Puerto Rico Travel Guide

This Puerto Rico travel guide has been a labor of love and passion and it is finally finished!  After traveling the island beginning in 2010, I began realizing that I had more photos, videos, and information about some cool travel spots in the short span of two years.  In 2012, I set a goal to finish this book no matter how long it took me.  Mission accomplished.  Book is done, and boy oh boy does it have a surprise ending (hey, at least for me as the creative influence behind this project).  Along the way I also became a concierge at one of the best hotels of San Juan.  Funny how when you set a goal, life does lead you where you need to go to make the connections you need to make, to be of service to others.  I absolutely love what I’ve accomplished, and can’t wait to share it with the world!

This is simply just a brief update blog post to be on the lookout within these next few months for the official launch of book, some website updates, and a new goal and mission to make this site and interactive travel book the best Puerto Rico travel guide resource.  When I say the best, I mean, beyond the best.  It’s now my mission and purpose to be of service to all who travel to this island which is now my home.

The Launch & Firewords Are Coming July 4th, 2015

Yes, I meant to write firewords.  I didn’t meant to at first, but then I kinda liked it so it stays.  Well, if you’re reading this in the future (after 2015), it’s already uploaded.  Just download the book.  I hope you take something from my small story for your own personal journey, and in the meantime I’ll be giving you ideas on what to do and see in Puerto Rico.  Not a bad proposition.  Check it out!

If you happen to read this after I publish this Puerto Rico travel blog update in April 2015, just know that you can email me for anything you need at shawn@puertoricorevealed.com.  The book is in the final stages of being uploaded to the Apple iBookstore, and with the launch of the ability for you to download the book from this website directly as well.  For you Android users, for now you will have to opportunity to download it in a Puerto Rico Travel Guide pdf format.  We are aiming for a cool 4th of July launch.  Why not?  I’m still American.  I love fireworks.  And WE still have  some more work to do for launch.  Should have this out to the world and begin to celebrate in the Summer.  In the meantime you can download the sample chapter below!

The Force Awakens

This has nothing to do with Puerto Rico.  But wow, wasn’t the trailer of the new Star Wars movie beyond epic?  Yes.


“The Force is strong in my family. My father has it… I have it… my sister has it… you have that power, too. “







Pinones Puerto Rico

Driving into Pińones you are instantly transported back in time to another era – almost as if the days of an iPad, high-end technology, and our fast paced lives have yet to come into existence.  The arresting contrast of arriving here presents the abrupt transition of culture from San Juan. It´s the perfect getaway and if you´re traveling from other parts of the world you will know this is when you´ve arrived to travel in Puerto Rico.

The two worlds are linked by Punta Cangrejos (Crab Point) a small bridge on PR-187. Once you cross over this bridge, the tourist traps become a distant memory and you are now well on your way to exploring the best of this island.
As you drive along PR-187, this is when you’re more than likely to experience the feeling of finally being on vacation and free en La Isla De Encanto.pinones-puerto-rico-2

History of Pinones Puerto Rico

The history of this place is interesting in that it has an ongoing story till this day in Puerto Rican lore. The town of Loiza, and the community of Piñones, reflects the richness of the island’s Afro-Spanish culture and traditions, especially in the form of music, food and crafts. It is considered by many locals “the soul of the island” celebrating Puerto Rico’s traditional Afro-Caribbean community and culture.

It is the home to many modest families making a living selling typical local food from kiosks along the beach. Their traditions span back 400 years and beyond that to the time when the Spanish conquered the land and brought in the first roots of African people to the island.  Most of this fertile low-lying coastal region was farmed by local people in the late 16th century.


In the 1720’s however the Spanish finally inched their way to this part of the land (the Spanish were mostly concentrated in Old San Juan) and turned them into sugarcane plantations. Obviously this caused quite a stir with the natives, and many were captured and forced into labor.

Unable to keep many locals who fled into the mountains, Spanish plantation owners were forced to ship in African workers – and sometimes even stole people from neighboring islands as well. Most of the over 30,000 residents of this town today are direct descendants of these Yoruba slaves.

The town of Loiza is named after Luissa, a powerful Taíno chief who ruled the area before the Spanish conquest. What makes her remarkable is that there are only two known female caciques (chiefs) known in the Caribbean.

Today, the region is proud of its Afro-Caribbean heritage even though it’s trying to hold on to our modern world’s rapid changes. If you’ll notice the coastline of Old San Juan, Condado, Ocean Park, and Isla Verde have their high-rises literally right on the beach which erases the view of the ocean from the road. In Pińones, there is nothing but coastline to look at as you drive through. Absolutely beautiful and pristine nature here. However, development projects in today’s world have been trying to get their hands on this region for years even though the efforts have been thwarted. In Puerto Rico, as throughout the Americas, community and environmental well-being remain on the defensive.

Piñones is a place to enjoy today…to remind us of yesterday. Hopefully it remains as we see it today (2015), tomorrow.


Stop in Pińones and stop at whichever kiosk you like and order some great authentic local street food. The smells here are incredible. Between the smells of the food, the ocean breezes and salty air and the whole general ambiance – you cannot but help to feel great as you begin your day.
Grab your food and your drinks and head towards the 1st natural and beautiful scenic beach to enjoy the views and tastes of the beginning of your first adventure day in Puerto Rico! After this, hit the road and keep truckin’!


Taxis VS Car Rentals – Getting Around Puerto Rico

Working as a concierge at one of the major hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico you quickly learn how fast the transportation costs add up for travelers visiting the island.  The fact of the matter is the traveler has 3 options for transportation and getting around Puerto Rico – all with their major pros and cons.  You can be daring and adventurous and enjoy the public transportation options of the Puerto Rico Metro area section.  Or you can just use a taxi or personal car services for everywhere you want to go, or be free and rent a car to get around.

