Our first offical visit was to the Castillo San Felipe del Morro: a 16th-century Spanish fortification, designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay, and defend the Spanish colonial port city of San Juan from seaborne enemies.
Afterwards, we hopped on the city trolley to explore the streets of Old San Juan. The first photo was taken just down the street from La Fortaleza, the current official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico, in Old San Juan. The Governor’s mansion, and the street leading up to it, were closed due to political protests that day.
We later visited the Catedral Metropolitana Basílica de San Juan Bautista, the Roman Catholic cathedral of San Juan and one of the oldest buildings in Old San Juan. The musician playing just outside the Cathedral had a beautiful voice, perfectly suited to the pretty and peaceful square.
I loved this mural depicting the festive side of Old San Juan:
Felisa Rincón de Gautier (Reina de Los pobres / Queen of the poor) was the first woman to be elected as the Mayor of a capital city in the Americas, serving as mayor of San Juan for 22 years, from 1946 to 1968. She was a firm believer in the women’s right to vote and was an active participant in the suffragist movement, motivating many women to register.
I loved the vibrant colors of Old San Juan, and every person we met was so incredibly friendly.
We stopped at the lovely Rosa de Triana (2nd picture below), a historic Spanish Tapas restaurant for some lunch which we enjoyed in their new garden. (Those photos are on my phone!)
We also visited the other fort in San Juan, El Castillo de San Cristobal, and enjoyed some beautiful ocean and city views from up top:
It turns out there’s a cat sanctuary, Save-A-Gato, along the old city wall close to El Morro. Old San Juan has a very large population of cats. You see them everywhere. We also saw this cool caterpillar!
The next day we drove to Fajardo where we caught a ferry to Culebra Island to luxuriate on the beautiful Flamenco Beach:
We ended up meeting a photographer couple visiting from Utah on the beach, so I happily handed my camera over for these cute shots of the three of us, playing mermaid 🙂
Having fun on the other side of the camera!
The next day we headed West to Arecibo for some cave exploration!
The second cave, La Cueva Ventana (Window Cave), offered a spectacular view of the Arecibo Valley:
We then made our way toward the Indian Caves, stopping along the way at La Posa del Obispo, a beautiful beach with a coral reef border that created a natural saltwater pool (again, pics on my phone!) Unfortunately, we got to the caves a bit late, and the entrance was closed for the day, so instead, we stopped at a nearby beach for a drink and watched the sunset:
The following day, after a tour of the Bacardi Rum Factory, I paid the neighboring town of Cataño, a little visit:
Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to post more pics from our trip later…until then, Hasta la Proxima!