Friday 12 Apr, Puerto Rico day 8, Arecibo: Visit the Arecibo Observatory and drive the rest of the north-east coast (which is surfers paradise), from Camuy to Aguacate.
The only plus of this accommodation is the bed not moving compared to Cloudy Bay. Neither of us slept too well. And on the same not so cheerful note, the weather continues to be dull and rainy.
We start the road trip towards The Arecibo Observatory, passing through small villages nuzzled in among the karst hills.
The observatory is based around the world’s biggest radio telescope built in the early 1960s. It is also famous for the James Bond fight scene in Golden Eye. It is still in use today, tracking near-earth-orbit meteorites. The reflector dish is 1000ft (330m) in diameter and is set in the natural concave site of an ancient sink hole. The antenna gear, suspended above the dish on cables, weighs 900 tones! It’s quite a spectacle of engineering. The visitors center is very well done with lots of things of interest to see and read. And, lots of school children there taking it all in. Space and astronomy are both unfathomable and extremely interesting. It’s amazing what we know about our universe… and yet to have no hope of ever getting to any of it. It makes a sailing circumnavigation of earth seem so trivial!
From the observatory we head back to the north coast, passing through Camuy, Quebradillas and Isabela town. None really stand out as outstanding towns to visit, except maybe Isabela which has a very nice feel and pleasant town square.
Also near to Isabela we visit the Guajataca Tunnel which seems to be a tunnel left from an old railway that runs along the coast. Surprisingly quite a few people are enjoying walking through it and along the old rail track, but we don’t really see the attraction.
Close to sunset we find ourselves at Jobos Beach where there are some very nice looking beach bars and restaurants looking out to the bay where several people are surfing. This NW corner of the island seems to be a surfers paradise, both for beginners and experienced alike.
Having had yet another long day driving we settle in at Uma’s bar and enjoy some very nice cocktails.
We also meet Amy, who lives on Vieques and is writing a book “100 things to do in Puerto Rico before you die”. We happily milk her of any places we have not yet seen and also tell her our best places, some of which she has not yet been to.
It’s a very pleasant evening but we have yet to make our objective of visiting the craft beer taproom at The Beer Box which is located at Aguacate. Here we sample some local brews and take a selection to deliver to friends in Bucharest. Very nice people here too and Oana gets deep into conversation with the bartender on her favorite subject – Cuba. (Note to self: make Cuba first stop next season and we will start the year happy :).
At this point we wished we had booked our 2nd night AirBnB around this area, which seems very civilized and pleasant. But alas we have to drive the 1 hour back to Arecibo. When we get there, close to midnight we decide to check out the nightlife around the bars we had found last night. But shouldn’t have bothered, they are all quiet with just a handful of people and the town itself totally dead.
The only place with any noise seems to be the gas station outside our AirBnB which seems to attract young guys with big car speakers all through the night.
Of all the AirBnBs we have been in, this one certainly ranks the lowest of all. But we feel embarrassed to leave an honest review (not to insult the host), and sadly more people will probably be disappointed just like we were.