribs that melt in your mouth.

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Sunset at Hotel Villa Cofresi

The Hotel Villa Cofresi is a beach resort. Upon entering you will see their gift shop, pass by an open-air game room with billiard tables on the right and a pool on the left, and then find a seat at the bar overlooking the pelicans and boats on the ocean. Their signature drink, The Pirate Special, is several types of rum mixed with coconut milk, sprinkled with cinnamon, and served inside a freshly opened coconut shell. The entire drink does not fit in the coconut so it comes with an overflow cup. It is the perfect drink at the end of a beach day.

Finding fresh seafood in Rincon is not hard to do, but if you are looking for an exceptional recipe and presentation, you need to visit Saltaire and the Casa Verde Hotel. The chef, Christopher, studied the culinary arts while living in New York City where he refined his skills in fine dining and opened a restaurant in Puerto Rico. He showcases the variety of fresh catches, such as red snapper, along with lamb chops, stuffed mushrooms, fresh gnocchi, and even coconut bread pudding. The outdoor bar on the ground floor is decorated with little white lights and potted plants for ambiance and there is plenty of room to dance in the evening.

Saltaire is only open during Puerto Rico’s winter season – November through April -and we were lucky not to miss them! Contact them at Saltaire.info@gmail.com to ask about specials and tell them Don Klos sent you!

 Day Trips from Rincon

My separate article on Click link〉〉Day Trips from Rincon features details of visiting the following locations by car:

The best part of my trip: La Cueva del Indio with caves and isolated beaches an hour and a half north of Rincon in the town of Arecibo.

A third article titled Click link〉〉 La Cueva del Indio, Arecibo is dedicated to this location with many photos of the site and is certainly worth reading!

The end of this visit was filled with memories of things that can’t be seen or experienced elsewhere. Puerto Rico is loaded with other activities, beaches, restaurants, shopping, and historical sites. That will be the subject of another trip.

I would not have necessarily thought of taking a trip just after Thanksgiving, but Dreamtrips Rovia bucks eventually expire after a year and I wanted to take full advantage of my travel dollars. It’s hard to imagine needing the incentive to travel, but many of us put off plans more than we act on them. I joined the travel club to be sure I would see new places at least once a year if not several times each year. For more information, email me at uppiklos@gmail.com.

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Drink like a local!

 

Dreaming of Visiting the Island of Puerto Rico

You might be looking for adventure or relaxation, but a combination of both is found in Puerto Rico. Enjoy the island on your own or by a guided tour. There are stunning beaches, beautiful bays, tropical forests, spectacular caves, and unlimited adventures.

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10 Suggestions

  1. Nearly everyone arrives by plane at San Juan and there are several places to visit within an hour and a half of the city. Start by renting a car if you like to vacation on your own schedule. You will be more likely to experience the cultural nuances and local foods on your travels. You may discover something that is not on the list of typical tourist activities. San Juan is a great place to start for a cruise, check out this Dreamtrip cruise to St.Croix, Martinique, Dominica, Basseterre, St.Kitts, Nevis, Charlotte Amalie and St. Thomas.

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  1. San Juan is full of great shops and excellent restaurants, outdoor plazas and cafes. There is also, Old San Juan, full of historic buildings including houses, churches, museums, and other attractions. Take a walking tour or see the sights by riding the free trolley.  Or look into this Dreamtrip which includes New Years in SanJuan at an exclusive VIP party

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The forts, San Felipe del Morro and San Cristobal, are two great attractions, especially if you enjoy history and architecture.  You see wonderful views and get amazing vacation photos. Puerto Rico offers about 300 unique beaches and one of the closest beaches to the San Juan metro area is Playa Puerto Nuevo.

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Sample the local flavor — Mofongo is a popular Puerto Rican dish of mashed plantains with added seafood, meat, and vegetables or Lechon, a delicious roasted pork dish. Give them a try along with exotic tropical fruits, and of course, rum drinks!

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  1. Fajardo is one of the most originally beautiful spots on the island’s shores. Located in the east region of the island, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, it is a major boating center with a wide range of rentals and charters available. Fajardo’s beaches have tranquil, clear water for the best snorkeling. Seven Seas Beach has many water sports facilities, offshore points for sailing, snorkeling, and plenty of scuba diving. Go on our Dreamtrip to Fajardo which includes access to Palomino Island and beach, a 100-acre private oasis.