Getting Around Puerto Rico – The True Costs

Taxis in Puerto Rico:  Controlled Market & Costs Add Up Fast

If you opt to use taxis in Puerto Rico there are definite pros and cons depending on your point of view.  Because the taxis in Puerto Rico basically control the tourism Metro area market, you will find that the rates to get around are pretty absurd.  There is no competition yet like those springing up in the United States like Uber or Lyft, so you will find that a 5 minute cab ride from Isla Verde to Condado 5 minutes away will cost you at least $30 if you factor in the round trip costs.

Sometimes Taxis refuse to take travelers to certain parts of the Metro Area like Old San Juan or Condado when there are major events.  The reason?  Traffic and blocked lanes to get in and thus the taxis sometimes refuse to go during these crazy traffic situations and events that do happen from time to time.  The pros of using taxis of course is not worrying about driving, or thinking, or knowing how to get to a place.

If you take 3 different taxi trips a day around Isla Verde, Condado, or Old San Juan and are staying for about 3-4 days in Puerto Rico you can see how easily these costs will affect your traveling budget.

Let’s do some math using a 3 day stay as an example and you are staying in the middle of the Metro Area (Condado).  Old San Juan is on the far end on the western side, Condado/Santurce is in the middle of the Metro Area, and Isla Verde is near the airport on the eastern side so you have a frame of reference.  Typically, I’d say over 90% of tourists to Puerto Rico stay in this basic area when visiting Puerto Rico – except when going to visit tourist areas such as El Yunque Rainforest and the Bio-luminescent bay in Fajardo.

The Math of Taxis in Puerto Rico – A Basic 4 Day Stay

Day 1

  • Airport To Hotel in Metro Area:  $20
  • Taxi to go have dinner and back to hotel:  $42 ($21 each way)
  • Total for Day:  $62

Day 2

  • Taxi to Old San Juan to visit forts:  $42
  • Taxi to go have dinner: $42
  • Miscellaneous Taxi Trip -(Visit other hotel lobbies, or go to another bar, etc.) $42
  • Total for Day:  $126

Day 3

  • Day Trip To El Yunque Rainforest (either via a Tour Company or Taxi):  $50
  • Taxi to go have dinner and back to hotel:  $42
  • Miscellaneous Taxi Trip – $42
  • Total for Day:  $134

Day 4

  • Day Trip To Fajardo to kayak Bio-Luminescent Bay (Most popular tour):  $50
  • Taxi to go have dinner:  $42
  • Miscellaneous Taxi Trip – $42
  • Next Day: Trip back to Airport:  $20
  • Total for Day:  $164

Bottom Line:  $476 not including tips. ($119 per day or $60 per person per day)

Car Rentals in Puerto Rico:  Limited Inventory During Tourism High Season, Less Expensive

If you opt to rent a car in Puerto Rico we definitely recommend booking far in advance to your stay in Puerto Rico.  We know that many travelers wait till the last minute to rent a car only to find that there are no cars left.  There is limited car rental cars available especially during busy/high tourism season.  However, as you see below the pros of renting a car is that it’s about 5% less expensive than taking taxis, and gives you more time freedom to drive and see more of the country – not just the Metro tourist area.

The Math of Car Rentals in Puerto Rico – A Basic 4 Day Stay

Day 1

  • Car Rental Fee (more if you opt to add insurance):  $45
  • Gas for Day:  $10
  • Parking Fees (Hotels/Restaurants in Metro Area):  $25
  • Total for Day:  $80

Day 2

  • Car Rental Fee For Day:  $45
  • Gas/Parking to Old San Juan to visit forts:  $20
  • Hotel Parking Fees: $25
  • Miscellaneous Trip (Gas/Parking):  $20
  • Total for Day:  $110

Day 3

  • Car Rental Fee For Day:  $45
  • Day Trip To El Yunque Rainforest (Gas / Park Entrance Free):  $30
  • Parking Fees (Hotels/Restaurants in Metro Area):  $25
  • Miscellaneous Trip (Gas/Parking) – $20
  • Total for Day:  $120

Day 4

  • Car Rental Fee For Day:  $45
  • Day Trip To Fajardo to kayak Bio-Luminescent Bay (Most popular tour/gas to get there):  $35
  • Parking Fees (Hotels/Restaurants in Metro Area):  $25
  • Miscellaneous Trip (Gas/Parking) – $20
  • Next Day: Trip back to Airport and Fill Up Gas Tank before turning in car rental:  $20
  • Total for Day:  $145

Bottom Line:  $455, no need to tip. ($113 per day or $56 per person per day)


The Winner Is?

Depends on what type of traveler you are.  Some love not thinking nor driving when on vacation.  Others love getting on the road and discovering a country and getting lost in the process and finding their own way.  The numbers say that renting a car is about 5-10% less expensive, but that also depends on if the traveler just stays at the hotel and walks around to their dinner destinations.

Of course you can always take the bus for $0.75 exact change each day!  You just gotta bring your paitence with ya!  For more general information see or Begin Here section regarding Getting Around Puerto Rico.

Fajardo Ferry Schedule To Culebra & Vieques

Traveling to the offshore islands of Culebra & Vieques definitely requires some pre-planning and knowing some information beforehand so you don’t get a surprise. You basically have limited options to get to the offshore islands of Puerto Rico. You can save time but spend money taking a private charter plane to the islands, or you can save money but spend time taking the ferry from Fajardo on the northeastern shore. If money is not an issue, we recommend flying to make your life easier. While the ferry is inexpensive ($2.50 per trip), there are many hassles to consider before opting for this route.

