We had some errands to run in Mayaguez and heard that the replica Spanish galleon ship was in town once again. We’ve tried to check it out before and it has been closed, but on this day we lucked out!
It’s a huge ship!
The tour was completely free and we had access to almost all parts of the boat. It is a working/traveling boat, and very authentic. It was cool to imagine the voyage it would have taken to go from Europe to the “new world” hundreds of years ago. With over 150 people on board it would have been stinky, hot and uncomfortable for the long journey. And if you were not the captain, the quarters in the hot lower decks would have been horrendous. I also thought about the slave trade and how terrible it would have been to be kidnapped and transported on a ship like this. Looking back now this seems like a quaint memory but in the time of pirates, slaves, and looting it would have been quite a moment in history.
Crow’s nest! Ahoy mateys!
You’d have to be pretty good with ropes to work on a ship like this!
Best part of the boat!
It’s a pirate life for me!
Here’s a little video walk through of the Andalucia. Enjoy!
Overlooking La Playuela from the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse
We had planned on a sailing adventure this week, but a series of events caused it to be postponed. We were all ready to go and had met up with some friends at a local panadería and were on our way out when we heard the news of the cancellation. Instead of reversing course we decided since we all had cleared the day for a fun adventure that we would go out and do just that! We chose the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse and Playa Sucia for our setting of the day and it was wonderful!
Our friends on the adventure!
Cabo Rojo is actually pretty close to Rincón and we took a new back road there that hugs the coastline which was a lot of fun in our new Mustang. Though Cabo Rojo is only maybe 20 miles away, the landscape changes dramatically from lush and tropical to much drier.
Cabo Rojo Lighthouse
Crazy high cliffs!
Spiral staircase inside the Cabo Rojo Faro
Gorgeous views out every window of the faro
Guess that’s what you call picture windows! haha
When we arrived, we finally got to tour the inside of the lighthouse (that we just missed the last time), we wandered around the cliffs for a while and then we just hung out under the shade of low-growing trees and in the gorgeous turquoise waters.
View from the roof of the lighthouse overlooking Playa Sucia and the salt flats
Iguanas enjoying the day too
We learned a little about the sea salt production too -if you ever want fresh unrefined sea salt, just bring a jar here!
Salt hill and salt flats right behind Playa Sucia
Since it was a Tuesday in winter there were only maybe 15-20 other people on the beach all day. Just enough to make for interesting people-watching but not too many to feel very crowded. A perfect day!
Warm turquoise waters and white sands
Various ways to chill at Playa Sucia (Check out the couple doing acroyoga!)
I think they are trying to rebrand Playa Sucia (Dirty Beach) to Playa Limpia (Clean Beach) now
It’s so much saltier than most areas that the plant life is sparse
We have been considering buying another car for some time now. Having just the truck works fine especially because we don’t really need to drive very often and when we do it is pretty much just local to Rincón. However, we have had a couple of occasions when the truck has broken down and we have no other recourse except to walk everywhere or bum rides. Also, Britton has been missing his Corvette and the V8 under the hood ever since we sold it in the move from Colorado.
On one of our first dates in Colorado with the Corvette
He found a cool old Mustang on one of the Pulguero groups on Facebook and we made arrangements to meet with the owner.
Checking under the hood and we found everything was (surprisingly) stock!
After inspecting it, taking it for a test drive and agreeing on a price we then made arrangements to meet the next day in Mayaguez at Obras Públicas to buy it and put the title in our name. In Colorado all you had to do was sign the title over to the new buyer and then take the title in to get registered. Here, it is much more friendly and you must go with the owner in person to change it over. In this case, the brother was the official owner so the four of us made the early morning trek.
Unlike when we bought our truck, this time we have established residency with our driver’s licenses and so we didn’t need a utility bill in order to buy it (though we brought it just in case). However, the marbete (registration sticker) was expired so we did need to go take care of that right away. Because though the police will often ignore drunk driving, if that little sticker is expired you are nearly guaranteed to get a ticket!
Britton with the ex-owners
Now that we know our way around the system a little better it was actually pretty easy to buy this car. Here are the steps we took to buy this used car from a private seller.
1) Meet with the owner to inspect, test drive, negotiate price, etc.
