Visiting Puerto Rico was a great experience. We got off of the cruise ship and walked. And walked and walked. We were hoping to find a beach to spend the day at. We found a beach pretty quickly and at that point started walking the beach when we could, or walking through town when we had to.
We ended up stopping 3.2 miles from where we started. We found a hotel with a bar and pool on the beach. As we walked up the steps, there was a security guard there, standing on the steps. We assumed he may stop us but he did not so we went to the bar and ordered a drink. We sat there for a while and watched the waves. Words cannot describe how beautiful the beach and waves are in Puerto Rico. We ordered another drink and then headed to the pool, again, no one caring that we were there. We took a swim and then headed back toward our cruise ship. It was very exciting to see how the people lived in Puerto Rico. We took the streets back as opposed to the beach. We stopped at a restaurant and had a $2.00 beer and then continued our journey.
A while later we stopped at a tiny little bar with a pool table. There were a few children there, one playing pool, probably 15 or so. We sat down and ordered a beer and began talking to this man that told us he had cancer. We talked to him for quite a while, he told us so many great stories about his life and growing up there. He later told us that the bar was for locals and not tourists but he was very glad that we had stopped there. He bought us a drink and we in turn bought him one. Funny how ignorance is bliss, we didn’t know we didn’t “belong” and loved socializing with everyone.
As it started to get dark, we headed back to the ship for dinner and to call it a day. It was a spontaneous, wonderful day that I will never forget.
So when we visited St Thomas, we decided to get off the ship and just play it by ear, nothing planned. I was hoping to rent a scooter and sure enough that is what we did. It was only $65.00 for the day, which to me was very reasonable.
It took a lot of getting used to as you drive on the opposite side of the street and there are a lot of mountains and hills and very sharp turns. We laughed a lot as we had several close calls but being adventurous and spontaneous, we just went with it.
We stumbled upon a park, paid $10.00 to go in and walked the beach. It was awesome. Very few people there, a pavilion and several picnic tables, wooded. We walked for a long way, as far as the beach would take us.
We got back on the scooter and rode around for a while and saw a sign that said public beach access. We took a very steep road down to the area and once we got there, the only sign we saw was a Ritz Carlton. We parked the scooter in public parking and walked toward the resort. We walked up to the bar and I ordered a bloody mary and a beer. Paid $22.00 for the two. That’s not me but it was a time and a place. We went to the beach and sat on a couple of lounge chairs with padded cushions. I joked they were more comfortable than the mattress on my bed.
It was beyond amazing to take this all in. The wait staff came over several times and asked if we wanted anything. I was surprised that we were there without question. We took a swim and then headed out. We had to know if over the mountain was the “public beach access” so we walked over hill and saw THE REST of the Ritz Carlton. It was beyond beautiful. They actually had a pump with several different sunblocks that you could use.
We left the resort and headed on our way. We came upon a resort that the guy that rented us the scooter said to go to. Secret Harbor Beach Resort . We sat at the bar and ordered some lunch. It was very good. We couldn’t help but notice the swim platform in the lagoon and agreed immediately we would swim out to it before we left. We asked the bartender if you had to stay at the resort in order to enjoy all of this and she said no, anyone is welcome as the beaches are not owned by anyone. Maybe that is why nobody questioned us at the Ritz Carlton??
We ate our lunch and then swam out to the swim platform. It was something I will probably never do again as where do you find that scenario??
We got back on the scooter after our swim and headed up the mountains as we wanted to see the view. We got pretty high, maybe not the highest mountain, but pretty high. We saw a couple of goats that were just running around the mountain.
After we went up, we decided to head back, get closer to the ship as we were running out of time.
Once back to the port we had a beer, decompressed and headed back to the ship.
Island number three of our cruise. Explored, adventure, risk, crazy and fun would describe the day. Another day I will never forget.
Turks and Caicos Grand Turk
Today I visited Grand Turk for the first time. We wanted to see the island but really didn’t want to take a guided tour so I quickly found a plan b, which was to rent a golf cart. It was $80.00 for the day, which I thought was very reasonable. What better way to see the sights on our own terms. The island is so many things. It is beautiful, surrounded by turquoise waters.There were many homes, looked like million dollar homes, that were half done and partially boarded up, distressed. When we returned the golf cart I asked the man that rented it to us what had happened and he said that when the economy crashed, many people that were building those homes lost their jobs and the banks pulled out of the projects. It was very sad.
We did a lot of off road exploring on the golf cart as many of the roads are dirt roads. We visited beautiful beach after beautiful beach. I wondered why someone didn’t pick up the garbage on the beaches but since they were off the beaten path, maybe no one cared. The beaches were still breathtaking, you just needed to look past it. There were several beaches that it was only us, which was very nice. While there I was relaxed and at peace.
We came upon a very interesting project. There were several cottages and an in ground pool on the ocean in a very pretty forest. It looked like it was going to be a very expensive resort. Evidently the project was never finished, all but destroyed and distressed. I wondered if it was from a storm or the economy. It had so much potential.
We visited the salt ponds and made our way to the Grand Turk Lighthouse.
My favorite thing about the island and our adventure were the donkeys and horses that roamed the island, free, content, well fed. It made me very happy to see these animals happy. The way it should be.
After our golf cart ride we made sure we had enough time to spend a good part of the afternoon at the resort area.
The resort area was magnificent. The sand so white and the water so blue. We did some snorkeling and saw quite a few fish. There were plenty of chairs and umbrellas at the beach so we were very comfortable. The island natives were friendly and accommodating. There were plenty of rentals there from scooters, to four wheelers to dune buggies, snorkeling equipment and more to fit everyone’s needs.
We did some shopping and bought a couple of bottles of rum at the duty free store. We had a drink at Margaritaville before we headed back to the cruise ship.
Grand Turk was a perfect combination of adventure, exploring and relaxing. I would highly recommend the island to anyone.
Theresa Olivetto is an Outside Sales Agent for Roseborough Travel Agency. If you’d like to ask her more about her travels and experiences, please feel free to contact her.