We decided that cheap tickets and a call out to help support the islands after the devastating hurricane were a good reason to visit Puerto Rico. I found a house swap (well we used points but had a Danish family in ours giving us points) through home exchange in the northwest area of the island in a town called Isabella.
The flight over was easy from Tampa (about 3.75 hours) and cheap on Jetblue. We picked up our rental car at the airport, turned on the GPS and set off to drive south and then west. It was a pretty easy drive in terms of finding the route and direction BUT stressful coming out of the airport and navigating huge potholes, large gaps where there were no lines painted on the roads creating a bit of a free for all in lane usage, and aggressive drivers. The island is certainly not laid back in terms of drivers as it was a constant need to watch for crazy people bound and determined to run into us or force us into a ditch (driving down the middle of very narrow roads at top speed). We even had a full school bus aggressively staying about 2 inches off our bumper for about 15 minutes on a mountain road despite our going over the speed limit!
That aside we had a lovely house to stay in and enjoyed the symphony of sound all day long. At sunrise the chickens started crowing and clucking, cows lowing, horse braying, birds singing, and dogs of all sizes calling out to each other. This lasted until long after the sun went down. And those roosters crow all day long there! It made us laugh but I am not sure if I could live with that cacophony always. I had to move inside from the pool and outside dining/living room to make work calls – live was a struggle!
We made a few trips to local beaches enjoying Jobos, Crash Boat, Aquadilla, Cabo Roja amongst others that we didn’t catch the names of. Our favorite spot though was a town called Rincon. It is an older surfer/hippy town on the beach and just had a great feel to it. We had a couple of good meals there and enjoyed the lighthouse, watching surfers, and wandering on the beaches.
One day we headed into the mountain area to Gozalandia waterfalls and hiking area. We went to both falls. One looks very much like a cenote from Mexico (but sadly lots of graffiti in it) which stands to reason as it’s the same geologic set up as in the Yucatan area.
It’s easy to get around the falls although a bit humid. We did not swim but plenty were and of course the wild ones jumping off the cliffs into the pools. Lots of stairs to get down so that could be an issue for some. Pretty place and only $5 to park which is the entrance fee. We ate at the restaurant onsite too and it was OK – decent but not exciting.
I can’t say we are going to race back to PR as it really did not overly excite us. Limited things to do, lots of trash, unexciting food, very high prices, and those crazy drivers. But we had a good trip with Grandma and had lots of laughs which is what counts.