A bunch of "thank yous" are in order and I'd like to get them out front here. First and foremost...huge thanks to Ian, Juan, Zaida and her husband for making our trip to PR a wonderful and memorable experience. You selflessly gave us your time, access to your farm, and your fruit. There may be some out there that think "what's the big deal? So they walked you around their farms". Well, it is a big deal. Taking care of and managing 90+ acres requires lots of work and time. Be it working out on the farm or dealing with administration items, it takes a lot of time and effort. There are vendors, clients, USDA, tax jackoffs, and a whole slew of others that demand their time and in some cases, their pound of flesh. Crew has to be paid. Fruit has to be picked, cleaned, packed, and taken to the markets. So yeah, we damn straight appreciate the time they take out of their schedules to walk a bunch of fruit fanatics, some might say idiots, around their farms.
Ian also coordinates all our of dinners each night. He knows many of the owner/chefs so he has a huge advantage on where the best places to go that can accommodate our group size as well as get a good meal. This also allows us to spend more time with Ian. So dinners are always one of our favorite activities while in PR. We also love PR food. Fresh seafood. I mean right off the boat that morning fresh.
Thanks to Gwenn...without her we might all have been staying at the Rincon Inn. This alone is worth a huge thank you! Gwenn and Ray got us safely and true to our destinations and back again. And also for waiting in the Alamo rental car line saving a spot for your "husband" Harry! Thanks to John for driving me around...although even now I still occasionally stab the area in front of me with my foot looking for the break pedal. And I may have a tad bit of a whiplash as well! Kidding...I definitely have one! Thank you to Gwenn, Ray, and Warren for sharing your photos included in the galleries and this blog. Your pics tell a better story than I can...and you take much better pics than I do also. And lastly, thanks to all the gang that joined in on this trip: Gwenn, Ray, Warren, Brandon, Harry, John, Collin, Jimmy, Ester, Adam, Cindy, & Hayden. It was one hell of a trip!
Flights, lodging, and rental cars were more expensive this year for sure. Lodging and rental cars were in high demand since most of the locals were staying on the island for their own getaways. And let's not forget about COVID-19 restrictions. For our group, vaccinations were mandatory for the farm tours. There was a PR health check we had to participate in to get into the country without issues. This trip would definitely have a different vibe to it. All in all though, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.
My American Airlines flights down, believe it or not, went without a hitch. I had a quick flight to Philly first with a short one hour layover. My flight to San Juan was in a different terminal and I was a bit concerned about getting off the plane and making it there in time. The checkout desk was able to move me up several rows making me feel a little better. Some people really engage their "dick around" mode when getting off of a plane. These folks either have arrived at their destination or have a long layover. They are in no hurry whatsoever to get off the plane and they act like no one else on the plane is either. Get yer shit and go people. I'm glad I was able to move up several rows. That put me directly behind the first class seats and there was only four rows. I made it to my next gate with eight minutes before boarding. The big bonus was being able to use some mileage points and bumping my longer flight to San Juan to first class. That my friends, is the only way to fly.
This year, all of our flights arrived two to three hours later than we normally do. The real early flights were not available or just not there at all. We all met up at the car rental spot in the airport...except for Harry and Brandon. Their flight was an hour late. Never fails. Then we had to wait nearly two hours for the dip shits at Alamo to bring our cars. This was supposed to be our lazy, stress free day and in no hurry to get to Rincon. Unfortunately, this delay put us far behind our schedule and our lazy, stress free day went down the shitter. We still had stops to make before getting to Rincon.
If something in particular was not pointed out, one would never know of the devastation that took place during Maria. The eco system recovered remarkably. The island was beautiful as ever. I was not expecting to see many giant trees still standing, or lush, green jungles. I know there were some areas that got absolutely leveled, but obviously not the entire island. Hurricanes do lots of damage besides tearing down trees. Don't get me wrong, there were areas that probably had trees missing, it was just difficult to realize given how fast things had grown back. That's a good thing.
Ian changed the dinner venue and time so this gave us a little leeway. We made a quick stop at the Econo grocery in Rincon for some water and snacks. Dumped our luggage at the houses and headed right back out to meet Ian for dinner. No time for showers. Doh! Dinner tonight was at The Shipwreck. This is one of our go-to places each year. Most places are outdoor dining and this was no exception. The food is normally very good and the beer cold. Not cheap though. Fresh fish is the norm. I had grouper with a pineapple/mango sauce I believe. Pretty good if not a little sweet for me. But damn was it hot out and there wasn't a lick of a breeze. It was awesome for all of us to finally get with Ian after all this time away. He hasn't changed one bit physically or in his larger-than-life personality. He's still the main character of the show. We spent the entire dinner catching up.