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  1. There are scheduled ferries to Culebra and Vieques. Culebra is the home of Flamenco Beach. Take a day trip by ferry and even spend the night to have more time to enjoy the clear water and sparkling white sand surrounded by rolling green hills. Various charters by plane or ferry will take you to Vieques for the day, we encourage you to spend the night to experience the incredible beaches by day and the bioluminescent bay at night. A “New Moon” phase provides the best experience.

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  1. Hike El Yunque National Forest, or another tropical forest. El Yunque is nominated as one of the natural wonders of the world with cool, crisp air, lush greenery and refreshing spring waters. It is 45 mins from San Juan. For the full experience, you’ll need a full morning and afternoon.  Stop by a bakery in town for sandwiches and plenty of drinks. Don’t miss this Dreamtrip which includes a Rainforest excursion in El Yunque National Forest.

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  1. Explore a Cave in the Karst Region. Even if you’re not into caves, the Camuy River Cave Park, one of the most impressive natural attractions of Puerto Rico. It is the third largest underground river and cave system in the world. A tour begins with a fun trolley ride down the steep rolling mountainside, great for children. Views of the lush tropical foliage covering the grounds and towering above. You will reach Cueva Clara which is about 170 feet in height and given a set of headphones that describes your walk through marvelous stalagmites and stalactites formed over thousands of years by Rio Camuy. You see sleeping bats and enjoy sights and sounds of an underground river at a sinkhole of about 150 feet deep. Try Cueva Ventanacaves if you are more adventurous. Check out this WorldVentures Dreamtrip which includes full-day cave excursion to Cueva Ventana, Cueva del Indio, Waterfall at Charco Hondo; includes transportation, equipment, lunch, fees, taxes and gratuity.
    Half-day Bioluminescent Bay Tour in glass bottom kayak; includes tour, round-trip transportation, taxes and gratuity.

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  1. Also in the karst region, you will find the largest radio telescope in the world. This magnificent man-made wonder has been seen on the Hollywood hits, Contact and Golden Eye.  Capture amazing photos of this man made exhibit filled with a variety of interactive and audiovisual displays and information. Visitors are introduced to basic astronomy, atmospheric science, and the operation of the radio telescope and its related research areas.

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  1. The most scenic location on the island is located in the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge.  Spend the majority of your morning or afternoon here, then discover the nightlife at the village of Boqueron Hike nature trails with picturesque vistas, tour the Salt Flats, visit La Playuela Beach, and the historic Los Morrillos Lighthouse. You will find limestone cliffs with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea.

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  1. Caja de Muertos is located off the coast of the city of Ponce and is an underrated destination you won’t find on travel lists.   This uninhabited island is home to Playa Pelicano, winner of the Blue Flag award as a pelican sanctuary.  It offers a great hiking trail leading to lighthouse ruins, majestic views at the very top, and access to another secluded gorgeous beach, perfect for swimming on the west side between the dock and Cerro Morillo.

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  1. Take a ferry or charter boat and enjoy a full day of sunbathing, hiking and snorkeling.  It is a haven for endangered turtles, birds and sea life and also unique fauna and flora. Look for the submarine trail created a few years ago with 25 educational stations along the trail indicating the different species. There are no crowds, restaurants or stores; perfect for nature lovers. Bring your own supplies and a cooler with food and drinks, or rent beach chairs and umbrellas with an all-inclusive food and drink package on the 35-minute ferry ride from La Guancha in Ponce

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However you slice it, Puerto Rico has everything you are looking for in a Caribbean escape. Join me in the #1 travel club on the planet and go for less. Push play at www.vacationsooner.com and see why for yourself. See you on the beaches of the world.

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Sources and Links:

Dreamtrips Fajardo Peurto Rico site, https://www.facebook.com/events/1807664199454440/

Puerto Rico, Top 10 Attractions and Must Visit Places, http://islandsofpuertorico.com/top-ten-attractions-must-see-places-puerto-rico/

Gwen, 2011. Top 10 Must-See and Must-Do Things, http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/top-10-must-see-do/

Jamaica: ‘Irie’ Vibes and Dynamic Culture

Jamaica is a beautifully unique destination with intoxicating culture and cuisine that can be truly appreciated. A WorldVentures Dreamtrip to Jamaica is within reach.  From music, weather, food and drink, unrivaled landscapes and views, to doing absolutely nothing, this place begs you to have fun “Jamaican style”. There is plenty to do depending on your notion of excitement or escape.

