Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 3

In looking up things to do on the east coast of PR I found that a ferry runs to two offshore islands, Vieques and Culebra. I choose to head to Culebra since it was smaller and hopefully less crowded. I assumed we would go on Day 2 of our trip. I called the hotel from the airport to check the ferry times in case we forgot to ask later. The guy actually laughed at me when I told him I wanted to go the next day. Apparently in all my research I forgot to look up the PR holidays. We were trying to head to Culebra on the third Monday of July, or the birthday of Don Luis Muñoz Rivera. The locals are all about partying and love to head over to the two islands to do so. We were told that on holidays people can get to the ferry line at 4am and still not make it on the 9am ride over. Um, no thanks. We decided to make an attempt at Culebra on Tuesday and hope for the best. Monday afternoon we asked the lady at the front desk about the ferry again and she said it would be like that all week. It was their last week of summer and we were visiting between two major holidays, the birthday and Commonwealth Constitution Day. Our best option was going to be to fly. Fly? I'd read about how much easier it was than the ferry and a very nice guy sitting next to Nathan on the flight to San Juan said it was the best way not to waste your time on traveling and waiting for the ferry. So we said, "What the heck? Why not?" She called a couple of places for us and booked a flight. We figured our time was worth the money.

We needed to be at the airport by 8:30 and it was only 20 minutes away so Nathan decided we (he) needed an early morning fishing session. If we were at home there's no way I would have ever gone but I was playing nice since it was vacation. We woke up at 6 and headed across the street to the beach.

That morning our hotel had Sunrise Omelets for breakfast, yum! We then packed up and headed to the airport. I'd heard stories from my mom's visit to see my dad in PR (he worked there for a year) about having to give your weight before you get on the plane so it won't be too heavy and crash. Dad told her, "DON'T LIE!" I remembered that when I was asked my weight upon checking in, no ID required of course. Ha. The flight ever there was easy and took a short 15 minutes vs. the 60 minute ferry ride.

Let the adventure begin!

They put Nathan by the emergency exit. I'd trust him since he's been trained on water crash/rescue training for the helicopters for work.

The famous Flamenco Beach. 1.6km of white sand beach. It was empty then because the ferry hadn't arrived. It was packed later. That's why we headed to...

Carlos Rosario Beach. We also went to a few others near by.

The runway in Culebra. There was a crazy crosswind but our pilot did a great job.

There was another gringo family on the plane and we decided to all catch a cab to the beach together. We figured we'd save money. We had to wait a while but we finally got a cab ($3/person) to Flamenco Beach. The lady at our hotel had told us to skip it and head to Carlos Rosario Beach for good snorkeling and some privacy. More hiking but I was up for it. It was AMAZING! A private beach on an island! They call them the Spanish Virgin Islands for a reason. After a 20 minute hike we arrived at our own beach to spend the day together. A family came at one point but were far away and were barely noticeable. We snorkeled and spent the day together. I can't explain how awesome it was. I got to fly on a chartered plane to a (basically) private beach to spend the day with the guy I love. Bliss!

Nathan walking through the 'quasi-open' (words of the lady at the hotel) gate at the back of the parking lot to get to Playa Carlos Rosario.

View from the hike.

Part of our own beach!


Sexy? No. Silly? Yes.

The parrot fish. He was my favorite. They were everywhere and they have these silly front teeth that stick out. Too cute!

I made him hold my hand because I was afraid of swimming out in the middle of nowhere and getting lost.

Relaxing between snorkel sessions. Nathan decided my belly button was a good storage facility for the sea glass he was finding.

This was the only time I layed out the entire trip. It was about 10 minutes. The rest my beach time was spent exploring or snorkeling.

So amazing. It really is an alternate universe.

One of two places still open for lunch at 3pm. PR has their own time table and places actually close down between lunch and dinner. It was good food and good service from the owners.

The flight back. So happy after such a great day.

We stopped by the kiosks again for some 'fried tasty goodness' and a beer. We'd had the beer the day before and thought it was lame. It tasted awesome with the salty fried food. Great combo!

I should shoot the next Medalla ad. They could use my skills.

We cleaned up and decided to head to the Brass Cactus for a late night snack. It was in all of the guide books and it was actually one of our $50 gift card restaurants. I'm glad we chose the other place. It was 'American' food. The decor was cheesy and it was loud. Not a romantic place at all like Guavas was. The service was 'eh' and after talking to the owner (and checking his info in the guidebook) we found out that he was a liar (about being from Houston) and a bit of a kook.

Culebra was AMAZING beyond words and if you ever head to PR it is a must. Nathan and I would go back just to visit Culebra again. Next time we would book way ahead and spend the night on the island.

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