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Cruising the South Coast of Puerto Rico

May 22, 2016

 Cruising By Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico


We did it ! We made it past the Mona Passage unscathed and now here we are in Puerto Rico ! It seems hard to believe we are here. When we would stare at the map of the Caribbean it seemed so far to go. This is another one of those “WOW” moments where we can’t believe what we are doing. 


With the rugged unforgiving coastline of the Dominican Republic behind us we can now hop along the coast of Puerto Rico making short trips from one anchorage to another. This is quite a welcomed change from the long passages we’ve been making since GeorgeTown, Bahamas that were in the neighborhood of 70 miles on average. Now we can enjoy short 12 -20 miles at a time, perfect after the last 246 miles we did to get here.


 Bye Bye Dominican Republic, Hello Puerto Rico ! 


Upon arriving we decided to check into a Marina in Puerto Del Rey for a night to get our feet on solid ground. The Marina staff were incredibly friendly and they even had rental cars onsite. The only down side to coming here first was that we still had to get to Mayaguez to clear customs. We had heard that you could clear at the Marina but that was not the case. Oh well it was a good excuse to rent a car and do some exploring, so off to Mayaguez it was.


Customs is right in the heart of Mayaguez which was nothing special, so we don’t regret landing at Puerto Del Rey and the drive along the coast was quite pretty giving us a taste of the country. The Customs officer was very friendly but efficient is another story. Despite calling the day before to report our arrival and giving all our information over the phone, check in took over an hour , but hey, we made it ! We are officially in Puerto Rico ! Woohoo !


 Saltair 3's Crew all cleared in to Puerto Rico!


Even though the sail from Luperon to Puerto Del Rey was over 240 miles the two coast lines are only 60 miles apart but the differences are noticeable. At first impression Puerto Rico is a much dryer looking climate with a less mountainous profile and while it is far away from the Untited States the influence although subtle is noticeable with familiar franchises, road signs and infrastructure. First thing was first and that was to get set up with a new SIM card so we can stay connected. We had heard about an international plan from T-Mobile. This sounded like the perfect solution! If you could use this plan throuhgout the rest of the islands and simply pay a monthly fee it would be amazing. In the end it turns out it was only good through Puerto Rico and the Spanish Virgin Islands so not quite as international as we were hoping but it worked great in those areas for about $60/month.


 The Puerto Rican Flag flies straight out with 20 knots of wind.


The south coast of Puerto Rico was much quieter than we expected but we soon learned that these small coastal villages and towns really kick it up on the weekends. I guess our timing was a little off since we saw little action. We made our way to one of the more popular cruiser destinations of Salinas. Salinas is a pretty anchorage with gentle sloping mountains for a backdrop that seem to change colour with the passing of the sun. There is a quaint and quiet village with one of the best Panaderias. ( deli style bakery ) I highly recommend trying their fresh bread and a Cubano sandwich. Dee-lish! Think buttery fresh bread grilled panini style stuffed with pickles, shredded lettuce, cheese, bacon, sliced roasted turkey meat and ham. My mouth is watering just writing about it.


 The Beautiful Harbour at Salinas, Puerto Rico.


Besides the amazing sandwiches this little harbour offers a marina where you can get rid of trash, fill with water if needed and offers fuel. There are a few local restaurants and a grocery store about 1 1/2 miles from the anchorage. Be sure and check out the waterfront bar Sal Pa Dentro and say hi to Jonso, he is the owner that will be your instant friend. He  had recently had a fire and the bar burnt to the ground. When we arrived they had only been open a week or so and Jonso was looking for some paraphernalia to get the personality back. Have a look for the Trio Travels flags that we gave him when you go and if you have any cool boat stuff he would love to have some new additions.


 Cole giving Jonso some Trio Travels adorned flags to decorate the bar.


Brad’s Mom had been with us onboard and was flying out of San Juan, making it the perfect opportunity to explore the old fort in the Capital City. We rented a car and drove from the south coast to the north. The driving is a breeze with the two lane highways getting into the city and just like most cities has a fair amount of traffic. We found a cute little hotel on the outskirts of the old town and close to the airport, it was perfect and under $100/night. Not bad for only being a block from the beach. We picked up a few cold beers and headed down the road to check it out. Unlike Canada drinking in public is no problemo.


 The Spanish Gates in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 We loved the iconic guard towers at the fort. 


 The massive malls surrounding the fort were so impressive.


The next day was spent exploring the old town of San Juan and the famous fort San Felipe del Morro. It’s huge and quite impressive with its massive stone walls and iconic touret watch towers.


The Streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. 


 You could spend hours touring the old streets of San Juan.


 The cobblestone streets are very narrow and lined with shops. After a long day of walking and touring it was back to the hotel and airport. Time to say goodbye to Grandma, until the next visit. 



Life is for Livin'


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