Fajardo Ferry Schedule Information: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The ferry that runs from Fajardo to the islands of Culebra and Vieques is run by the Puerto Rico government and is called the Integrated Transportation Authority of Puerto Rico. The ferry runs everyday including holidays 365 days a year and carries between 200-600 passengers per day. It is a very economical way to see Puerto Rico’s beautiful offshore islands, but as the saying goes you “pay for what you get.”

Many times the ferries are cancelled due to weather or maintenance issues and you can easily be left stranded in the town of Fajardo and not get to your desired destination. As we’ve mentioned many times in this book, you have to come into this with a heavy dose of patience and be travel flexible with your plans in case the very real possibility exists that you won’t get on that ferry to go to Culebra or Vieques. It’s happened to us more than once.

Logistics: Getting your Tickets + Dealing With The Long Lines

This is the ugly part of the process. While we do feel that the cost of the ferry is beyond reasonable at $2.50, the process of getting a ticket to and from the islands is a bit of a headache. We’ve been in long lines only to not get tickets because they “sold out” and we had to scramble to make new plans (Playa Escondida in Fajardo). The truth of the matter is that you simply have to get in line by 4:45AM at the latest for the 9:00AM departure.

The people who show up at 7:00AM are already looking at long lines and no guarantee. We found the sweet spot is between 4:30 AM- 5:00AM, and bring a book and comfortable chair because you will wait a long time. We wish there can be another way, but this pretty much ensures your best shot of catching the early ferry for a full day trip.

There are a limited amount of tickets to be sold and the 9:00 and 9:30 ferries always sell out.

What happens is that residents of Culebra and Vieques take priority over travelers, tourists, and even Puerto Ricans from the mainland. The huge lines are made worse by some locals standing in line to “buy tickets for others” and then re-sell them. Sometimes you’ll be in line for hours, then see a new group of people all of a sudden come and get serviced right away. These are the “locals”, and I can see why travelers and tourists would not like to see this at all. Still, we write this so that you can be aware and come in with the right frame of mind so as not to ruin your day. It makes sense to buy your round trip tickets when you have a chance, but even that sometimes you can’t do and have to do the line all over again on your way back!

In terms of the long lines, you are going to be under the hot sun at points of the wait so make sure you bring umbrellas for shade, a comfortable chair, and a cooler filled with snacks and drinks.

Online / Phone Booking

We recently came across some information that a company is now taking online booking at their website called Culebraferry.com. Use at your own risk since we haven’t yet and we really hope they do a good job trying to organize this process.

Sometimes though, you may be able to call ahead and “hold” your reservation with a credit card if you happen to be extremely lucky and get through on the phone. About 50 tickets are set aside for “future dates”, and you would pick up your tickets at the far right window when you get to the ticket booth. This is not a guarantee of your ticket, but does give you slightly better odds and you can get there later and not at the early hour of 3:45AM. The phone numbers to call and give it a shot are: 787-497-7740 or 787-494-0934 x 2729/2727/2736. Call Mondays-Friday from 7:00AM-3:00PM.  You can also try to write to the inbox at their facebook page (see Information to stay updated below) or email them at: reservaciones@atm.gobierno.pr.

Parking/Car Information

Car rental companies will not allow you to take your car to the offshore islands so you need to make arrangements for transportation once you’re in the island you chose. There are car rental companies available in both Culebra & Vieques, and we gotta say exploring these islands in a jeep is where the fun is at! You can also find local transportation like taxis at both the ports of Vieques and Culebra. See below for information where to rent your car.

In terms of parking, you should have no problem finding a safe parking company nearby the docks in Fajardo that will charge you $5.00 a day. It is a public facility and is open 24 hours a day. Make sure to bring your ticket with you as you’ll need it to pay on your way out.

What You Can Bring

As we mentioned, the ferry service allows you to bring your beach chairs, umbrellas, and coolers where you can store them inside the ferry. If you bring more than you can carry they will charge you more or simply won’t let you bring it. Make sure to bring your cooler filled with drinks, food, and anything else you will need.

Inside The Ferry / The Trip + Ferry Schedule

Once you get your ticket, there’s more waiting to be had as you are seated in an orderly fashion for a few hours before the ferry arrives. If you’re the type that gets sea-sick easily we strongly suggest you take medicine for that as the seas on this voyage are very choppy and the seas are rough. We’ve seen people throw up, which is not cool. But it happens so make sure you can handle being in the ferry for about the 1 hour you will be at sea. The seating inside the ferry is air condition and it does get kind of cold so bring a jacket.

Schedule + Prices (7 Days A Week + Holidays)

Fajardo —>Culebra: 9:00AM, 3:30PM, 7:00PM
Fajardo —>Vieques: 9:30AM, 1:00PM, 4:30PM, 8:00PM
Culebra —>Fajardo: 6:30AM, 1:00PM, 5:00PM
Vieques —>Fajardo: 6:30AM, 11:00AM, 3:00PM, 6:00PM

1 Way Tickets: To Culebra – $2.25. To Vieques – $2.00. Kids & Seniors $1.00.

Information To Stay Updated

It’s imperative the day of your trip to check for any last minute information on the ferry so you can know as far in advance as possible if any hiccups happen.

Follow them on Twitter for updates: @PRFerryWatch
Facebook: Facebook PR Ferry Watch

Directions To Ferry

Click on Link for Google Maps directions.

