The Northeast of Puerto Rico is what I would call the tourist district. It has San Juan, Luquillo, El Yunque Rainforest, and the ferry to the islands Culebra and Vieques is nearby. There are tourist destinations for a reason. They. Are. Beautiful.
Pulling away from the Ritz Carlton that first morning was terrifying. We were officially on our own, just the two of us. So many people warned us about the potholes, the glass, the crazy drivers, the people who would want to mug us, and more. We were prepared with our self-sealing Slime tubes and Kevlar (that’s what bulletproof vests are made of) tires. We each had pepper spray and a list of emergency contacts. But it was still worrisome.
And then we started biking. My worries melted away (to the back of my head) as we found a bike path along the ocean that crossed into the palm tree studded forest. Granted, it was HOT and definitely humid, but it was glorious…until my tire slipped on some moss and my bike and I fell over. Luckily no harm done but a bruise on my shin and a scraped ankle. It was worth experiencing the freedom of exploring the island via bike. There is just something different, something breathtaking and relaxing about biking through a forest-lined road. Top it off with our first campsite at Monserrate Beach in Luquillo being a real place and the first day can be considered a success (especially because we could both get in the water at the same time due to a kind older man who vigilantly watched our things; this guy was on serious bird patrol).
We wanted to go to El Yunque rainforest but upon seeing the MOUNTAIN towering in the distance, we quickly decided we would not be trying to bike to the visitors’ center (good thing too because we would have failed miserably). What did we do? We called Enterprise. Best. Decision. Ever. They picked us up at our breakfast spot and about 30 minutes later, GVP was expertly navigating the windiest and steepest road I’ve ever entertained biking on. That would have been MURDER and I would have given up. For sure.
The drive up was insanely gorgeous (as was the AC we blasted; you’d think we’d been on the road a week instead of a day). We went as far as we could go, ate our Subway sandwiches (don’t judge us; we ate local food too but we also ate so much Subway they could have sponsored our trip…get some good press after that whole Jared debacle), and walked on over to the Las Minas trailhead. How could it be difficult when it was so short? Slick concrete, steep parts, and stairs is the answer.
Alongside Las Minas was a creek/waterfalls with small pools throughout. We gladly hopped in to rinse off the sweat and salt water. This was one of my favorite times and places of the entire trip. As some people pointed out, it was quite the romantic setting; some might even say it was like one of the Adam and Eve displays (see photo to right) in the Creation Museum (for the record I went there because I was curious; I believe in evolution and science)…minus the lotus flowers and snake (I hope!).
We headed back to our beach campsite. Much to my dismay the bathrooms were locked so I had to take matters to the woods (not so romantic).
Because I know my own biking limits; that’s why I (still) love riding my bike.