Puerto Rico Sailing Trip
After many trips to exotic places over the past 12 years, Puerto Rico did not disappoint us! We were excited to be going to an American territory to see what it had to offer. Since we had heard about some fun and exciting places inland, our trip began with a land piece before boarding our charter sailboat. We spent 4 days (via a rental car) covering some highlights of the mainland. These included Old San Juan, Las Cavernas del Rio Camuy and Arecibo Observatory (in Karst Country), Hacienda Buena Vista, and Cerro el Toro in El Yunque. After these wonderful adventures (as well as having trouble finding things along the way), we were having a great deal of trouble finding the marina. Maria from Sail Caribe came to our rescue, though, driving out and meeting us at a local gas station. She also informed us that they had been trying to reach us. The boat we originally chartered, “Do Over,” had been broken by the charter people before us. Sail Caribe graciously upgraded us from this 40’ catamaran to the 45’ Sherman’s Lagoon. Since it needed to be in a day earlier, they had been trying to reach us to start our charter a day early. Although this didn’t happen (our cell phones weren’t turned on), the upgraded boat made up for the missed day. Once found, the marina was quite comfortable, as was our sleep-aboard before doing the check-out and provisioning the following morning. The only “complaint” that we had was the advice to perhaps skip going to Viequez (by Pedro, our boat check-out person), due to the “higher crime rate” there. We were very thankful that we chose to take our chances on this perspective, as we actually liked Viequez better than Culebra.
La Mina Waterfall in El Yunque – Crowded but pretty area. Larger falls not shown.
Day One (on the boat) – Check-out and provisioning went quickly and smoothly, so we were setting sail about noon. Culebra was dead into the wind, therefore requiring some long tacking amidst fairly rolling seas for about 5 hours. The calm, quiet, secluded bay by Playa Carlos Rosario was a welcome place to grab a mooring ball and settle in for the night. A refreshing swim with a bit of good snorkeling, some dinner with a great sunset and awesome star-gazing completed the day.
Day Two – We began the day motoring a short distance around a point to the town (Dewey), where we had reservations for a dive. Since the dive wasn’t scheduled until 2:00, we had fun taking the dinghy into town through the mangrove-lined channel. The dive was wonderful – great flowing coral, lion fish, lobster and much more created a delightful time, even just for snorkeling. After the dive, a quick, smooth 45-minute sail took us to Ensanada Honda, our next overnight destination. This coral-reef-encircled lagoon was more crowded than the first night’s location, but definitely a great place.
Day Five – After about an hour sail to the town of Esperanza, it took us 3 tries to get where we wanted to anchor, as there were 3 adjacent bays connected by areas of shallow coral. This turned out to be our favorite little town for shopping, lunch and a tour to the Bioluminescent Bay. We were reluctant, since we had heard that this was also called Mosquito Bay, but were pleasantly surprised! We didn’t have any difficulty with mosquitos, although we did put on repellant just in case. The “journey” to the bay via a very rickety van was quite the adventure, but well worth the trip!
Day Six – We made our way from the island of Viequez to Palomino Island with some good sailing. Just before reaching the island, we waited as an apparent sailboat race passed by. Palomino Island was definitely beautiful, but quite crowded with mostly motorboats all “tail-gating” along the beach, playing loud music and picnicking. The island itself is almost completely restricted to guests with wrist bands. So, we just enjoyed a bit of beach walking before making our way back to the boat, but didn’t take time to get over to the very small island pictured below.
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