Fajardo Dock:

Culebra Dock:

Vieques Dock:

Flying To Culebra or Vieques Directly

Flying to the offshore islands of Culebra and Vieques is the best bet for headache and a hassle free experience. It will cost you though. The costs for flights from San Juan run between $70-$115 per flight. The trip is about 30 minutes, and the views from the planes as you land are pretty epic in our opinion. There are two companies you can choose from to coordinate your trip:

Vieques Air Link – 787-722-3736

Air Flamenco – 787-724-6464


“If Plan A doesn’t work, stay cool!  There are still 25 more letters.” – Unknown




Puerto Rico Mountains – Cordillera Central Range – Part 1

The most remote section of the island and by far its least traveled by tourists visiting the island is the Puerto Rico mountains range that literally slices the country down the middle from west to east, and what separates also the north and south section. Many consider the middle of this island as the spiritual heart of the island.

The Cordillera Central Mountain range is the spine and backbone of the island providing vast and impressive peaks and valleys featuring winding roads through small mountain towns in an impressive 167 miles that can literally make you dizzy with all the turns. We imagine the allure of first coming to Puerto Rico when deciding to travel here is the beaches, Old San Juan, the beautiful people, the food, but the fact remains that the “real Puerto Rico” is right at the tops of mountain peaks that dissects the island.

Panoramic Route of Puerto Rico – La Ruta Panoramica of The Puerto Rico Mountains

Most travelers ignore this part of the island because it’s not necessarily the easiest to get to, and it does take some time and know how and much pre-planning to fully get the whole experience of this path down the middle.

The Cordillera Central mountain range features thousands of acres of undeveloped land in the heart of tropical jungle, the highest mountain peaks on the island with observation points, rivers, caves, waterfalls (the biggest one), local food and lodging stops, cave systems, forests, amazing natural parks, camping sites, and a panoramic route featuring many crazy twists and turns which makes this one of the most beautiful parts of the island. The rugged beauty of this range is what attracts the true adventure traveler with no agenda other than appreciating nature and the vast vistas while having nothing but time on your hands.

The Cordillera Central mountain is the “real Puerto Rico” in the sense that you can barely see any American influence or corporate stores along the way on this route. Here you can witness the genuine and authentic Puerto Rican people (jibaros), and be truly exposed to Taíno Indian culture. Because travelers don’t come to this part of the island as much as the other more popular areas, efforts have and are being made to attract visitors and bring much needed economic help to the small towns that make up the Cordillera Central.

What has been established is what is referred to as “La Ruta Panoramica” – or the Panoramic Route. The Panoramic Route of Puerto Rico faithfully covers the Cordillera Central mountain range from the west in the town of Maricao, and all the way to the south eastern shore in the town of Manuabo. However, you have to wait to reach “towns” for restaurants or gas stations along the way most of the time. In between towns is mostly driving through mountain roads with occasional scenic vistas (for the drivers its harder because they have to be so focused on the road) and some cool “off the beaten path” gems along the way (if you know where to look!).



The Panoramic Route is a network consisting of over 40+ secondary back-roads that connect the east to the west, but La Ruta Panoramica is mostly along PR 105, PR-143, and PR-142. It can get a bit confusing and we will do our detailed best to give you the exact specifics of the Panoramic Route in the book! It’s important to note that you’ll need a good physical map to do this adventure as there are times you may not have cell phone signal.  See Google map directions below!

*The lanes are mostly 2 tight lanes and paved, however you will have some potholes you will need to look out for! There are many twists and turns and some very slow going at many points. We can’t emphasize this enough that while it is a beautiful drive, it’s long and you can get tired of all the twists and turns that make you feel somewhat dizzy after awhile. It’s a lot of driving, and some may feel bored after a few hours. But you’ve been warned.

Many drivers that are not familiar with the local roads have mentioned to us that they consider this pretty arduous driving with hairpin turns with “not that many scenic vistas” and poor signage.

While that is somewhat true, we feel that is part of the adventure and if you go into this trip with that mindset and knowing exactly when and where you are stopping “along the way” makes all the difference in the world! If you don’t plan beforehand though, this trip would be a nightmare and a total waste of time as you’ll be in the car driving pretty much the whole day. There are indeed many places to check out (revealed in book), you just got to know where they are and that they are not always along the official “Ruta Panoramica” so we’ll give you a suggested detailed itinerary soon.  This is a good head’s up and general information blog post.

The Panoramic Route In 1 Day, or 3, or 4 or 5 Days – You Choose!

Quick Geography

First and foremost, it’s best to understand how many parts there are to the Cordillera Central and logistically what’s the best way to do this Panoramic Route and in how many days. There are 3 parts to the Cordillera Mountain range, with the main one running from Maricao out in the western side of the island, to Aibonito in the center of the island. The other two parts are a “fork” of this range, with one of the forks beginning in the town of Cayey and going towards Humacao in the eastern shore (known as the Sierra De Cayey). The other fork heads southeast into two lower ranges called Sierra Guarderraya and Cuchillas De Panduras into the town of Yabucoa and Manuabo (your end point).

Time Investment Needed

The Panoramic Route / “La Ruta Panoramica” is best done if you have about 3 or 4 good days to do this adventurous journey completely and stopping along the way, and especially camping at night. Sure, it’s possible to do 1 day and do a part of the route, but for the purposes of this book we will give you the full itinerary and suggested stops along the way so you can make your decision how you want to spend your time. It’s best if you have the mindset of taking it slow and having patience. For those doing the Route and only want to spend one day, the logistics dictate that you start from the east and head west.

However, it is our opinion that the best way to do this Panoramic Route in 3/4 days is to head out west to Mayaguez (2 1/2 hours from San Juan), and then enter the Panoramic Route in the town of Maricao and head east for 167 miles towards the beautiful Punta Tuna Lighthouse in Manuabo. The in-between towns and parts are where the pre-planning takes place which will make or break this experience for you.  This trip is not for everyone!  Planning is key!

