On our second day in Puerto Rico, the boy and I headed out to El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest in the US National Forest System. Of course, it started pouring when we got there, but the temperature was balmy and the rain wasn’t icy, so we walked anyway and got soaked to the bone within minutes. It was kind of cool to hike in the rain though – definitely not something I’d normally do.

We ended up hiking for a few hours, taking a few different trails that lead to an old lookout tower and finally the El Yunque summit. Luckily the rain cleared as we were nearing the top, so we got some great photos. Here are a few of my favorites!

L1000468

L1000449

L1000455

L1000453

L1000444 

L1000450L1000441

Sadly we didn’t see any animals, but we heard a ton of birds. That counts, right? After hiking, we were both HUNGRY and had time to kill before our next adventure. Thank goodness for my guidebook! I grabbed a copy of Fodor’s the night before leaving LA and it really came in handy.

You have to imagine being in the middle of nowhere, not speaking the language (Spanish) and passing three-walled, tin-roofed roadside spots to grab food, one after another. I’m sure some of them were great, and likely some of them were awful. But how do you know? Which do you pick?

This guidebook led us to a little place in Luquillo called Lolita’s. Situated on the second floor amongst apartment buildings, we never would have chosen this place ourselves but the food was great. Fodor’s told us to try the mole con pollo, and I got it served enchilada style. I wouldn’t have typically ordered this meal (I’m a boring fajitas girl), but I’m so glad I did.      

mexican1

Check out that spicy sauce, laced with chocolate! The sauces here elevated a standard Mexican dish into something delicious. Even the spicy salsa was so good that we used it to douse both our chips and rice.

mexican2

The boy had some sort of chicken chimichanga, another first for me. Yes, of course I tasted it (and avoided the sour cream). Definitely a winner!

mexican3

Not only did we lick our plates clean, we also had two big margaritas, on the rocks with salt. Actually, mine was a small but two glasses this size was more than enough for me.

mexican5 edit

After a very long and leisurely dinner, we drove out to Lagunas Grande in Fajardo to visit the bioluminescent bay! It’s estimated that there are only about a dozen bio bays in the world, and 3 are in Puerto Rico. The water contains microscopic algae called dinoflagellates which soak up sun throughout the day and then emit tiny flashes of light energy when agitated.

Basically, we got together with a group at dark, headed out in kayaks through mangroves, where we were surrounded on both sides and above with thick tree branches. Once you start approaching the bio bay, every stroke of the paddle, every splash of water, every tiny movement stirs the algae and creates tiny bursts of teal-blue light. It was by far the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

Even though I couldn’t take pictures, I am posting this one I found online so you can see what the light looks like. Honestly, this doesn’t even do it justice. I felt like I was in some kind of Avatar movie!

Milky_way_kayak

Have you ever seen a natural wonder that’s literally taken your breath away? I’m determined to visit another bio bay someday!

Advertisements