Our Trip Around The Island Of The Enchanted Island of Puerto Rico:
As I sit here remembering our recent (two weeks ago) trip around the island, I feel so very grateful and unbelievably lucky to live here. No matter what the learning curve is and no matter what the adjustments we have had to make, now more than ever, I truly feel that Puerto Rico is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, not to mention lived in.
If you are just visiting Puerto Rico, you may be wondering if you could do a road trip around the island.
The answer is: “you absolutely can and here are some things to help you plan.”
You are driving along a highway through beautiful, green, lush mountains and as your round one of the mountain tops, all of a sudden you find yourself in the desert. Then, you continue on and find where the desert meets the Caribbean…wow!
That was our experience. I do not mean this like it was a nice gradual change in landscape between lush tropical island and desert; it really felt like it changed as soon as we crossed over the top of the mountain.
And, I don’t mean it’s a little drier than the rain forest type of mountains.
More like the high mountains in northern Arizona or perhaps even Nevada – no I’m not kidding. That truly was our experience on this drive around the island of Puerto Rico.
But let me back up a bit..
We did a road trip around the island for our anniversary. We started in Luquillo, of course, (our current hometown) and we headed south. We did this against the Google Maps and GPS recommendations because we wanted to see “ALL” of the island. So, we decided to take the long route:
Here were our impressions from the road trip, as well as a few tips for you:
- [ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””] [/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]The entire trip around the island takes only about 6-7 hours driving depending on traffic. Add to that any breaks you may want to take. I highly recommend doing this over a 2 day period at least, because even though it can be done in one, it will be one heck of a long day in the car. Our trip took about 7 hours driving time and we stopped in Rincon for a couple of nights – it was our anniversary after all :-).[/ezcol_1half_end]
- Humacao is technically not that far from us but we were both shocked at how big it was since we hadn’t visited before (don’t judge me, I had to get about 4 months of beach before I was willing to leave). It is a city of about 60,000 people and like Luquillo, it is nestled between ocean (Caribbean) and the mountains. Beautiful. We will go back to explore it more sometime.
- I had heard that there is desert in Puerto Rico but hearing is not the same as seeing – when people say desert, they mean a real desert! The south and southeast part of the island is very dry and you can find barren landscapes, mountains, and cactus growing there – yet it is quite beautiful. The scenario I described above was shocking, breathtaking, and amazingly scenic.
- The aqua blue waters of the Caribbean as you come down route PR52 through the desert are amazing. We went through on a hazy day but it was still gorgeous to see the stark harmony of the desert and the blue waters joining together as we came around the mountains – this was around Salinas. That sight alone was worth the drive!
- Ponce was not what we expected. Because it is in the dry desert part of the island it seemed much less run down than the rainforest side that we live on. That humidity and rain really beat things up here. Ponce was clean and neat comparing to our region and we liked it a lot – at least as far as cities go.
- Although the temperatures were hotter in the south, it did not seem as hot to us because the humidity was lower. We actually really liked it.
- Rincón was great, very much like a surfer town you would expect to find in California. Again very pretty but I will say that our beaches here in Luquillo are far more picturesque – perhaps I am partial. Rincón does have some crazy surf waves though, sometimes 20 feet high!
- North side was full of mogotes – something I have never seen before and found unique and pretty. These are steep-sided small hills (usually limestone) which are seen to either stand-alone or form chains and are covered by lush greenery. They were extremely picturesque along the highway.
- Each part of the island is very distinctive in both how it looks and how it feels. We were surprised by the changes in landscape, rainforest to desert, high mountains to plains, and all the hills and valleys in between. Each area was very different and each incredibly beautiful in its own way.
It is hard to believe that one “small” island can have so much diversity. When people ask me, if I have gotten “island fever” (a feeling of restlessness of wanting to get of the island and get to the mainland) yet – I say: Hell NO! There is too much to see right here. I highly recommend doing a trip around the island.
Now that we have scoped out the perimeter, we have identified areas we want to go back to – which is just about everywhere – ha ha ha. Next up my impressions of Rincón.