Third Destination on My Dream Trip Around the World
10.05.2015 - 10.05.2015 25 °C
The third destination on my voyage around the world is San Juan Puerto Rico. After a relatively short flight (3 hours) from Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, to Luiz Munoz Marin International Airport here in San Juan, I have just checked into my hotel, La Concha Renaissance Resort, located right on Condado Beach. The flight cost about $900.00 and covered a distance of 1792 kilometres. Since my flight arrived early in the morning, I still have the entire day available to enjoy San Juan! Currently, the weather is perfect - not too hot or humid - so I have decided to spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon sunbathing and swimming at the beach.
Three hours have passed since I first got to the beach, and the staff at the hotel have just prepared a beach barbecue for all guests. I think this is my cue to dry up, have lunch, and leave the beach behind for now to visit some of San Juan's other attractions. I plan to visit Old San Juan today, a part of the city which dates back about 500 years, and simply take a leisurely stroll through the colonial neighbourhood. I will be on the lookout for small local cafes where I can sample authentic Puerto Rican desserts, as well as shops selling local handicrafts.
My walk through the historic colonial neighbourhood of Old San Juan has so far, turned out to be an enjoyable experience. I have noticed a few similarities, but also several differences to the old colonial neighbourhood that I visited in Panama City. Therefore, this experience has allowed me to realize the uniqueness of each place as it pertains to the history and culture of its respective inhabitants. I have also stumbled upon a few of those shops I'd hoped to find, and was able to purchase some traditional Puerto Rican souvenirs. At the current moment, I am sitting in a small cafe, drinking a coffee and looking out onto a cobblestone street - just as I had imagined my experience of Old San Juan would be. It is getting late, so I will take a taxi back to my hotel after I finish my coffee and eat a buffet dinner at the hotel tonight. However, I don't think I'll go right to bed after dinner. A peaceful walk along the beach at night, when the water is calm and there is no one in sight, sound like a relaxing way to end off my first day here in San Juan.
It is now the morning of my second day in Puerto Rico. Today, I will be travelling back to Old San Juan to visit the San Juan National Historic Site. This site is made up of Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal, two seventeenth century citadels, as well as city walls from the same time period and another citadel, Fort San Juan de la Cruz. I have learned that all of the structures which comprise the Historic Site were built during the time Puerto Rico was under Spanish rule. It is hard to imagine that, 400 years ago, a fierce battle was raging in the very fort in which I currently stand, an the now inoperable cannons I stand beside played a major role in defending it from invaders. All in all, I feel this visit to San Juan's forts has really given me a picture of what life was like in the colonial era for the inhabitants of this beautiful city. Also, the fact that these structures are still standing, despite being involved in many battles is impressive in itself.
Now I can see why the National Historic Site is regarded as San Juan's must-see attraction. However, my second day in Puerto Rico continues. After lunch, I will head back to Condado beach to make the most of the warm temperature, and also try my hand at some extreme water sports, such as wake-boarding, surfing and windsurfing. Should be fun!
The water was great and the waves were perfect, but now I'm ready for dinner. I will be eating tonight at the Oceano restaurant, where I have heard that the food is delicious, but the atmosphere is even better, as the restaurant is located right on the coast and offers diners breathtaking view of the ocean. Dinner will conclude my second day in San Juan.
Today is my third day in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Having just finished eating breakfast at my hotel, I am currently on my way to the El Yunque National Forest, about 40 minutes southeast of the city. There, I will be partaking in a rainforest adventure tour, during which, I will zipline through the forest and repel down cliffs and into caverns.
I have just completed my ziplining and repelling experience in the rainforest and I can safely say it is one of the most incredible things I've ever done. The forest looks so different from the air than from the ground, and I was surprised at how deep the caves were. Tonight, after dinner, I will pack up my clothes and souvenirs, and have a quick nap before heading to the airport for my flight to Lisbon, Portugal.