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Relax your Mind

Ocho Rios contains the incredible beauty of waterfalls and rivers. The setting includes unique caves, picturesque gardens, and soft white sandy beaches. To step it up a little, Negril is where you want to be. It is protected from large-scale tourism and maintains a peaceful feel while strolling or lounging on 7 Mile Beach, hanging at the Kool Runnings Water Park, or just casually watching the sunsets at Jake’s.

The food and drink are cleverly inspired by the island’s fresh caught seafood and indigenous fruits and vegetables whether you are fine-dining or looking for local fare. Pier One on the waterfront in Montego Bay has an experience that includes beautiful views, spectacular cuisine, open-air bars, and live entertainment until 4am. More delicious food destinations are Scotchie’s and Mom’s in Ocho Rios for authentic fare.

island love. leaf in sand

Absorb the Music and Culture

Reggae music alone is a wonderful reason to visit Jamaica, the birthplace of Bob Marley. Live entertainment throughout the island is infused with the history of old and new talent; traditional steel pan to fresh new sounds on the Reggae scene as well as other genres. Go out and sample the ambiance that inspired it like the lush mountains, soft sandy beaches, and turquoise water. Even a car ride is an excursion to drink in the beautiful vistas and atmosphere; smell the ocean and feel the vibes.

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Explore and Engage the Island

Montego Bay is the tourist capital where on our Dreamtrip will find a mile of entertainment including restaurants and shopping, check out Great Houses and Plantations, or maybe play a round of golf on one of the 5 Championship courses. Head to the South Coast for safaris in the lush landscape of Nassau Valley and be sure to sample the Jamaican rum, a Papaya Daiquiri or Red Stripe at one of the quaint restaurants and bars. Soak and meditate at the Milk River Bath and Spa.

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Find your way now and feel the excitement start to build.  Join me in the #1 travel/lifestyle club on the planet. We take you there for less. See what we are about at www.vacationsooner.com. Refresh your attitude and return wearing a Jamaican tan and a smile.

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Resources and Links:

Jake’s Treasure Beach, Jamaica. 2015. http://www.jakeshotel.com/eat-local/jack-sprat/

Pier One, http://pieronejamaica.com/

Visit Jamaica, http://www.visitjamaica.com/milk-river

Barbados is Pure Pleasure

This island is packed with activities, one of which is simply to relax. If you want a place to mix it up a little, this is a great choice for your destination. Several golf courses, historic architecture, and glorious beaches are good places to start your adventures, but sporting events, shopping, and nightlife will keep the momentum going.

Beach and palms.Cariby a

Distinctive Beaches

The west coast of the island is the best for sunbathing and swimming, from Brighton Beach to Bottom Bay. The east and south are best for surfing, such as Sandy Beach and Bathsheba, known for its annual International Reef Surfing Competition called the Soup Bowl. Choose your beach location based on your water sport including windsurfing, scuba diving, or sipping frozen rum drinks on the sand.

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Elegant Nature

Explore caves like the crystallized caverns of Harrison Cave, one of the busiest family attractions on the island, or a more unique experience at Animal Flower Cave which is the islands’ only sea cave filled with sea anemones in ocean pools and a perfect location for a picnic. If you enjoy the natural beauty of botanical gardens, Flower Forest has over 50 acres brimming with wild gardens full of spectacular flowers, spice trees, and unbelievable views.

Island History

Discover history at one of many plantations on the island. St. Nicholas Abbey has tours of their distillery which creates famous, homegrown, Barbadian Rum. Learning about the history and recipes, then have a moonlight dinner on the grounds. Barbados has a rich past told through stories behind the construction of old churches, military forts, and sugarcane fields and a Caribbean culture that attends opera, has horse races, cricket matches, and plays polo.

breakfast by the sea

Flavors and Sounds

Nightlife is best found in Bridgetown, St. Lawrence Gap or Oistin Bay. For the younger set, modern clubs and restaurants lure them in along the strip of St. Lawrence. For others, live steel pan and jazz may be more tempting. Whichever you choose, go out to ‘lime’ to calypso music with local bands when the sun goes down, taking part in open-air dance clubs to immerse yourself in the island vibe.