2) Make arrangements to meet at Obras Públicas (CESCO/DTOP) together with the owner
3) Buy $10 worth of government stamps (sellos) to make the transaction
4) Wait in line to sign over the title. Both parties need identification and address information.
5) Pay for the car (usually cash)
6) Get emissions inspection (that is not really an inspection- they don’t even look at the car in most cases) for $11.
7) Sometimes you can get marbete at the time of the emissions inspection. In our case for some reason we had to go to another Colecturia office. We went to Añasco. Basic Marbete (registration/liability insurance) is $169.
The laughable emissions test even gives out readings though it never took any! But hey, can’t complain too much if you pass!
The car is a bit of a fixer-upper and needs a little bit of work. For instance the seat belts don’t clasp, the doors don’t really lock and it badly needed an oil change. But overall, it seems to be a good solid car with a heck of a motor. It’s fun to take it out and about on the island. And with more seats, it will be a good vehicle for excursions with friends.
We recently took an island adventure to Isla Palominitos also known as Palominito Island. This is a tiny islet off the coast of Fajardo that is so small it is more like a sandbar than an island. At one point in time it had a bit more vegetation and palm trees, but due to some storm damage and erosion, when we arrived it was desolate. Still, there was an intense beauty and rawness that beckoned us to enjoy it.
We started our day off early in the morning around 6am and saw a rare (for us) sunrise on the drive out before caravanning with some friends. It’s a long drive from Rincón (the farthest west) to Farjardo (the farthest east) and after a couple of short stops and many toll booths we arrived at the Marina a little before 11am. Some other friends had left the day before and we met them at the dock to load up onto the boat that we chartered with a man called Captain Mingo for $35/person.
A fun group of friends!
On the boat trip we took the long route and saw the islands of Icacos and Palomino Island before finally arriving at our day destination: Palominito. The water was the most turquoise blue I have ever seen! It was truly the Caribbean destination of the magazines. All that was missing were the coconut palm trees!
Vibrant cerulean and turquoise colored waters
When we arrived we set up camp sort of like on Survivor with some tent sails. We turned on some tunes, grabbed a cold drink from the coolers and set out to the warm water.
Setting up the area we named “Boneyard Camp” for the bleached trees and white coral fragments
Coral fragments of the Boneyard
We had the whole island to ourselves for about an hour and then a few people came and visited us. They said that from afar it looked like we were having a grand party. And in fact, we were!
White sand beaches and crystalline waters all to ourselves!
We greeted the first “invaders” to our island and found out that they were with a movie production crew. It’s such a great spot that even Pirates of the Caribbean has had a scene on Palominito (when it was a little more of a lush oasis).
Our visitors with me and Jill on the ends
Britton and I laughed that we drove 3 hours just to go to another beach, but it was definitely worth it! We liked the adventure of the boat, the new area and the feeling of being castaways on a deserted island. We had a lot of fun just lazing about in the water, tossing a football around and taking fun photos.
Thanks to Daisy for this pic
The water was like a swimming pool!
Britton and I enjoyed the gorgeous day
Strike a pose with the moon
We spent about 5 hours out there eating, drinking and being merry on an island in the sun. When Captain Mingo returned we were a little sad to leave. On the way back, Britton even got to drive the boat for a while! He said it takes a little bit of getting used to because you have to steer using opposite inputs.
Captain Britton at the helm
As we were unloading everything from the boat and into the truck some drunk fisherman crashed right into us! Britton ran over and moved the truck out of the way of the ramp and then he rammed us again and started rambling incoherently at us! Captain Borracho as we now call him. Thankfully he only hit our bumper and did virtually no damage to our truck! These are the unknowns to any adventure! After all that commotion we decided to just head back home rather than spend more time with friends in Fajardo like we had planned.
On the way back we took the northern route through San Juan instead of the southern Ponce route. If you are coming from the west coast I would suggest always taking the southern route. There are fewer exits to navigate and much less traffic.
Overall our day trip to Palominito Island was definitely an adventure and the beauty was beyond compare. For anyone who loves raw nature and the idea of just hanging out on a small deserted island with white sand beaches and crystal teal waters this is the place for you!