And the check? For most large groups, nobody likes to divvy up individual dinner checks. This is unfortunate, because then we have to rely on everyone's own math skills to tally up their portion of the bill. Even with the use of phone calculators, it is still a comedy of errors. Thankfully the bills at least show each item and their cost. So everyone knows what their dinner and drinks cost them. Then you have to figure your part of the tax...which is hefty, and your part of the tip...which is normally much deserved. You'd think this would be pretty simple. It takes several counts of the mound of cash and the check makes several loops around the table. Someone or more forgot something or didn't put enough in...the check makes another round! And we go thru this every night.
It was rather late by the time we got back to the houses and showers had to wait until the air conditioning cooled the house down. The AC has to be turned off while we were not there. Understandable, but whew! Sure heated up quick and cooled down slow.
Day 2 - Ian Crown's Farm
Our merry cast of characters for this trip include: Brandon, Warren, Harry, John and his son Collin(sp?), Ray and Gwenn, Adam, Jimmy and Ester, Cindy and Hayden(neighbors to Ian's farm). Jimmy & Ester are only with us for today's farm tours. Juan Miranda was also joining us at Ian's farm this morning and it was good hooking up with him after four years as well. Ian's crew...Robert and the rest of the guys looked good and we always get a warm welcome from them.
Early morning and it's already hot and humid. Welcome to the tropics! These tours are not for the faint of heart. It pays to have done some exercising before the trip. This is going to be a huge day. We will be doing Ian's farm this morning and then going to Juan's farm right afterwards. Some ATV's sound good.
I had almost forgotten what a joy a fresh, off the tree mangosteen could be! I've only had ones purchased from Asian markets in the last four years. These are old, hard, and most of the time not fit to eat. They are so hard in fact, that you must cut them with a knife. Fresh? Man, you just give a little squeeze and the rind/shell bursts right open. A beautiful thing.
And for the record...it is just MANGOSTEEN. Not "purple mangosteen" dammit! There is just one mangosteen and this is it. It happens to be purple but should never ever ever ever need a color reference...unless you are in the single digit IQ range. Any other garcinia that was given a common name with mangosteen in it was a piss poor attempt at naming the fruit...no imagination at all went into the naming. Lemondrop mangosteen. Yellow mangosteen. Cherry mangosteen. Button mangosteen. I'm sure there are more. These are just common names. The real mangosteen. The one that sits on the throne...is garcinia mangostana...mangosteen. Sorry...just a button of mine that gets pushed. Here endeth the lesson.
All the fruit is great, but there is just something about durian. It definitely grows on you. It is a huge bonus when we get to try any.
This section of trees needed some maintenance, but like most farms on the island, finding extra, and trustworthy, people to work has been a difficult task. People are being paid to sit home on their ass instead of out getting proper employment. Where is the incentive?
Still...everywhere we look, we're amazed to realize what took place during Maria, yet still see all of these giant and beautiful trees still standing.
The last pic is us around one of the few remaining achchairu trees. We were definitely doing some munching! This tree had so many fruit, we could all probably have stood there eating for the rest of the day and still not eat them all. Crazy loaded.
In the middle pic from left to right is me, Cindy, Ian, Ester, & Jimmy. Yeah...I was the one not smart enough to stand in the shade.
Last pic is rollinias to the left of me, mangosteens to the right...here I am, stuck in the middle with you. How many of you will get that reference? From left to right is Haydan holding a rollinia, Ray, Ian, Adam, Collin, and Harry. The rollinias are huge and on a slope that would make a mountain goat think twice about going down. And of course, most of the ripe fruit was way way out of reach...even for Jimmy.
We occasionally pass by Ian's crew working hard around the trees. They are either picking fruit, cutting back tall grass and weeds, or doing other maintenance required to keep a farm like this in production. These guys work their asses off. They not only battle the heat and humidity all day, every day, but working on those steep slopes often requires them to be tied off with ropes to keep from tumbling down the hills. We all spent time trying to get down a slope in a controlled manner only to scratch our heads wondering how the hell we were getting back up! Crawling would be an option were it not for the fire ant mounds that would ruin your day if disturbed.