Barbados sunset.Investepedia Source

Memories

No island adventure would be complete without shopping for a memento of the trip. Many will choose duty-free shopping at the cruise ship harbor on Broad St. in Bridgetown where you will certainly get a deal on a liter of my personal favorite famous Mount Gay Rum. By now you’ll have lots of pictures of your journey around the island to share online and at home. Falling in love with the island is the only hazard, however you can always return. You can afford too when you belong to the #1 travel club on the planet, WorldVentures. Find out why we are all so happy and push play at www.vacationsooner.com and see what you’ve been missing. www.donklos.worldventures.biz and join me on the beaches of the world.

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Resources:

Barbados.org, 2016. http://www.barbados.org/aniflow.htm#.VrtYxFQrJaU http://www.barbados.org/eat.htm#.VruHiFQrJaV http://www.barbados.org/shop.htm#.VruHwFQrJaU

FlowerForestBarbados.com, 2016. http://www.flowerforestbarbados.com/

MountGayRum.com, 2016. http://www.mountgayrum.com/

US News and World Report, Travel, 2016. Best Things To Do in Barbados, http://travel.usnews.com/Barbados/Things_To_Do/

Jamaica’s Best Secrets

Are you and warm-weather adventurer? Look no further than the island of Jamaica for exploration of history, sites, and sounds. The home of the original pirates of the Caribbean beckons with miles of white sand beaches and luxury villas overlooking the pristine landscape that meets the rolling waves of the ocean.

Pirates and Privateers

Port Royal was the 17th centuries home of debauchery for buccaneers and pirates looking for bars and brothels. It also headquartered the Royal Navy and a commercial center for trading slaves, sugar, and logwood. When a massive earthquake and tsunami sank a large part of the city into the sea, it permanently changed the landscape but left behind a preserved 33-acre city visible just 40 feet below the surface. It contains military forts and several sunken ships. The remains of pirate and Lieutenant Governor, Captain Henry Morgan as well as Black Bart’s ship, the Ranger are now part of one of the most historic archeological sites today.

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Experience the sensation of “floating over rooftops”. Skilled divers have been exploring since the 1950s and special access is required. However, the items recovered are at the Museums of History and Ethnography at the Institute of Jamaica in Kingston and the National Museum of Historical Archaeology is dedicated to the history of Port Royal. There is a remaining fort at the Fort Charles and Fort Charles Maritime Museum rebuilt over the years and preserved.

Fountains and Gardens

Nestled in the foothills of the John Crow mountains of St. Thomas Parish are the healing waters of The Bath Fountain. Natural Springs are sought to help the recovery of gout, rheumatism, and skin conditions. One hot source and one cold flow through rocks and bamboo pipes and contain elements like Sulphur, Lime, and Magnesium

visit jamaica

To heighten the experience, foreign plants were brought in to create the Bath Botanical Gardens including Ackee, breadfruit, and Otaheite apples by Captain Bligh in 1793. More exotic species followed in 1782 brought by French vessels. Food crops were cultivated along with decorative and medicinal plants to provide a serene place to enjoy the baths.

Rum and Reggae

No visit to Jamaica is complete without learning the history of rum. The Appleton Estate Rum Tour is in the Nassau Valley on the south coast of the island. The estate grounds are beautiful and provide the ingredients for many kinds of distilled rum and samples of sugar cane, cane juice, and molasses.

If you’re going to visit Jamaica in July, do it during its weeklong festival of Reggae Sumfest 2016 celebrating Jamaican reggae music. Concerts, dances, and parties promoting music in Montego Bay, the island’s second-largest city. It’s incredibly popular and you will want to reserve a few months in advance. Bring a large blanket, beach towel, or folding chair to sit and rest your legs. Both chair and food vendors are available. Bring your appetite to try plenty of Jamaican delights like jerk chicken and roti.

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So, what are you waiting for? Join me on the beaches of the world with WorldVentures the #1 travel club on the planet. Push play at www.vacationsooner.com and see what we are all about.

Resources and links:

AppletonRumTour.com, 2016. http://appletonrumtour.com/

Davis, N., BBC News, Kington, 2012. Jamaica’s ‘wickedest city’ Port Royal banks on heritage, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18601357

JamaicaTravelandCulture.com, 2016. http://www.jamaicatravelandculture.com/destinations/st_thomas/bath.htm http://www.jamaicatravelandculture.com/destinations/st_thomas/bath/bath-botanicalgardens.htm

ReggaeSumFestJamaica.com, 2016. http://www.reggaesumfestjamaica.com/

VisitJamaica.com, 2016. http://www.visitjamaica.com/port-royal-walking-tour