In this journey you will encounter over 20 small towns, the highest peak on the island (Cerro De Punta 4,390 feet), the biggest and tallest waterfall in the island (Canyon De San Cristobal), John the Baptist and Jesus (more on this later), fishes, camping sites and forests, lakes, towers, coffee plantations, museums, paradores (small country inns), the best adventure park in the island featuring death defying zip-lines and other goodies (Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park in Toro Verde Forest), Crystal Clear Blue ponds (Charco Azul), Taíno artifacts, amazing observatory towers where you can see the south and north ocean waters from the highest points of the island, and a lighthouse with a picturesque beach as your final destination. What else can you see? Well that’s up to you but there are options!

Not to always be positive, but on the negatives you will also will not be able to pull over and take pictures as often as you like as the roads are narrow in points, the pesky potholes, you could get lost, it may rain so much that you can’t see anything and will be under a constant gray cloud, you could actually be in a car for many hours. You may also run into some traffic at spots, especially on weekends when the locals hit the towns. It’s also much colder in the mountains than in other parts of the island – and it can easily be a 20 degree difference with very cool mists in the clouds so you have to be prepared.

However, all in all don’t let that scare you. The true traveler and adventure welcomes every single situation and makes the best of it. Which type of traveler are you? If this is your type of adventure, then wait for part 2 for details coming soon!  In the meantime check out the directions below and roads of the entire journey of the Puerto Rico mountains.



“Because in the end you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn.  Climb that goddamn mountain!” – Jack Kerouac



Mayaguez —> Maricao: PR-105, PR-339, PR-119, PR-106, PR-120.

Maricao —> Castañer: PR-120, PR-366, PR-365, PR-105, PR-128, PR-135.


Castañer —> Adjuntas: PR-135, PR-525, PR-131, PR-518.

Adjuntas —> Aibonito: PR-123, PR-143, PR-723, PR-14.


Aibonito —> Cayey: PR-7718, PR-722, PR-7722, PR-1

Cayey —> Carite Forest: PR-7737, PR-7741, PR-742, PR-179, PR-184.


Carite Forest —> Yabucoa: PR-7740, PR-181, PR-182.

Yabucoa —> Manuabo: PR-901, PR-760.


Liebster Award – Puerto Rico Revealed

Even though I’ve been traveling in Puerto Rico 4 years and writing the book for 2 of those years, it wasn’t until recently I’ve started working on the website and promoting the book and reaching out. One of the channels I want to connect with are other travel bloggers who are doing the same thing and in so many respects much better work and visiting much  cooler places than I can ever imagine!  It takes an incredible amount of work and dedication to be a writer and blogger, and it’s not for everyone and takes serious skill and dedication and a thirst for adventure and travel.

I’m still learning this process, but I was pleasantly surprised to be nominated for a Liebster Award by Skeeter over at Happy Travelers  and twitter handle @2happytravelers.  Skeeter and Pat are a married couple who are traveling extensively around the world and are sharing their story in a great website.  In fact, my next trip on my wish list is New Zealand and they definitely have that covered.  Check em’ out!

I never knew what the Liebster Award was until the other day, so for those that don’t know it’s  an award given by bloggers to other bloggers.  Your peers so to speak.  The goal is to connect the (travel) blogging community and provide  a platform for emerging bloggers by publicly praising the work of what others are doing across the globe in your sphere of influence.

Thanks so much to Happy Travelers for nominating me for a Liebster Award!  I have to answer their questions, and in turn nominate at least 5 more bloggers that are starting for them to do the same.

Here goes:

What has been your least favorite place to visit so far?

My least favorite place to visit so far has to be actually fog.  I actually can’t think of a least favorite place I’ve visited, but I can think of some notable places I’ve gone to only to have fog follow me and I can’t see what I came to see!  Went to Niagara Falls only to encounter fog.  I could hear the falls though!  Went to Empire State Building.  Fog.  (Although I have been there on clear days since that first trip).  Hiked 4 days to get to Machu Pichu in Peru, on the 4th day get there and you guessed it – fog.  It’s kinda funny.  Still make the best of it though as I’ve been on so many trips where the weather has been great.

What has surprised you the most on your travels?

What has surprised me most about traveling is how your perspective on life grows and how you can see life from all new angles.  You can appreciate your family at home more.  Your friends at home more.  You can see different perspectives.  What has surprised me is how much one can grow by being outside your comfort zone.

Who has been the most interesting person/people you’ve met?

Wow, great question there have been so many people that it’s hard to pick just one person.  But upon really thinking about it and being why I’m still in Puerto Rico I would have to say my girlfriend Natalia.  In my travels, I’m super happy I’ve met her and what’s interesting is that I would never had if I stayed home.

What country/city would you want to live in long term?

I love the idea of New Zealand and can’t wait to visit, however going back to my roots and being closer to home yet still living in a new place?  I’d say the obvious place long term would be Cuba.

What’s next on your list of travel plans?

Finish some very few spots remaining in Puerto Rico, then I would really love to go to New Zealand.  Have I said that enough?

What inspired you to start blogging about travel?

The muse called me and my soul has something to say,  I guess.  A quick inspiration is one thing, to have that sustained for 2 years in writing this interactive book is quite another thing.     I realized that perhaps I’m going to die one day, and even if it’s for one tiny person, I’d like to leave some thoughts behind.

What has been your favorite food that you’ve tried?