We are only covering about half of the farm today since we will be back on Thursday for the other half. Juan Miranda joined us this morning and now we are all going to pile into our vehicles and drive to his farm for a tour...including Ian. We've been lucky with the rain so far and hoping that holds. We've been in plenty of storms on the farms over the years and it's normally not a pleasant experience. This is especially true when we are at the bottom of a valley and need to claw our way to the top thru and over wet clay and running water.
Juan's farm is not too far from Ian's. The drive will give us some time to rest our feet and legs a bit and to rehydrate more before the next tour. We all carry water around with us while walking. Otherwise, you're liable to start sleeping with the fire ants.
Day 2 - Juan Miranda's Farm
Juan was at first reluctant to invite us to the farm this year. He felt that it is still recovering and that there just would not be much for us to see or any fruit to eat. It just was not in the shape he would like it to be for us. We were able to finally convince Juan that coming down just for fruit was not our primary goal. The people mattered the most. All of these folks have been so good to us over the years and we've become quite close to them and care about them a great deal. We wanted to visit and spend time with them, not just their farms. We also understood that the farm is not up to his standards, but more than enough for us.
Above is Juan's new nursery and propagation area. His last one on the other side of the property was pretty much destroyed in the hurricane. This is also a side of the farm we've not seen before, so this was a bonus. We were also starting from the very top of the property and had a long long walk down a fairly steep clay and rock path. We were already tired from all the walking at Ian's! Harry gave one look down that path and said "nope". He stretched out by the vehicles and would wait for our return.
Oh yeah...I mentioned earlier that we were starting from a different half of the farm this time. What we didn't know was that we would also be trekking the other side as well! LOL! Well...this is what we signed up for after all. It truly was good to see all of the farm...especially the parts never seen before. It's been way too long since our last visit. Tired? You bet your ass we were tired. But it was a good tired. And it has not rained on us...yet.
This pretty much concludes the farm tour. I believe Juan really enjoyed us being there as much as we did. He is very proud of the farm and he should be. He's accomplished quite a bit with very little help.
We still had a long trek back to the vehicles. Hopefully the jungle didn't make a claim on poor Harry waiting for us. It was a fantastic day spent with a lot of fantastic people. It was wonderful spending all this time with them and seeing their lovely farms. But I gotta tell ya, we were not sad to see it end for the day. We were beat! To borrow a line from my wife: I feel like I've walked till I have no legs! My dogs were barking man. It was time to race back to the house, grab a couple cold ones, and let the ocean sooth over some sore bones and muscles. And that is exactly what we did. By this time it had started raining. So it made for a wet drive back.
Day 2 - Dinner at The Beach House
We started off at some tables outside the bar area. The beers were nice and cold and we would have been treated to a beautiful sunset if not for the storm that was rolling in. Rolling? No, not rolling. This SOB stomped in. The rain came down like you were standing under Niagara Falls! Luckily they were able to accommodate us up on the second floor under cover. Kind of odd since they told us earlier that there was no seating available up there. Hmmm...
The servers were mainly on the ball. However, the kitchen was not. The appetizers seemed to come out fairly quick. We started off with wings, calamari, and some breadfruit tostones. The wings were fantastic. It was a good hour and a half before our meals came out. My burger was barely warm and uninspiring. I don't believe many others were impressed with their entrees either. Oh well, we were there to bond, eh?
Day 3 - Jardines Eneida Nursery and Farm
This is a great local nursery with attached farm. Ian has known the family/owners for many many years. This was our original "in" to see and enjoy the farm and this has been one of our special go-to spots every year we come down. Zaida is a special lady and always leads the tours with Ian. They are very generous with their fruit, knowledge, and history of the farm and nursery. It never gets old hearing the stories.
The first pic is one of their genepas. It's either the Sasa or Jose Pabon. Both are very delicious fruit. It's the trees we start off with each year and it's always something we look forward to. These are nothing like those tiny fruit you find at the market, or being sold in the streets down in Florida. These are bigger, sweeter, and doesn't suck all the moisture out of your mouth like most of them do. The flesh still clings tenaciously to the seed though.
Right after this is normally the achachairu and madronos. Unfortunately they now had this area fenced off for cows and the trees were nearly overgrown with grass and weeds. Damn!
