Sunday 21 Apr, Puerto Rico day 17: Happy Easter! Road trip again, on our last tourist day in Puerto Rico exploring the SW corner.
Today we rent a hire car to explore the last corner of Puerto Rico. The marina has two cars to rent and one is coming back in this morning at 10:30am. So it’s a leisurely start to the morning, sending Happy Easter messages to friends and family. It seems to be summer-like weather in the UK over the Easter weekend and that side of the family all seem very happy about it. Almost seems odd now, to hear people happy about being off work AND having nice weather, when we now get both ALL the time. Hmmm should we feel guilty about that? After 31 years of pretty intensive work… nope, I don’t feel guilty at all of our present situation, sorry about that!
We pick up the car on time and as usual, within 15 minutes of driving off, it’s raining! What is it with us and hire cars? But it doesn’t last long and soon we are baking in the heat again.
First stop is the old town of San German. Lots of old building here and as usual an impressive church next to a town square which itself is fringed with Spanish architecture from 17-1800s. We had hoped to be in time for the Easter Mass service in the church, but that was long over. Instead, the priest was performing a christening. Inside the church is really beautiful. Just like any church in a major Spanish town.
And we are reminded again just how established Spanish culture was in their Caribbean islands, while the English and French didn’t really invest so much in the infrastructure of the crumbs (small islands) that they continually fought over. Well, of course they fought the Spanish too, but only to pirate their valuable cargo, not really to fight for the possession of the Spanish islands. Ironic how us English view piracy these days… when we actually invented it!
We also find a very nice coffee shop in San German and have probably the best coffee we ever tasted. But we made the mistake of ordering some eggs too (gotta have eggs for Easter right?) Which took 1 hour before they finally came out of the kitchen. Not much of a tip was left in that cafe!
From here we head to Yauco, a small town to the east of St. German which is famous for art, and in particular murals around the town. We walk the streets and indeed there are several walls and cascades of steps that are very nicely painted. All very photogenic and lots of people about to see them. Interesting how such an ordinary looking town has managed to gain fame from the work of just a few artists. One street in particular has ALL the houses painted in one grande mural design and it’s very busy with people taking photos and selfies. Who would agree to have their house painted in a scheme like this, knowing you would then be inundated with visiting tourists? Nevertheless, an interesting experience for us.
From Yauco we plot a direct course to Cabo Rojo beach and lighthouse on the extreme SW tip of the island. It’s now late afternoon and on the way there we see a stream of traffic heading in the opposite direction away from the coastline. Today is the last day of the holiday weekend and everyone is heading home from the beach. We certainly wouldn’t want to be on the highway back to San Juan this evening. It will be a zoo!
Closer to Cabo Rojo the land suddenly becomes extremely dry with no greenery at all. This corner of the island is away from the rain clouds that run down the islands center. It’s amazing how it can be tropical lush green one mile and transform to almost desert-dry the next.
Finally, we make it to the beach at Cabo Rojo. The best light has now gone (along with the crowds) and while it looked amazing as we sailed passed, it now just looks like any plain white sand beach – nothing special. And there is lots of rotting seaweed in the see and along the beach.
From here we head in the general direction north, back to the boat, stopping briefly at Buye Beach. This is another lovely beach which was clearly totally mobbed today judging by how far back up the road cars are parked. No wonder the towns we visited seemed so quiet. It must have been a mass exodus to the beach for the whole country today!
Our last stop is Hormigueros. A small town that someone told us is rather cute. It was OK, but nothing special… or maybe we are just touristed-out by now. It’s time to go see a new island we think. This one can be firmly ticked as done!
Back at the Marina Pescaderia, we have a fair amount of water to bail out the dinghy before we get back to our cozy nest. Cloudy Bay has been a good girl as usual, and stayed where we left her, even if she is now pointing in the opposite direction.
The evening is relaxing on board ready for a busy day tomorrow. There will be shopping, laundry and hopefully finalizing the shipment of the spinnaker to St. Martin. Then we can leave to Dominican Republic, a passage of nearly 200 miles which will be our first night sailing since arriving from Bermuda. I’m kind of excited about night sailing again.