As much as I’m adventurous in the body and jumping off waterfalls etc, I’m not that adventurous with food choices.  But I will say my favorite food that I’ve tried in Puerto Rico is the lechon (pork) with mamposteao rice and fried plantains.  Great typical Puerto Rican meal.

Do you prefer big cities or out in the middle of no where?

Yeah I could live out in the middle of nowhere no problem.  A balance I guess.  Both extremes kinda suck.  Kind of like Droopy the dog in the cartoons.  I’d like to be able to run up a mountain and scream and do whatever, then come back down and play when I want.

If you had to offer 1 travel tip, what would it be?

Figure out what the person you’re meeting is teaching you.

What is your favorite travel themed book or movie?

I instinctively think of “Into The Wild” (plus I love Eddie Vedder’s soundtrack).  It was extremely admirable what Chris McCandless did, yet there’s an underlying message he taught us in his approach to traveling by himself when he comes to the conclusion as he was dying that happiness is only real when shared.  Extremely poignant inspiring and cautionary tale about setting forth into the unknown.

What’s your travel style, fast paced or laid back?

Go with the flow/laid back.  Let the story reveal itself instead of forcing an itinerary or time schedules.


In turn, I nominate:

The Tropical Tourist @contrekk, @persiaexpo, @can_rico, @theTropicalT


The 11 questions to answer:

What is your ultimate aim of all the work you do on your website?

Do you prefer destinations that are off the beaten path or ones that are easy to get to?

What is your greatest travel experience?

Which destination is at the top of your travel bucket list?

Do you pack light or take a full range of kit just in case?

What’s the most unusual souvenir you’ve picked up on your travels?

Do you prefer traveling alone or with loved ones?

What’s the most daring dish you’ve sampled on the road?

When you travel, what do you miss the most about home?

Who is your favorite travel companion?

What/who inspires you to travel most?


The Liebster Award rules are:
1) Thank the blogger who nominated you, with a link back to his/her blog
2) Answer the 11 questions your nominator asks you
3) Nominate 5–11 bloggers with under 500 Twitter followers
4) Create 11 questions for your nominees
5) Display the Liebster Award logo on your page
6) List these 6 rules in your blog post

I look forward to reading others’ answers!

Light at end of the Guajataca Tunnel (or is it a train?)

Perhaps the most stunning and awe-inspiring scenic vista happens when you’re driving in Puerto Rico on PR-2 towards the west coast and you suddenly come upon the high majestic view of the ocean and mountainside that forms between the towns of Quebradillas and Isabela.

You really can’t miss it as you’ll first notice the incredible view as far as your eyes can see, and a huge Puerto Rican flag and an observation deck to observe the beauty.  It’s known as the Lookout Point – The Flag (La Bandera). You definitely have to park as soon as you see this and take in the views (because if you’re driving the parking comes up on you pretty quickly since it’s an expressway so go slowly so you don’t miss it!)

There are food kiosks and picnic tables here as well and from this point you can view the waves crashing on the shoreline in stunning fashion, the Guajataca River below you, as well as the historical Guajataca Tunnel off in the distance. Locally, it’s also known as the Merendero De Guajataca.

Without a doubt, wherever you’re headed on the west shore of Puerto Rico make sure you stop here for at least 15 minutes to have some tremendous photo opportunities and great views.


Guajataca Tunnel – Isabela, Puerto Rico – West Shore Sights

Thousands of people drive by places that are literally right under their noses and they just keep going and going on towards their specific destinations. Sometimes, going off the path no matter if you’re late or not is just the right thing. One of those places is the Guajataca Tunnel between the towns of Quebradillas and Isabela.

The road that connects the east shore to the west shore runs through a busy highway (PR-2) & not along the shoreline till you get to the west coast in Rincon, etc.  Thousands drive by the Guajataca Tunnel, and very few appreciate it (or even know its there!)

The Guajataca Tunnel is a historical monument today and was a railroad tunnel that was built in 1911 that connected the towns. The tunnel was built inside the canyon that was forged by the Guajataca River Canyon, and was a significant part of the national railway system that connected the towns during the 1900’s.

Today, it’s a picturesque tunnel opening on the side of the mountain near the ocean, and you can walk through and take pretty fantastic and rustic pictures! The tunnel also leads to the doorstep of Guajataca Beach so it makes for a pretty unique hike if you’ve got the time and inclination. Don’t mind the local grafitti. Some is good art. Some is not. See and explore for yourself. Don’t take my word for it!  There’s also some nice hikes once past the tunnel that offer even better views!  Give yourselves a good hour for this mini excursion along the way.




 Directions: (Click on link)

“There is a light at the end of every tunnel.  Just make sure it’s not a train.  Either way it’s a light nonetheless.”


Caja De Muertos Reminds You To Live Life Fully

The most prominent land feature your eyes naturally drift off towards when you’re looking at the ocean as your driving in and around Ponce is that strange island off in the distance to the south. It’s just out there – calling you and beckoning you to go and visit. If you really look at the island, you’ll see its formation looks exactly like a person is lying horizontally on top of the water. You can clearly see a “head,” a “body,” and the extension all the way to the “toes.”  We’re assuming that’s why the island is called Caja De Muertos – or Dead Man’s Coffin because from afar it does look like someone is resting in peace. When I finally went to the island and explored it for ourselves, it was indeed a peaceful tropical paradise that cannot be missed!

While Ponce is not known for its beaches, in my opinion that is a significant omission because probably the best beach in the entire island resides just a few miles south of the coast.  Caja De Muertos is  this crown jewel of the cays along the south shore. It’s a bit of planning and a sense of adventure to get here, but worth the effort! It’s an easy day trip, that will leave you pleasurably exhausted by the end of the day.