Top right pic is Ian. He took on the task of opening the durians and trying not to get stabbed by the spikes. Middle left is Ray holding the durian. Ray is not a huge fan of durian...yet, but we all heard him say this was pretty good...which he still denies ever saying! LOL! The last two pics are of Warren clowning around. Everyone knows how much this guy loves durian so he hams it up a bit. He'll eat any durian or durian product. I do believe he would use durian soap, durian shampoo, and durian deodorant...if there were such things. Guess what! These products exist! Shit...I hope Warren doesn't read this.
The bottom right pic shows some high grass being cut. No, they aren't letting grass and weeds get out of control. This is chop and drop. The cut material will feed the soil. The herons in the far distance appreciate the opportunity to nab insects that have been stirred up. Even with a tractor, this is time consuming work...and hot. There's still a lot of manual cutting that will need done around the trees and structures.
The sad news is that the nursery and farm will be put up for sale. This would end a long run for the family, but it is just getting too much for them. I don't know how many trips we have left for us, but it would sure be a shame if this place was not a part of it. We all wish the family our best. Thank you again for your hospitality. We will miss you.
Well, this tour wraps up our Wednesday as far as farm tours go. We were hoping to visit the USDA's Tropical Agriculture Research Station(TARS) in Mayaguez and/or Bryan Brunner (Montoso Gardens). Ian found out that TARS is completely shut down. They are not even allowing employees to come in. All due to COVID. Bryan hurt his knee a week or so ago and could not possibly take us around hurting like that. We all wish him a speedy recovery.
In between swims, several of us did some mad scrambling to pack boxes full of fruit, seeds, and cuttings to be shipped home or to a friend or two. Warren had his grafted rambutan to prepare as well. It was planted in solid clay and the plant weighed probably 20 lbs. That crap had to come off. If not, the shipping cost would have been outrageous and would have just given USPS more of an opportunity to destroy the box and contents...not that these clowns need any more incentive. Our plan was to hurry up and get to the post office before they closed. But...we were already too late. They closed at 3:45. We could slow down now. No hurry. Brandon and I should have another beer.
Day 3 - Dinner at La Copa Llena
I mentioned our comedy of errors in settling the dinner bills. Tonight was no exception. We really thought we had it...especially after counting four or five times. But we were still $45 short! WTH?! The bill made it's way around the table once again for everyone to check their amounts. Wait...we've got a late comer...Adam? Adam?!! Shy, quiet Adam?! Yeah, he was most likely too busy listening to Ian and wasn't paying attention to our struggle. He had completely forgotten to chip in his amount. Forgot? Yeah...we'll give him the benefit of the doubt this time. The look on his face was priceless when he realized what happened. LOL!
Day 4 - Back To Ian Crown's Farm
This would be the second round at Ian's. There was also a lunch planned. Ray and Gwenn stopped and picked up some sandwich wraps and other items for our contribution. I was planning on making this a rather care-free day. I was not bringing the extra backpack to lug around fruit, cutters, and loads of other stuff. I wasn't even planning on grabbing any seeds or scions today. This was an eat-on-the-go and just enjoy the company tour.
This side of the farm has the marangs. For the first time in many trips, there was ripe marang that was reachable. We had long sticks and/or Brandon's height and long arms to reach many of them. We also did the grab-the-back-of-someone's-pants-and-hold-on-while-they reach-way-out method. It all worked. We were able to get about a half dozen fruits. Since this was the start of the day's walking, the fruit were abandoned on the trail for later pick up. This is a story it's own story for later.
As I've mentioned, there are lots and lots of variety on this farm There was one year alone that we were able to sample over fifty types of fruit! There are langsats and baccaurea to name a few. Unfortunately, these were barren of fruit this year.
It's getting close to lunch time. Ian must have gotten a call telling him the bunch of fried up goodies were about ready to be served. None of us have to be told twice to attend a meal. So this is where we end the main tour of the farm and head back to the house. This is also where Warren, Brandon, John, Collin and I head back to round up the marang we left on the trail. We grabbed a box and hiked back down one hill, up another, crossed this...you get the idea. This is the beginning of where things go sideways with this little adventure of ours.
Someone jokingly suggested that Collin, being the youngest and fittest member of our little group, run up this next hill and down another to fetch the marang and bring it back. We adults will stand in the shade and wait. Sounded good to all of us really. John even sweetened the deal and offered his son $20 if he performed this deed. Collin, being no dummy, jumped right on this deal and off he went! Kids...
