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  1. #1
    Dishwasher
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    Puerto Rico Trip report - September 2011

















    Day 1
    The Spirit Airline flight to San Juan Puerto Rico was on time. It felt like a domestic flight within the USA and was unlike previous flights on Spirit where people were looking for space to put multiple bags or the flight attendants were rushing passengers to sit like a herd of cows. The excitement on the flight happened when we were approaching the airport to land. We were descending in to San Juan when the plane started to make a sharp turn and ascending again. We were not sure if the plane was approaching too fast or was going to collide with another plane but it was a scary experience. It was straight from the movies. The pilot announced that there was traffic on the runway and they would have to circle before landing. I did not buy it. The flight still arrived about 15 minutes early.

    The Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan was very modern. Again it felt like we were traveling domestically in the USA. We got through immigration quickly.

    Once outside the airport we called Natalia, the owner of the bed and breakfast we were staying at for this weekend trip. She was just entering the airport. We told her what we were wearing.

    Natalia pulled up in a white SUV. We recognized her from the pictures we saw on trip advisor and also her website. She came out the car and greeted us with a big smile welcoming us to Puerto Rico. We liked her immediately. You could feel the genuine warmth as she shook my hand. We had been talking for 2 weeks before our arrival. She was very helpful as she had some booking canceled which allowed us to stay at her bed and breakfast. We did not have much luggage as we were only there for the weekend and Spirits prices for baggage was a rip off.

    We talked about the excitement of the flight landing with Natalia. Once outside the airport we could see signs that we were not in the domestic US with the mixture of cars, the Puerto Rican terrain, and the food stands on the street.

    The Bed and breakfast (B&B), Casa Castellana was not too far from the airport. There was a major US type highway near the airport with an exit close by the B&B.

    The B&B was in a quiet residential area with some apartment buildings and other homes. There was a class nearby. The house was large and was divided into 2 areas, Natalia family home and the B&B. When we entered the home we were greeted by her friendly dogs. We also met her daughter who had graduated from college in the US and was back in PR working in her parents B&B. Her daughter checked us in and took us to our room. We had our own entrance to go in and out. We could also use the front entry. There were guide books in the lobby area, so we could view sightseeing and other entertainment schedules. I picked up one to scan through.

    We were hungry so we put our bags down and inquired where we could eat and get around. They told us the bus system was good and could save us some money. They told us the bus stops and restaurants were just up the road. My wife and I thought if this was like Jamaica we could be walking for miles. It was not like the directions in Jamaica.

    There was a main road that ran along the shoreline about 2 blocks away from the Casa Castellana Bed and Breakfast. We saw a Holiday Inn and a few other hotels. We chose a restaurant close by and ate . Our server was an American who moved to Puerto Rico. He was very friendly and took a picture of us.

    After eating we started walking along the street. We found the bus stop and waited for the bus. There was an old fortress, Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, nearby that Natalia told us about. The bus came within 10 minutes. It was the type of bus you would see in the US. We got off at the old fort and walked inside to the admission window. We were late, as they closed at 5:00 pm we would not have enough time to see everything. We would come back tomorrow.

    We headed down to explore the city. It was getting dark. We ate dinner and selected a movie to watch from the DVDs available to all the guests in the main area.
    Out of Many One People Online
    http://www.jamaicans.com

  2. #2
    Dishwasher
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    Day 2
    Natalia prepared breakfast for all the guests in the dining area that had patio on the roof with arbors and beautiful flowers. The breakfast included fruits we recognized, mangoes, gineps, guavas. A friend from Atlanta called to say she was in Florida. We told her we were in San Juan. She joked and said it would be funny if we stayed at the same place. Well guess what...we did. She was there with a group of friends celebrating a friend’s birthday. We put Natalia on the phone and they chatted. Natalia said they had a blast there and even got her mother dancing with them.

    We relaxed a bit in the patio area before heading off to old San Juan and the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro. This time we walked along the street in the direction of the fortress. We went down a few side roads along the way to see the beach and shoreline. The bus stops lined the street so eventually we stopped at one and took the bus the rest of the way.

    Just when we got to Castillo de San Felipe del Morro it started to lightly rain. The admission cost was $5.00. We picked up a guide map and went on our way. There was a film at the beginning of the tour and we got a map that gave some background history on the fortress. It was what helped Puerto Rico defend itself from many invasions. As we walked around the different areas of the fortress the rain began to come down harder. At one point we had to stop touring due to the rain. There were some amazing artifacts on the tour including cannons etc. The fort had a great view of old San Juan however we did not get any great pictures due to the rainy weather.

    We spent 2 hours at the fortress then left to explore old San Juan which was in walking distance. We walked around and went into a few stories. I found the Jamaican restaurant but it was closed for the Labor Day weekend. Natalia had recommended a seafood restaurant to us. We found it easily. After eating we walked around some more.

    We headed back to the B&B after a long day. We were greeted by Natalia who asked us how our day was. We had arranged with her to drive out of the city on Sunday morning if she was not too busy. She was available so were happy.

    We went back out that evening and had dinner at a Chinese restaurant along the strip.
    Out of Many One People Online
    http://www.jamaicans.com

  3. #3
    Dishwasher
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Day 3
    We had breakfast with Natalia the next morning. She wanted to beat the traffic as she said there would be lots of people going to the beach. The road we were taking would be along the coast.

    She was right. We encountered a lot of traffic just outside the city. We stopped at a beach along our way inland to observe, we did not swim. It reminded me of Hellshire Beach in Jamaica. There were little wooden shops lined along the beach line. The beach was packed. We spent at least 20 minutes and then were back on the road. We saw packed beaches along the way. We noticed each town we went to the light poles was different colors. Natalia told us that this is how each district is identified. We stopped at a town at one of the district centers. Natalia told us about the importance of the town center and how back in the “days” young women would be courted there. A young man would see a young lady in the courtyard and if he liked her he would approach the parents privately asking to go out on a supervised date. Natalia even demonstrated how it would happen by parading my wife around the court yard.

    We spent about 30 minutes walking around the court yard and town. It was quiet and we barely saw anyone walking around. On the way out we did see a packed church. Seems the whole town was there.

    Our next stop was some beach side shops. We would try some of the local dishes made just the way the locals eat it. The beach was packed with people and we had to park near the road. Little wooden built restaurants line the beach similar to Hellshire in Jamaica. We sat down in one of the little wooden restaurants and ate. After eating my wife and I wondered out to the beach. It was packed with people.

    Next it was back to the B & B. We thanked Natalia for taking us around. It was quite an experience and gave us some insight on the Puerto Rica culture.

    We spent the afternoon walking around the "strip". We had dinner there. We had an earlier morning flight so we packed, watched a movie and went to bed early
    Out of Many One People Online
    http://www.jamaicans.com

  4. #4
    Dishwasher
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    14,118









    Day 4
    We were up early and had breakfast with Natalia. She took us to the airport. It was Labor Day so the roads were empty. We got to the airport in a few minutes. We thanked Natalia again for being such a gracious host. It was one of our best travel experiences and she played a role making us feel very comfortable. If we ever came back to Puerto Rico we would be staying at her B & B again.

    There was no flight drama on the way back home. We arrived home safely from a mini vacation in Puerto Rico.
    Out of Many One People Online
    http://www.jamaicans.com

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