During our three days in Puerto Rico we kept really busy. The first day we decided to walk into town and tour two of the forts that had been built in the 1500's. After misreading our location on the map our stroll into town turned into a 3 mile hike. (needless to say we took the bus back to the hotel) We like to think of it as our cardio workout for the day. After touring the forts we spent the afternoon wandering around downtown in the old san juan area. We also vistited one of their cathedrals and finished the day with some amazing Puerto Rican food.
The next day we decided that we wanted to do a little hiking in the rain forest and spend an afternoon on the beach. This being out of walking distance required a rental car. James was the lucky one who got to try to navigate traffic without totaling the rental car. Imagine crazy Mexican driving times two. Puerto Rico made the Mexican road ways look downright serene. The drive was worth it though and the views were amazing. We chose a trail where the sign said it was a half mile round trip. I think this was some sort of joke on the tourists because this 1/2 mile hike turned into another 3 mile treck into the rain forest. The waterfall at the end was pretty but not worthy of a 3 mile hike. It felt really good to spend the remainder of the afternoon relaxing on the beach.
Our first stop on the cruise was St. Thomas. We didn't end up doing alot on this stop. We took a taxi into town to do a little shopping and then we spent the remainder of the day just laying in the sun on the ship. (Hey the foods free here.)
Our second stop was Dominica. This is where Pirates of the Caribbean II and III were filmed. Here we went on and awesome excursion called the Wacky Rollers. They loaded everyone up into old army issue trucks where you could stand up and hang out of the top. First they took us on a short drive through town and then up to a view point where we could get pictures of the bay and see most of the island. The second stop was in the botanical gardens where we saw a variety of plants and two parrots found only on this island. Next we wound our way up through the countryside to see one of their sulfur springs. The water boils up out of these at 150 degrees. Our last stop was actually a location where they filmed one of the movies. They said that there was a swimming opportunity and a waterfall. Unfortunately they didn't tell us we that we had to swim to the water fall or would need an underwater camera for any pictures. so the coolest thing that we saw the entire vacation we have no photos of. Everyone got to wear cute yellow floatation devices and the water was really cold but the swim was sooooo worth it. It was a short one minute swim into a sort of open air cave with trees and vines hanging down and inside was the most incredible waterfall. Afterwards there was a tiny hot water waterfall out side the cave that we could warm up in.
The third stop was Barbados. Unsure of what we wanted to do we just wandered into town and ended up having a taxi driver give us a tour of the island. We visited another church, saw the sugar cane fields, and old slave house and stopped a some great view points along the way.
The island gets so narrow at one point that you can see where one side is the caribbean sea and one side is the atlantic ocean. Along with several other passengers from our cruise ship we piled into a cab and headed to the beach for a little snorking. We only spent three hours on the beach but got fried to a crisp. I don't know if it was because we were right on the equator. Because we never got burned like that any other time on our vacation. Our cab driver promised to pick us back up at 2:00 but the sweet guy never showed back up and we were way too far off the beaten path to walk back. Luckily a local lady offered to give us a ride back to port. We got to cram six people into four seats.......good times.
Our last port of call was the Dominican Republic. It's sort of weird to think that everyone in Haiti is trying to escape to the US and here we are vacationing on the other side of the island. The first night we spent wandering around the town square and checking out yet another church. I had to include the picture with the church in the background because James was really pround of his photography :)
The last couple of pictures are just of us at a couple of the formal nights on board the ship. It was a great vacation but came at a really busy time for us. It was fun to get away but it was also good to get home. Our first day home was also James's first day at his new job.