Collin returned after a little while with a loaded box of marang. Great job! Oh...but his job is not complete. None of us adults wanted to carry that big, heavy box back up the very steep drive and to the house, so John told his son that getting the $20 meant carrying the box to its final destination. The kid was game...or just really wanted the $20. And off he went once again. The rest of us was still jacking around and yapping and Collin got out ahead of us. All of a sudden we heard a big splat and a loud "Ow"! We all rush around the corner of the drive and find Collin holding his elbow, slip marks in the mud, and our big box of marang all over the drive!
Our first concern was Collin...of course....... Seriously though, he had a bump and scrape, and I'm sure it hurt like hell, but otherwise was fine. But the marang? Oh man...many of them took a beating. Marang, when ripe, is a very delicate fruit and these proved no exception. A couple were splattered all over the drive. A couple had broken open, but were still okay to be picked up. And a few still in the box were now all over the box. So what do we do? Well, no sense allowing the fruit that didn't get on the drive go to waste, we stood there and munched on marang for a while! Then we headed back to the house with embarrassed grins on our faces.
It was a good chance to relax, eat some awesome food, and just hang out gabbing for a little while longer. Yeah...we've been gabbing all week, but this being our last day at the farm gave it a little more urgency. We wanted to soak as much in as we could. Lunch was an oddity and a treat for us. We are normally on the farms or on the way to farms for much of the day. We don't have the time and there aren't any places to stop and each lunch. We're normally full from eating fruit all morning so this is not a big deal. But when the opportunity does come up, we don't let it pass by.
Then durian! What we've all been waiting for! There was Musang King and a few hybrids in this bunch. The name tags were lost long ago to storms and only Lindsay could say for sure which were definitely which. Lindsay, by the way, is a durian expert that runs the website/blog The Year of the Durian. She probably knows more about durian than anybody the world over. Durian is what she does...all year long. She travels for it and lives for it. Please check out her site. There are lots and lots of durian and travel info available, as well as all of her blogs.
This was quite a feast of durian. We most assuredly got our fill this trip. Each segment was delicious and each fruit different. Flavor profiles ran wild. I don't think I ate this much durian since my last trip to Thailand with Warren. There was no calorie counting on this trip!
What a day we had. And it's days like this one that make the airfare, car and lodging expense, air travel, and driving on PR highways completely worth it. Spending time with great people, eating awesome fruit and food...that's the life of a tropical fruit hunter.
Well shit...we ain't done! Warren wanted cuttings of some mangosteens. Not just any mangosteen either. These are "supposedly" a "possible" different variety. The fruit has a little bit of a nose on the end. Some may call this one Mesta. Doesn't taste any different and the fruit itself doesn't look any different. Just the shell in most cases. There are many that believe this to be some kind of "sport" or environmental. Many do not believe it is even possible for mangosteen to have varieties since there are no male trees anywhere. None. So without that DNA contribution... But I'm not going to get into that.
Brandon, John, and Collin joined Warren and I. Harry wisely decided to hang back with the crowd. We met up with Gwenn & Ray doing their drone coverage. We took some time to clown around for the drone. We all thought we knew where these mangosteens were. Each time we got to that section of the farm, it wasn't them. This repeated several times. Each time my enthusiasm for finding this fruit waned...as did John's. We kept talking about getting back to the beach. The more we talked about it, the better it sounded. Before long, we were yelling "good luck" to Brandon and Warren!! LOL! This is what driving multiple cars is all about! We hot footed it back to the house, said our goodbyes and thank yous to everyone, loaded up Harry, and was off to the races.
Keep in mind that one does not really get anywhere around PR in a hurry. You have to admire the people for this really. Very seldom do you see anyone in a rush to get anywhere. Except for us. There is also traffic all the time...some times worse than others, but still all the time. But we made it back in pretty good time.
I had some seeds and cuttings I needed to package up and get to the post office before they closed. Yeah...I said I wasn't going to screw around with this today, but still ended up grabbing some stuff. I got that shit packaged in record time and John was gracious enough to run me up there real quick. We had plenty of time to hit the ocean.
John and Collin had several pairs of goggles and these came in very handy when in the water. Not only could we see and watch lots of cool fish and other creatures, I could spot spiny urchins and know exactly where NOT to put my bare feet! Again, the water was therapeutic. It felt like it shed 20 degrees off our bodies. But all good things come to an end and it was soon time to get cleaned up and head out for dinner.
