*I originally started writing this post over 2 weeks ago, but wasn’t able to edit it for some reason. Here it is in all its beautiful San Juan glory*
This was another day that I had been looking forward to for a long time. Part of the reason we booked this particular itinerary was because it stopped in Puerto Rico. It’s a place that I’ve always wanted to visit and I’m glad I had the chance to during our trip.
We woke up just a little earlier than normal around 9:15. Ate a small breakfast at the Red Sail buffet (the usual – bagel with peanut butter and 3 slices of cantaloupe) and got off the ship. We wanted to start as early as possible so we could walk around as much as we wanted to. Even at 10 AM, it was blistering hot.
Our plan was to walk to El Morro, but we had no idea how to get there. I had remembered reading that you should turn left out of the dock, so we did. We walked until we saw a map, but after careful inspection saw that the map was so old and faded it was illegible. We just decided to continue walking towards the water as I had also remember someone mentioning that you walk along the water until you get to a large red “gate”. After just a block or two, we saw the water and knew we were heading in the right direction.
We continued walking until we saw the large red “gate” up ahead.
The gate to Old San Juan
Once we were through the gate, we turned left and walked up the hill. We could see the grounds of El Morro and knew we were almost there.
We walked up to the fort and paid the $3 entrance fee per person. Exploring the fort was a lot of fun and provided beautiful views of the ocean and San Juan.
We walked around the fort for a while, finding nooks and crannies to cool off in, then realized we were extremely hungry. We walked from El Morro into Old San Juan, which was a bit of an adventure because we had no idea where we were going. It wasn’t a problem though. We just found the colorful houses and walked towards what we thought was the center of town. The row houses here are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.
Only a few minutes later, we stumble upon a very cute and authentic looking restaurant in the middle of the square called Cafe Puerto Rico. The inside was small, but cozy and seemed like it wouldn’t be too touristy. We were right. I had the Paella de Mariscos (seafood paella) with platanos (fried plantains) and Noah had Arroz con Pollo. This meal was the best meal of our trip. Every bite I ate was filled with tons of seafood – mussels, clams, calimari, shrimp, scallops – it was delicious. And don’t even get me started on the platanos. I love platanos so, so much.
After heading back to the boat, we found a place at our usual spot – the top deck – just as we were starting to pull away from San Juan. This night provided another beautiful sunset and incredible views. I remember looking out onto San Juan and thinking, “I can’t believe we only have one more port and then it’s over.” It’s hard to believe that our cruise took off almost a month ago!
Tomorrow – we arrive at our final destination, and one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, Grand Turk!