Saturday, April 28, 2012

Puerto Rico

After doing the Mona Passage, our first stop in Puerto Rico was Boqueron.

Boqueron is a sleepy little beach town on the west coast of Puerto Rico that comes alive Friday through Sunday.  Jet skies, loud music, and traffic jams are the norm on weekends.  The anchorage has great protection and holding, and it is a good rest stop after the Mona Passage.

Galloway’s Restaurant provides a hangout and Internet availability for cruisers and an odd assortment of expatriates.

Our next stop was Ponce.  The only anchorage in Ponce is dominated by the Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club.  Unfortunately, the PY&FC is not really cruiser friendly, and the club extracts $10 per person a day to use their dinghy dock. 

A short distance from the anchorage was a boardwalk with 4 or 5 restaurants that blasted 4 or 5 different musical selections for our listening enjoyment.
The actual city of Ponce is a $15 cab ride away from the anchorage.

Visiting Ponce however is well worth the effort.  Ponce has Puerto Rico’s largest population outside of San Juan metropolitan area and a rich history.

The early 19th century brought a wave of immigration and interesting architecture to Ponce. 

Most of old town Ponce is still there, but many of the buildings are in need of restoration.

Throughout Puerto Rico, we found the people to be very friendly and eger to help us with our Spanish.

Puerto Rico produces a lot of great looking produce.

And, Pollie found the clothes shopping to be interesting.

Many of the brands seen in the U.S. are available in Puerto Rico.

But, we visited a local’s place for lunch where we met the owner.  He let us examine the carnival masks he had decorating the walls.  The food was outstanding.

Our next stop along the south coast of Puerto Rico was Salinas.  Salinas is much more cruiser friendly. 

The area around Salinas is much more rural than Ponce.  The building above is an old train station left over from the time when sugar cane was king in the area.

Our last Puerto Rican stop was not on the mainland, but anchored off of Vieques Island.  After the U.S. Navy stopped using Vieques as a bombing range in 2003, that section of the island became a wildlife preserve noted for its beautiful beaches and azure-colored water.  Because of weather constraints and reports of dinghy thefts, we only anchored and did not go ashore – maybe next time.

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