Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Beaches, Falls, And Rivers ~ Other-People's-Vacation-Pics

We love exploring our island!  Even more, we love showing her off to people who come to visit us.  Some visitors are more interested in non-stop exploring than  others.  But the award for Most Energetic Guest goes to our most recent visitor... June.  She came to visit us all the way from the frigid provinces of Canada!  So, without further ado, enjoy her visit in segments... because it wouldn't all fit into just one blog post!

She arrived late in the evening, so our first day was kind of chill, and of course, our own beach was the first place we took her!  June is younger than me, and is very physically fit, so a beach walk was the perfect way to begin the day!  And of COURSE we took her down to see our favorite palm trees for a photo shoot!

Knowing that we were well on our way to getting our daily steps in... we moved on to some more adventurous fun!  Cascada el Survivor was our next stop!

Catching a glimpse of her as she disappeared over the roots!
I should have known how this week would go, after seeing the way June just took off along the muddy, slippery trail alongside the river as if she has done this a thousand times!  Bruce and I had to scramble to keep up as we followed her over huge tree roots growing across the trail, and around giant, moss-covered boulders.

Bruce,  bringing up the rear as he rounds this huge rock!
The trail is cool and dark, with the sound of the rushing river ever present just beyond the veil of forest.  But there are no signs to direct you along the way. I caught up to June just as she slowed to scramble up, and over a cluster of boulders on the river's edge.  Here I let her know that we had arrived!  This was the lower pool beneath the falls where we would set up camp for the afternoon.

Knowing when to go to the rivers of Puerto Rico is important.  When the rains fall in the mountains, it can cause flash floods in the lower portions of these rivers, and it rains almost every day in the mountains.  But it rains in the afternoons... so you know it's usually (unless it's been raining a LOT) safe to visit these little downstream pockets of paradise in the morning or early afternoon. I like to go between 11am and 1pm because temperatures are cooler in the mountains, and the waters are often COLD!

We settled on the rocks and Bruce was the first one to dive in!  He took a little swim while we shucked our outerwear and watched.  He swam into the grotto and announced that the current wasn't too strong today!

Bruce testing the waters in the grotto.
As soon as Bruce returned, we spread out our picnic blanket and laid out the lunch.  There isn't really a level place to sit and eat, so we perched on the rocks and enjoyed our picnic as we watched a waterbird find fish nearby.  The sounds of rushing water and birds singing in the soaring trees provide the perfect setting for our meal.
Seeing the grotto for the first time
Now fortified with sustenance... June and I made the swim across the pool and into the mysterious grotto!  This was the first time inside for BOTH of us.  I've made it as far as the point where the rocks squeeze the river, causing a stronger current.  But today, the current wasn't enough to keep me out!  The wait was well worth it as we swam harder to reach the inner sanctuary where the falls spill into these pools.

There are unseen boulders lying beneath the water's surface that you have to swim over to get inside. Once there, you'll find another huge, somewhat flat rock that provides the perfect place to sit and enjoy the natural splendor that surrounds you.  The walls of the river canyon soar overhead and trees provide a canopy that embraces you in this secluded paradise.  It's difficult not to imagine that you're the only people in the world at moments like these.  Or is that just me...

Approaching the current cut!
As you know, I almost NEVER go anywhere without a camera.  But that's just what I did.  I went in with no way of documenting, or sharing this magic.  I just could not let that stand, so we swam back out to our little camp, and I tucked my iPhone inside my hat and turned right back around to go in again.  June went with me, and as I began taking pictures before making it through the current cut, it was a bit of a struggle!  June ended up pulling me the last couple of feet so that I could get far enough onto the slippery rock to sit!  So enjoy my compulsion to show you all that is magical about Puerto Rico...

June sits on the flat rock ledge.
This is the spot where the current is the least strong.

We sat on that rock, enjoying the experience and having a little bit of fun.  June swam out into the current, across the pool to the deep end where, I'm sure lives a Kracken. Evidently Canadians don't know about the KRACKEN!

Getting back out of the grotto was much easier!  Just float and let yourself go... like bumper boats!

How hard could it be?
After relaxing a bit more, we packed up our picnic and prepared to head back to the car.  On our way in, we met up with a group of vacationers staying in our condo property with whom I had shared this paradise.  They told us that they had done the return trek in the river instead of the muddy river bank path.  I talked June into trying this with me, while Bruce took the land route!

She and I handed off our bags to Bruce, and set out to find a way down river, slipping and splashing all the way.  It wasn't as easy as it looked!

Once again, June took the lead!

Bruce was just beginning to worry about us as we surprised him!  Near the car, we left the river and rejoined the path along the bank, which brought us up behind him!  I'm not sure what he would have done if we had failed to return...  But we don't have to think about that now!

We went back to our condo and spent the remainder of the day lounging by the pool!  Our first day was a success as we eased June into Island Life!  While we cooled it in the pool, we made our plans for the rest of the week...  And let me assure you... THIS was the easy day!


  1. I so love your descriptions and adventures from places in our island I have never seen. Sometimes I feel really ashamed of how little I venture outside the Metro area

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words. I can be very wordy, so I'm not sure anyone is reading through these posts. They are as much for me (when I'm old and want to remember) and for others, such as yourself. My goal is to help people feel like they've been to a place, without leaving their home! You've made my day!