San Juan Puerto Rico

View of Old San Juan from Castillo San Cristobal
San Cristobal

San Juan Puerto Rico

Turret at Castillo San Cristobal

There is just no easy way to get to Puerto Rico from California.  It is a long day of changing planes which gets you to the island late in the evening.    After finding our hotel, John and I searched for a place to eat that was still open and we ended up in a casino.  The next day we met for breakfast, planned our day and finished up our work in San Juan.  We needed drive to Aguadilla which was on the other side of the island but first we had some sightseeing to do.

John needed to buy some supplies for some hiking he would do at the end of our trip.   Our first order of fun was to go shopping.   I was the navigator via GPS. He was driving so fast on the little streets and deciding he knew a better way that the GPS could not catch up. I asked him to stop and park a minute so I could get a sense of where we were and where we were going.  Once we got our bearings we started up again only to be stopped by the police.   Apparently we were driving in the buss only lane.  The police started to speak in Spanish and we replied ”tourista.”  It was pretty obvious we were not locals. Luckily they were fluent in English and started to explain our traffic offense. We apologized and told them we were Americans trying to make our way to the shopping mall.   Instead of a ticket they gave a police escort to the mall. “Welcome to Puerto Rico. “ It was pretty funny and a bit embarrassing.  

After our quick shopping trip we found our way, by ourselves to Castillo San Cristobal. This was an important outpost built by Spain in the 1783 to fortify the West Indies and to protect the city of San Juan.

This is an expansive fort that originally covered 27 acres.  After years of peace, part of the fort was destroyed to ease traffic around the city.  It is still quite large and sets right on the edge of the Ocean.  From the fort’s long walkways you can see far down the coastline, the wide open expanse of the ocean  and some pretty impressive city views.  We happened to be there on a bright beautiful sunny day and it felt good to be out the rain and fog soaking up the sun a world away from home.  The fort is a World Heritage Site and has a rich and storied history and I was pretty happy to be playing hooky for a few hours as we wandered through the living quarters, the jail, the chapel, the turrets and the sentry boxes. Just imagine parts of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, being filmed here.  The filmmakers could not have picked a better setting.

After losing a few hours wandering the castle we had to face the music and get going to Aguadilla. It would have been nice to spend another day exploring the city of old San Juan but we were working after all.  It was at least a one and half hour ride on a good day.   We started going one way around the island and John abruptly stopped and turned around to go the other way stating emphatically that it was shorter.  I gave up the navigation duties.  By the time we found ”The Rincon Beach Resort” it was about two and half hours later and we were both tired and hungry.  We checked into our rooms and then met up for dinner at the hotel restaurant to discuss the next day’s meetings. After dinner we explored the hotel grounds. The pool and the beach were pretty nice. We had planned well for this trip, work during the day and swim and snorkel in the evening.  It was pretty tough duty.

Graveyard at San Cristobal

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Latest comments

09.05 | 12:43

Nina, so enjoyed your description/s of place and experience/s. It almost felt like I was right next to you throughout your journey! Thank you for sharing!

24.03 | 20:01

Great article, Nina. Now I wish I had gone there when I was in Bath. Hopefully, there will be another opportunity to go there someday....

18.03 | 18:48

I've been to Bath twice myself. And have gone to Sally Lunn's twice, too. Took my English cousins to Bath. It was their first time there and they loved it.

10.03 | 20:13

As a kid, I spent my summers in New York state. As an adult, I have had many recurring dreams about going there. I have gone back and the memories rekindle.

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