Day 4 - Dinner at Mangia Mi
I had a wonderful Greek salad and their chicken fettuccine alfredo. Both were very delicious. Unfortunately, I forgot that Greek salads normally have olives with pits. My first bite was more of a surprise than I was bargaining for. I heard and felt a big crunch. I destroyed the pit, but I also tore out some of the center of one of my crowns. Luckily it didn't do more damage. That would have really put the suck on the last night.
Rincon seems to always have a night life. Their city center hosts a bazaar on the weekends with all kinds of market stalls and live music. A hot spot to be and we all hung out there for a little bit after dinner. It was interesting and the locals obviously enjoyed being out. Some of the group actually wanted ice cream before we headed back to the houses. I opted out this time. I was already well past being full. Afterwards, it was time to say our goodbyes to Ian and Adam. Ian...thank you my friend.
Getting back to the houses with mixed feelings. On one hand, we were having a great time and didn't want it to end. On the other hand, I was ready to get back home. I spent a little while getting dirty and clean clothes ready for the luggage. After that, Warren and I spent some time in the kitchen chatting while he cleaned fruit and seeds for the flight back. A good way to end the day.
Day 5 - The Trip Home
Well, John had no worry about missing a flight. Spirit Airlines cancelled his flight at 1:30 a.m. leaving him stranded and on his own to find his way home. He was able to get a flight on another airline, but it was much later in the evening than he was content with. So he was going to be spending some quality time with that airlines hoping to sweet talk or garner sympathy for a better flight.
We made it back to the airport in great time and much earlier than expected. Once we turned the car in, we were going to have lots of time to kill. John and Brandon had fruit to clear thru USDA and that didn't take long either. We were all flying different airlines and all had different terminals, so we said our goodbyes and headed our ways. There's always mango season next year to look forward to.
I ate some lunch and relaxed doing some reading. My flight to Miami was pretty much on time...for now. I was going to have about a 2 plus hour layover, so there would be no hurry to get off the plane and get to my terminal. The flight was boring and uncomfortable as usual, but uneventful. I had no mileage points left so no first class flight back for me.
We landed in the same terminal my next flight was to leave from so no trains to catch. I walked around a while trying to find somewhere to eat that looked interesting. I settled on the Islander Bar & Grill. I had their battered shrimp and mahi mahi and it was excellent. One of the best airport meals I've had. The ice cold Corona helped wash it down.
The flight was late taking off despite saying it was on time. There was a lot of dicking around while on the ground and they made if feel like it was maybe their first time flying anywhere. It was frustrating. I said I was in no hurry to get off the plane...getting back to Columbus is a different story! Let's go! The pilot finally got us heading away from the terminal. By then, we were hundreds of planes deep in line...maybe a slight exaggeration. After a long wait, the pilot said we had three planes in front of us. I guess math skills are not high on requirements for AA pilots because I counted five planes that took off before us. Just saying. So we landed in Columbus a little later than expected. And again...they dicked around on the ground for quite a while before we were finally able to get off the damn plane. I had texted my wife that we landed. She would now leave the house to come pick me up...figuring the time it took to get off the plane and get my luggage...she would be there waiting. Nope. She got here before we even got off the plane. By this time, I just wanted to get home. I hate flying. Airports and airlines seem to go out of their way to suck any enjoyment out of the experience that they can. It really makes you sit back and wonder just how bad you want to get away.
Home at last. It's after 11:00 p.m., but It's good to be back home with my wife and my dog Boon. I missed them both a lot. It's fun to get away, but I miss them more and more when I do. My wife did a fine job caring for the greenhouse, patio, and garden while I was gone. I know she loves doing this. Gonna shower and go crash in bed. Until next time......
The last four years proved just how quickly and painfully our yearly trips can come to an end. Nothing is guaranteed for sure and that includes our trips to PR. As painful as it was for us not to go down, it was nothing compared to the pain and trials the folks on the island had to contend with during and after Maria. Let's all hope that there are no more devastating storms or COVID shutdowns to content with.
If you have considered PR as a vacation destination, you should most definitely act on it. It is a beautiful island and for the most part, pretty safe. The beaches are outstanding. There is lots of historical locations to see and many other attractions all over the island. And don't forget the food! We always stay in Rincon for our trips since that puts us as close as possible to the farms and still have good food and lodging. A good source of island information is Puerto Rico Day Trips. This site is packed full of activities, food, and lodging ideas while on the island. The site is loaded with attractions/destinations you might never have heard about otherwise. And if you are looking for a lovely spot to stay while visiting, check out Coqui's Hideaway for a true rainforest stay.