The Ferry – Getting Here

To get here, you must PRE-BOOK with Island Ventures – a company that manages the ferry boat rides to the island. You have a couple of options to pre-book your reservation, and thankfully you can also do it online now. They take reservation phone calls Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10:00AM-7:00PM, but good luck because sometimes it takes pure luck to get an answer. The good news is that they have an online reservation system where you can see dates of availability.

Once you set up your reservation, the next order of business the day of your excursion to Caja De Muertos is to wake up early that day as the ferry operators require you to be at La Guancha Marina by 8:30AM sharp. They allow about 100 people per ferry ride, which is a great thing in the sense that the island beach will not be super crowded, but which also means they have to process over 100 people to get on the ferry and help with their coolers, etc. So make sure you wake up early, go to the grocery store with time and paitence, and fill your cooler with all the food and drinks you’re going to need for the day.

Even though the ferry sometimes sells some food and drinks, its best if you stock up on basic necessities for the day such as mosquito repellent, garbage bags, sunscreen, and everything you’ll think you’ll need for the day. You will be on the island from roughly 9:30 AM till about 3:30PM. Depending on your cooler size, you may be charged an additional $5 to bring it on the ferry but it’s worth it in our opinion.

The ferry ride is comfortable itself, and provides you a 45 minute trip to get to the island. In our opinion, nothing starts the day off better than spending a good 45 minutes on a boat in the ocean with a perfect destination on the horizon. Once there, you bring your gear and pick out one of the picnic shaded pavilions to set up “your spot.” There’s great options to choose from so don’t worry. There’s also bathroom facilities and changing rooms if you desire. The rest is up to you what you want to do with the 6 hours you have here.


Creative Commons

Exploring Dead Man’s Coffin

The best times to visit Caja De Muertos is during late spring/early fall – as its not as hot – but keep in mind you can come here year round and have a blast. The island is a perfect and majestic way to spending the day relaxing at the beautiful coral blue waters (blue flag beach), or hiking along the cactus trail to a breathtaking view from the lighthouse. The views from the lighthouse provide the best postcard photo opportunities, and it’s a view you’ll probably never forget in your lifetime. It’s that good. You can also hike to a small cave (Almedia Cave), check out the beach where turtles nest, or snorkel. Our guess is that you can do a little of everything today to get a sense and feel of the island. We did a little of all of the above, and then hung out at the picturesque beach with the cliffs as a backdrop drinking our drinks and just taking it all in.

By the time 3:30PM comes around and you hear the ferry’s signal for us to board, you wonder how 6 hours could possibly go so fast? The day and experience is spectacular to say the least, and for $25 it’s a bargain. We also hear stories that this island was once a place where the secret society of Freemasons met, so that just makes this place that much more intriguing to check out. There’s another tour company that provides a bit of a different experience around the island – one in which you could snorkel much more and explore the caves and surrounding sea shell beach by kayak.

However, we strongly recommend the day trip to this perfect oasis. Once you get back on the ferry, you can relax as you make your way back to La Guancha Bayside Boardwalk in Ponce. Once there at around 4:15PM, you can have even more local food and drinks and enjoy the rest of the day as the sun sets. Nothing gets better than this on the island of Puerto Rico in our opinion!

Trip Advisor Reviews Link

Directions: (Click on link)

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.  Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.

Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.  Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.  Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.  Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.

Show respect to all people and grovel to none.  When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.  If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.  Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.

Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” – Chief Tecumseh


Monkey See, Monkey Do In Puerto Rico

So this article is a little homage to my experiences to my former job when I worked at Jungle Island in Miami, Florida where we had a ton of exotic animals as well crazy fun orangutans and various monkeys running around the place.  However, finding a place like that in Puerto Rico is next to impossible.  However, there’s a secret “real island” that’s pretty much unknown on the east coast of the island.  No, it is not Vieques or Culebra.  It’s a small island adjacent to Humacao called Cayo Santiago that makes for a perfect day trip to experience wild animals (monkeys) in their natural habitat.

Cayo Santiago is a tiny island that is home over 800 rhesus monkeys and is run by the Caribbean Primate Research Center. What in the world are over 800 monkeys doing on an island? That’s a great question that makes for a memorable kayak adventure today, and some interesting history. In 1938, hundreds of monkeys were imported from India to this natural habitat in order to begin scientific research on a range of topics – including testing for cures of diseases from what we understand. The island is not open to the public or tourists, however you can have quite the glimpses if you kayak off the shores waters about 30 feet out to check out these fascinating monkeys.

There’s a couple of local outfitters that can take you out there, however one of them is a highly rated and fun experience!  The company runs and owns  3 different corporations that serve the following services under its umbrella:

1 – Barefoot Travelers Rooms Beach Guesthouse, 2- Team Hang-Gliding, and 3-   & Barefoot Travelers Kayak Adventure To Monkey Island run a company where they provide room & board near Humacao,  hang-gliding adventures, and ocean kayak tours to Monkey Jungle Island (as I call it) which includes a snorkeling expedition off the coast of Cayo Santiago.

While in your trip to Puerto Rico you will see some wild animals here and there (horses, goats, cows, roosters, etc.) that you may not be used to from the place where you’re visiting from.  Seeing monkeys swinging from branch to branch and checking YOU out is one of the best experiences you can have in our opinion. It’s much better than going to a zoo and just seeing them caged and far away from their natural world and habitat.



Kayaking Puerto Rico

In order to do this tour, you must be in somewhat good physical shape and fitness because the trip requires a 15-20 minute kayak row to the island that easily be under choppy ocean conditions depending on the weather. You get pretty near the island and kayak parallel to the trees, and be as quiet as you can so you can observe the hundreds of monkeys that happen to want to make an appearance for you. The guides of the tour provide you with valuable information about the monkeys and the purpose of the island more in-depth than this article possibly can.

