July 16 2017
Over the long independence day weekend, Sophia and I travelled to Puerto Rico. Historically our vacation destinations have been to cold dark places so we decided to break the pattern and head somewhere warm and sunny. I could post cliche pictures of bright blue water and empty beaches, though photographers more skilled than I have captured just about every angle there is in PR. Here are a few shots from the couple of days we didn’t get sunburned.
We summited El Yunque Peak in the early hours of Sunday, July 2nd. We ate breakfast on the top and waited for about an hour for the clouds to clear and expose the rainforest. Unfortunately they never did so we headed down to a lower mountain and finally got the views we were hoping for. Pictures do not do this rainforest justice.
Located south of Isabela on the east side of Puerto Rico is the Guajataca Forest Reserve. This forest is relatively young as the land was used for farming until the 1940s. The real attraction here is the Cueva del Viento, a cave system that boasts impressive formations. The cave is unattended so it’s free reign given you can complete the 45 minute hike and have a flashlight. The geologist in me was fascinated with the stalagmites/tites, the adventurer in Sophi was obsessed with the hundreds of resident bats and the large whip spiders.
How can one go to PR and not visit the Arecibo telescope? The second largest single dish radio telescope was well worth the 1.5 hour detour on the way back to San Juan to catch our flight. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Arecibo observatory is the source most of the data used by the SETI@home project!
In summary, the beaches of Puerto Rico are fantastic, but if for any reason you find yourself bored of paradise, there is a trove of adventure just inland.