The southern coast of the mainland of Puerto Rico is a lot more built up than Brett & I thought it would be. There are towns and industry dotted all along the coast with lots of reefs and mangrove areas. In the far distance we could see the mountains which looked very brown and dry.
Our first stop was Salinas where we ended up staying anchored for a few nights. It was a shock coming into the bay and seeing all the boats after being in the deserted Spanish Virgin Islands. To be honest there are not a lot of boats sailing around these waters, which is a shame as its so beautiful and the people are so friendly.
Given it was Saturday night we decided to hit the streets around the Salinas marina and go for a few drinks and have dinner out at a seafood restaurant. In the area there were a lot of restaurants to choose from and the people so friendly.
We hired a car on the Sunday and drove up into the hills to the Rio Camuy Caverns on the Northwestern end of Puerto Rico. The drive was really picturesque and surprising green given the brown we could see from the coast.
The caves were spectacular and the tour for US$12 well organized with transport and a guide.
The Cave system is actually the worlds third largest with more than 220 caverns with these huge stalactites throughout. Pretty impressive.
We stopped at a couple of roadside stalls for fresh fruit & veg and to see the brightly coloured hammocks as you do.
Ponce sounded like a great place to stop for dinner so we went into the town centre, to the Plaza de Las Delicias with its beautiful park area. They apparently always have exhibits in the park and while we were there they had lots of decorated lions scattered in the park which added to the interest. The are a lot of interesting restored buildings surrounding the plaza.
The old Ponce fire station built in 1833 with its old fire engines sits in the middle of the square as well.
We sat on the walkway outside a restaurant watching some of the Puerto Ricans come into the plaza in the evening. A symphony band was setting up as we were leaving and had put out lots of chairs, for people to sit and enjoy their music. Great people watching area.
After doing a provision run at the big supermarkets before our car was returned we headed over to Isla Caja de Muretos (Coffin Island). The small island is just off Ponce and has a lighthouse at the top, which of course we had to walk to.
Would have been nice to spend a couple of days but we had made a reservation at a marina in the Dominican Republic so had to move on.
There were lots of little islands on the South Coast. We decided to stop at Gilligan’s Island, a protected mangrove bay in a state park and anchored off the Copa Marina Resort.
On our way to Mayaguez we had a couple of dolphins come and play in our bow.
We stopped at Mayaguez to check out at customs and walked up to the main town plaza. Wow were we surprised. What a beautiful area to sit back, have a coffee and people watch.
Why whose this playing one of the many pianos scattered around town? Jen, didn’t realize she was so musical.
We were really impressed with the southern coast of Puerto Rico and had great downwind sailing. Even learned a new technique to go right downwind from Jen & Richard.
Us on the left.
Our Rose on the right.
Lots of bays and reefs to get behind for protection and to anchor with interesting towns along the way. Now its an overnight to the Dominican Republic over the Mona Passage.