After this excursion, you’re led to a snorkeling area that features exotic fish and a sunken barge to snorkel around in. Another highlight is the kayak trip back, with splendid views of El Yunque off in the backdrop which makes for this adventure pretty unforgettable and a must experience!


NOTE:  Sometimes visibility can be iffy and you can easily get sea sickness as well – so if you’re the type make sure to drink drowsy pills before you row out.  Can be cancelled day of due to weather conditions.  Keep that in mind as Puerto Rico weather can be unpredictable.

Bring your own snorkel gear, as well as water and snacks for this trip. The company typically likes to keep the groups only 8 people at once AM or PM.   Call ahead and see if you can pre-arrange if your group is larger to coordinate back-to-back private trips by talking to the owners.



Barefoot Travelers Adventures: 787-850-0508.
Price: $55.00 per person for kayak rentals. Tips also welcome.
Time: 2-3 hours for the adventure

Directions: (Click On Google Maps Link)


“Swing in this tree
I’m bouncing around so well
Branch to branch,
limb to limb you see
All in a day’s dream
I’ m stuck
Like the other monkeys here
I am a humble monkey
Sitting up in my tree again
But then came the day…
When I climbed out of these safe limbs
Ventured away
Walking tall, head high up and singing
I went to the city
Car horns, corners and the gritty
But now I am the proudest monkey you’ve ever seen
Monkey see, monkey do…yeah

Then comes the day
Staring at myself
I turn to question me
I wonder do I want the simple, simple life that I once lived in a way?
You know things they were so quiet then…
In a way those were my better days
But now I am the proudest monkey you’ve ever seen…
Monkey see, monkey do…yeah”

Dave Matthews – Proudest Monkey

9 Incredible Songs From Puerto Rican Music Today

This lists represents some of the best artists and songs from the Puerto Rican music indie scene today. Many of these musicians can be found performing at the cool art/music scene in “La Respuesta” – a perfect live music venue/bar located in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Check ‘em out!

Also, be sure to check out PuertoRicoIndie.com as your source for today’s up & coming music from the island!

If you’re traveling to the island, make sure to immerse yourself in the music that’s being created today to make your experience that much more memorable!  Click on the links to hear/see YouTube songs.

1.     A.L.M.A. – SieteNueve feat. Charlie Sepulveda

La risa, la pena, el carino, el amor,la fe, la concencia,el alma, mi alma,tu alma es ella.”
The smiles, the guilt, the warmth, the love, the faith, the consciousness, the soul, my soul, your soul…It’s all her.”

2.    Ven – Los Wálters

Ven, acércate. En tu destino no habrá lugar. Que no encontré.
Come, get closer. In your destiny there isn’t a place. That I wouldn’t find.

3.    Y Yo Tambien – Indigo

Ya mis palabras ni se entienden. Se han vuelto aire sin sonar, Diran que estoy un poco ido, Que no estoy aqui en realidad. Pero, soy el inicio diferente, Soy mi proposito al cantar.
Now my words aren’t even understood. They have turned into wind without a sound. They’ll say I’m a little gone, that I’m not really here. But I’m a different start. I’m singing my purpose.

4.   Jayá – Macha Colón Y Los Okapi

Y mi amardura contra el desamor vuelve a crecer.
And my stance against indifference.  Keeps on growing.

5.    El Sello – Ardnaxela (Featured Artist in painting above)

Y con una tras otro intentas borrar tu sello de soledad, tu sello del infeliz, que no puede dormir, no puedes dormir. Que pasa, que pasa que no puedes dormir?
And one after another you intend to erase your seal of loneliness, your seal of unhappiness, that you can’t sleep. What happened, what’s happening that you can’t sleep?”

6.    La Mañana Blanca – Fofe Y Los Fetiches

Y lo se, cada cual esta viviendo una tormenta. Nos seguimos queriendo, sin saber / nos extrañamos tanto, como ves.
And I know that everyone is living a storm. Yet we still love each other without knowing. We miss each other so much you see.

7.    Crackman – Campo Formio

Mostly instrumental Rock.

¿Y cómo será el final? ¿Cómo será el final?
How will the end be?

8.    La Vida Va – Pedo Capó

Even though he’s not technically an “indie artist” today, Capó was the first singer/songwriter I saw live in the island and is an amazing talent.

Se roban los bancos, Los parcos, Se cruzas los mares, Los hijos se alejan, Los viejos se quejan, Y se atoran los autos, Maldigo el tarado que no me da paso, Los políticos mienten, Secuestran tranquilo, Las flacas engordan, Rebaja la gorda, Los libros se comen debajo del polvo, La iglesia duerme, Los corazones sordosLa vida va. Vamos a ver. Pero pa’lante y con fe. Como el rio llega al mar. La vida va y se va. Y no hay manera papa.
They rob the banks, They cross the oceans, The kids rebel, The older people complain, And the cars break down, They curse the idiot that does not let you pass, The politicians lie, They sequester in secret, The skinny girls get fat, The fat girls get skinny,The books are eaten beneath the dirt, The church sleeps, The hearts are deaf, Life goes…Let’s see But we move ahead with faith, As the river reaches the ocean,Life goes, and goes, and goes…
And there’s no other way friend.

9.    Oigo Voces – Mima

Song starts at 3:28.

Pero voz. Eso sí. Porque yo te escucho a ti. Cantando. La canción que ahora canto aquí.
But voice, yes, because I heard you. Singing. The song that I now sing here.
Go to Top