Going to Puerto Rico was a trip waiting to happen! We hadn’t been back with our family almost for 2 years (even though most of them travel to visit). After hurricane Maria hit the island it was impossible to go but could not wait anymore. We just needed the warmth of our family and friends and booked our flights!
I have to admit stressed sank on me before our trip. I did not know what was I going to encounter when we arrived, was it safe? should we go? did I make the right choice? My husband had been able to go twice in the last year and told me that it was not the same. Fortunately my family didn’t suffer any losses only the basic necessities for a couple of months. But there is still a lot to be done. There are still areas where power has not been up since the hurricane, that is about 10 months! Imaging that, really unimaginable right? While really I haven’t seen the whole island the change after Maria is palpable.
Saying this, we decided to start our adventure in the south- west side of the island in Cabo Rojo. This is a beach town with incredible beaches and a slower pace of life, perfect to start our adventure! Yesss, finally!
Once we arrived Buye beach was our first stop. This beach is known for its calm crystal clear waters, white sand… but I love it due to the green surroundings and all the memories. I used to live here when I went to college and beach was the call of the day! But now it is the best beach to take the kids!
Going there is just a 15 minute drive from dowtown Cabo Rojo, you can find a parking spot early morning or park at the road side later during the day. There is a small market place and a ready to go food place selling all local delicacies, most of them fried.
You will love the calm vibe but be sure to arrive early, after noon it tends to get a lot of people traffic specially during summer and holidays!
Even though I had live in Puerto Rico for 30 years I had never been to the Schoenstatt chapel. It is enchanting! The chapel is located on top of a hill overlooking the ocean, you can feel the peace in the area.
This chapel was built as part of the Roman Catholic movement devoting to Christian beliefs and Virgin Mary. There are several others on the island at Juana Diaz and Hatillo. They are all replicas of the Apostolic movement of Schoenstatt chapel from Germany.
Downtown Cabo Rojo
I remember walking the streets of dowtown Cabo Rojo shopping for bread, going to church and enjoying a small community activities with my grandmother. I wanted to share a bit of this with my kids and we walked to the center of town where we saw and learned from the monument dedicated to Salvador Brau Asencio. We walked by the church and went in the ” placita” whereyou can find fresh produce, coffee and other goods.
We ended up our walk under the sun hugs (extreme hot) in Rex Ice Cream!. This has been open since I was little and they make a variation of flavors that you will love. From the traditional chocolate and vanilla to the local fruit flavors and even corn, my fave! There will be one for your taste buds!
I totally wanted to bring back amazing memories to share with you but I arrived a bit late and it was closed plus I was out of days, boooo!
Just saying … I had three little ones mad at me for awhile because they walked a long trail and could not go in. My bad, #momfails!
And off we went……
If you ever have the opportunity to visit Puerto Rico and visit the area, Gilligan’s is a must! It starts with a fun boat ride to a mangrove island. It is a treat from nature with its scenery and fauna. Its shallow water and calm currents makes it great for families, kids can play while you can enjoy the current on a floating device.
We arrived at 9 am (earliest that you can arrive) and stayed until 12:30 pm. Being that is summer it gets really crowded and not as peaceful. One helpful tip is to book your boat ride with Mary Lee’s By the Sea. It is a quaint guest house that offers rides to the island at the same price as the ferry. My reason to book a reservation (which you don’t pay until you get there) is that to get ferry tickets you have to get there by 7:30 am or earlier, specially during summer. There are limited spaces of how many people they can transport on a day so make sure you call in advance 😉 You will thank me!
Finca de Girasoles
Last but not least!! Driving back to my mom’s home we stopped at the “Finca de Girasoles”. It is a sunflower plantation, where they let you go and hang with them ($2.00/car) as long as you don’t touch or cut them. When you are finish you can buy one or more of the different sunflowers they grow, which I never knew there are more than one, did you?
The boys loved running the fields and the lollipop they share at the end. We ended up with a delicious pineapple grown in the area and our best prop so far ;). Love when I can support local products!
Uffff!! we arrived super tired but this was just our first week into our vacation. There will be more adventures ahead so follow me for more on lifestyle, fashion & beauty , adventures and motherhood!
Have you ever been to Puerto Rico? How about the south- west part of the island? Let me know you what you loved I always like to hear from you 🙂