The day started out VERY early for us. We woke up at 5 to take the 6 o’clock ferry to Fajardo. I had wanted very badly to take my motorcycle and a friends to Arecibo and then to the West tip. With the motorcycle troubles, Adam, Ryan, Bryan, and I decided to rent a car and not postpone the trip anymore. We thought about putting a reservation in but didn’t get around to it in time. We took a cab to the ferry station and got on board. We all weren’t too concerned about getting an car from Enterprise because we should be one of the first people there. Even with how extremely early it was for all of us, we were having a blast to be on such a grand adventure together. : )
Nothing was in our way, and the world was ours. We had bought some pop tarts to split from a vending machine in the ferry terminal and portioned up two packets between the four of us. Adam *the one in black* had found some other points of interest in our journey that was going to be completely rocking. The world was going to be taken as it came, as far as what comes first. I couldn’t have been prouder of how laid back these guys were with taking one step at a time. Our friend from Fajardo was incredibly kind in driving us from the ferry to the Enterprise. We ended up being the first ones in the door and were excited about getting a cheap car.
It wasn’t more than a minute of talking to the lady at the front who told us that they don’t have any of the smaller cheaper vehicles available. They only have an Suv or a jeep. We had hoped for a cheap car around 120 dollars but it was looking to be closer to 200 now. 0_o. Thats alright though. They didn’t even have the car at the same enterprise. The four of us had to be taken to another location to pickup our slightly cheaper vehicle (the SUV). We hopped in a transport vehicle and were driven to the most amazing resort called the conquistador. This place has the only Starbucks I have yet seen or heard about in Puerto Rico and 20 restaurants inside it!
The lady with the rentals convinced us to spend 10 more dollars and rent the 2017 Jeep convertible. The boys and I had a tough time containing our excitement. It was easily the newest vehicle we had ever driven with only 1600 miles. BRAND NEW. And spotless. The roof came off first to be stowed in the back and the radio was cranked up in a Puerto Rican style of nice and loud.
After our bumpy start and different interesting hoops we had to jump through to get on the road, our spirits could not have been higher. Moral and general happiness were at record levels. As we made our way to San Juan and started getting into the more mountainous winding roads of Arecibo, Bryan *the one in the beany* gave us reality checks saying “Guys can you believe we are driving a 2017 JEEP convertible through the mountains of Puerto Rico right now!!!” The fresh air buffeting us felt so great with the windows and top being down.
Vieques is enchanting but our desire for exploring new places and being the farthest west any of us have been in Puerto Rico continued to be incredibly magical. Ryan *The one in the flannel* gave us some interesting directions according to his google maps on his phone. We ended up taking some extra extra scenic back roads and a few passes around the quite neighborhood homes where most tourists would never go. And we all felt the tourist part being four white guys driving a brand new brightly colored red Jeep places we had never been.
It wasn’t too long after looking at a map that we settled on the nearest point of interest that Adam had picked out, Cueva de Indio. Moms and my mom especially, if you are reading this, you may want to skip this part. Handrails were nowhere to be found.
There were some wonderful areas to explore all around this spot with these massive waves of the ocean crashing over the rocks far below.
Lots of good climbing spots on the rocks AND you can see Adam pointing in the picture above to a spot in a cave that kept surging with ocean waves. It would fill up and go down. If the ocean was calmer it would have been so awesome to jump in the water and see if you could safely swim it out. Today it would have been waaaayy to dangerous. Other places while walking around had some neat holes that showed the powerful swelling water way below.
We found some other good vantage points on these huge rocks to enjoy the view and just sit in awe.
After our fill of the view and a satiated appetite in adequately exploring everything here, we hopped back in the jeep to head to our next destination.; Cueva Ventana!
It seemed to be about lunch time according to our stomachs and we stopped to ask about the best place to grab a bite to eat; nothing expensive and someplace that the locals eat. Joy’s BBQ was the answer and we got excited seeing the police eating when we pulled up. You know its a good place when the police are eating there!
For around 7 dollars we each had incredibly full plates of rice, chicken, beans, and even a drink! It was some of the best chicken I have had in my whole time in Puerto Rico! I personally thanked the cook and owner for the passion he put into his food and for providing such awesome food to everyone.
Fueled up, we made it to Cueva Ventana and found out that this one was 20 dollars a person instead of 5, AND we would have a tour guide among other strict safety rules. We each decided that in many years down the road we wouldn’t want to have missed such a breathtaking natural wonder as Cueva Ventana to just save 20 dollars.
With our minds made up, we semi-painfully forked over the 20 dollars and headed into the caves.
It was dark inside and with special lights we took a look at the bats hanging from the ceiling, cockroaches on the wall, and looked for snakes. These large caves had a few old marking from the Taino Indians and it wasn’t long before we had made it to the window in the cave window 700 feet above the ground below.
What a view! Sitting there, taking it all in, reminded me how much I like being high up. My mind soon drifted to actually being able to jump out of it with a parachute, hang-glider, or even being able to run and jump out of it, if you could fly like Peter Pan. Ahh…. beautiful.
Looking at the time we didn’t have enough time to see the Arecibo observatory before it closed. With another glance at the map, Rincon became the next destination. And off we set. : )
We had brought our hammocks to wild camp wherever we found a good spot. (Probably near the beach) BUT we also wanted to check out the one hostel in Rincon. Our plan was to get there and see how they compared to Lazy hostel. With each of us working at a hostel, to say I was curious what attitude/environment theirs had would be an understatement.
We hit some rain as we entered Rincon and in that moment I was thankful that we hadn’t been on the motorcycles. The other awesome thing about the car was the sweet music we were listing to on the radio and the great spontaneous dance moves. Our feeling of camaraderie was very high!
When we walked into the hostel a couple blocks from the ocean, I asked the general manager how much it was for a night and if we could get a tour. He kindly showed us around, and I asked if he had been to Vieques, explaining that we all worked at the best hostel there. He excitedly said how he knew about it and gave the four of us a room for free in good will. It was his wish to have an exchange program set up for hostel workers to stay at ours and be able to stay at theirs for free. Gotta love free housing!
We walked around the small surf town and were struck by the lack of roaming horses, stray dogs, and even trash. This place had a United States feel to it. A lot of the people we saw were white surfer types.
After some more exploring, we headed back to the hostel. Two of the gentleman staying there had just stayed at Lazy’s and I excited greeted them when I saw them walking up the hostel steps.
We ended up going to dinner and I found a place with CORN ice cream! The lady at the front very kindly gave me a sample, smiling a lot at my large excitement over an icecream I have never tried before. IT was surprisingly good, sprinkled with some cinnamon.
It was slightly disappointing with all the clouds that were out. I at least had a smile in my heart but there weren’t that many people at the beach or at the other restaurants. Vieques had a lot more happening from what we saw. The four of us decided that Rincon has a lot of potential to be amazing but it would be good to see it on the weekend and/or with some nice sunny weather.
Until part 2!