Puerto Rico - August 9th - 16th, 2008

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Family Trip

August 9th - 16th, 2008

Bob, Debe, Chris, Eliza,
Daniel, Tara, Aiden,
Micah and Chelcy

At the last minute, we decided to grab a large time sharing unit and head off for a last minute trip before Micah heads off to college. It would be a great time to relax and have fun before he takes the next big step. It was also a time between Tara finishing school and going back into the work force. So we checked for units, grabbed airline tickets and off we went - to beautiful Puerto Rico. Bob and I, Chris with his girlfriend Eliza, Daniel with his girlfriend Tara and their son, and Micah with his girlfriend Chelcy.

We arrived in Puerto Rico and grabbed our rental cars. We brought our GPS which made it easier to drive around. Bob drove one car and I drove the other. ($200 for one car for the week and $180 for the other car for a week) Our time sharing unit was in Humacao called the Park Royale Club Cala. Very nice and lots of rooms. Me, Bob, Chris and Eliza headed to get groceries for the week while everyone else watched tv. Above you will see the gang at the pool.

Our room was overlooking the marina which made a beautiful view on a sunny day. First thing we found out was Aiden was in the climbing mode. So after a few lessons - well, lets just say he didn't climb the rail on the balcony any more.

We had a shuttle at our hotel that took us over to the beach. There were nice boogie boarding waves but the beach itself did have some seaweed on it. The palm trees lined the beach which was perfect for finding shade for "little man" to keep from getting burnt. In the above pictures you can see everyone enjoying the water and beach. Playing in the waves, walking on the beach, or just playing with Aiden made for some enjoyable days.

Nothing better than Daddy/Son time. Here you can see Aiden half buried on the beach. But thats ok if you don't see his feet - they are permanently tattooed on his dad's back.

After a couple days of enjoying the beach and pool, it was off to the town of San Juan. First stop - the Raices Fountain. This fountain is a huge gathering spot for people and also a nice shower on a hot day. Today was that day. In the above picture you can see that the fountain has its calm times. But below, you can see that it also has its wild times.

San Juan's old town fort walls is always a must. The walk is beautiful and going through the gates takes you right up to the shopping district and of course, home to the many pigeons. We thought Aiden would get a kick out of chasing pigeons but I think the adults enjoyed it more.

Above is a photo of Aiden in his stroller as we walked around the fort walls in Old San Juan. Since August is about the hottest month of the year - grabbing a little shade was a must. I think at this point a shower from the fountain would be great. lol As the sun went down we headed past Seven Seas Beach to Vieques to find our meeting place for a night kayaking. OK, no, we aren't crazy but this was a bioluminescence lagoon that we would kayak to and the moon shining off the water would be spectacular. And it was true. You could splash the water and sure enough, it did glow. We had heard you could swim in it but that had been stopped. When you swim in it, well, its gives your body a glow in the dark effect. But not this trip. Above you can see the gang as we wait for our kayaks. Here is the impatient group waiting to get started. Of course, they were about an hour late leaving. While we wait, here is a little more about the bioluminescence bay. The Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques is, perhaps, the brightest in the world! with over 750,000 tiny dinoflagellates per gallon of water that light up when they are touched! Imagine a lake full of Tinkerbells fairy dust! Pure magic, the experience is actually indescribable.

Next it was off to Farjallo to catch the ferry to Culebra. We learned the hard way that you MUST get a ticket in advance or you could be standing in the line when it gets cut off. We did that the day before so prepared in advance to go the following day. The entrance to catch the ferry is just across the road at the green building. (photo above) Everyone has to check in here were so be sure and don't get there late. Once on the boat people took their "boating" positions. Sleeping if you get sea sick, playing if you are a kid, and laughing if you are one that being on the water doesn't bother you. Bob is sitting up here but only a few minutes later - he took his laying down position.

Stepping off the ferry was so beautiful. Culebra was a beautiful island with the most beautiful water I had ever seen. Once we got off the ferry boat, we walked through town and up the hill to the left heading to a beach that is known for its great snorkeling. (per Rick Steves books)

The beach was called Playa Melones and it was a great snorkeling beach. While some sulked at the picnic table because there wasn't any food and drink facilities, others hit the water and enjoyed their time. After a couple hours, it was off to town for lunch.

Our lunch was at Pandeli Bakery. Meals at a bakery??? The price was reasonable and the food was so good. Everyone loved their food. Next, time to find a taxi that will fit us and then off to famous Flamenco Beach. Flamenco Beach is considered the second most beautiful beach in the world by Discover Channel and by far the most popular beach in Culebra. Its white sandy beach stretches along the entire bay, you will feel the Caribbean sun everywhere and wonder why you had waited this long. Flamenco is a great place to snorkle, sunbathe, swim, socialize and camp out.

Here are a couple photos of the white sand beach and the beautiful water. In the right photo, Aiden did his version of "footprints." lol

With the beauty of the Flamenco Beach, Daniel took advantage of the perfect opportunity to capture the moment. First, he headed out to snorkel with the love of his life. While snorkeling he dove down below the water only to come up with ring in hand. To be safe he didn't give it to her out in the water but instead, back on the beach.

As onlookers watched from the water and on the beach, Daniel knelt on one knee and proposed to Tara. Everyone clapped and yelled and they kissed and she said yes. What an exciting thing on such a beautiful island and awesome beach. A memory to treasure forever.

Since we needed to catch the boat back to the big island of Puerto Rico, we grabbed everyone and everything and headed to the dock where we lined up to catch the ferry. Behind the crowd you can see the many stores and small bars that many people stopped at while waiting for the ferry to arrive.

On the final full day in Puerto Rico - the lively crew decided to head to the Rain Forest to hike and visit the waterfalls. Bob, Micah, Chelcy, Chris and Eliza left out early while the rest of us stayed back. It was a small hike and you had to park and hike down to the waterfall then hike back. If you hiked down to the waterfall and then continued down, you had a super long hike back up to your car. Bob and I had done this hike years ago so he knew not to continue down. The waterfalls were beautiful & so was the scenery you saw on the hike. (see photos below)

Above is Micah and Chelcy in front of another waterfall and another picture of the view while hiking the area. Below is a video of Chris and Micah in the waterfall. I think from Micah's face you can see that the water isn't the warmest to get into. lol

This trip to Puerto Rico, even though it was last minute, was a great trip to spend time with some of the kids and one of the grandsons. We had a great time and truly enjoyed just playing at the beach, games, cards and watching tv. But the most special part of it all was getting to share in Daniel's proposal experience. That will be a memory to treasure forever. I thank you for sharing this family trip with us but also I hope you enjoyed sharing in a rare special moment with our family.


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