Saturday, August 28, 2021

Weekend Walkabout ~ Staycation in Arecibo

Kind of how that thought-seed looks inside my brain...

So I'm thinking we might do a little staycation trip sometime in September, but I haven't started planning yet... I see a post on a hiking group that I follow on Facebook, and the seed begins to grow!  It's Thursday.  The hike is on following Sunday.  A quick search on Air B&B and I found us an available spot that doesn't break the bank... and a plan is born!  Thankfully Bruce has stopped objecting to any hair-brained schemes I suggest... and he just goes with it!  

It's easy really.  I've got so many things I want to see marked on my Google Map, I just pick a route and look to see what we can hit!  Saturday morning we threw some clothes and food into the car, rolled down the shutters and just drove away!  First stop - Utuado, PR.  

There are several little things to see there, mostly looking at the murals painted by some very talented people!  First we drove the narrow streets of the "down town" area. These little towns are all so very quaint, with plazas, and architecture from a time gone by.  Paint is the one thing that brings these very old buildings back to vibrant life, and I just LOVE it!

There's a story here.  The eye reflection is staring into the barrel of a gun!  Very sad!

This is a very well known building that has been on my list for some time.  

This one is part of a project.  A young painter named Hector is painting the Bandera de Puerto Rico on structures throughout the island.  I am on a mission to see them ALL!  

We parked nearby and walked around a bit.  There is also a war memorial here that is very nice.  The statue of the soldier eerily reminded me of some old photos I remember seeing of my father.  

This one is so much better in person.  Looks like it's made of bronze. 

A lot of Americans don't realize that Puerto Ricans have fought in all of our wars. 

There are several random murals painted on the sides of buildings in town.  

We walked around for a while, then drove to another pin on the map.  Turns out I didn't find the place I was looking for, but found a street full of painted homes!  We will have to come back to catch the spots we missed!!

I LOVE this rooster!!

There is a small community book exchange box near this one. 

These old neighborhoods are given new life with these murals!

This cat watched me curiously.

Darn car parked in front of this one!!

Pretty sure we missed a lot, but we will be back here for sure!  It was fun hiking through these steep and narrow streets to find these treasures!  But it's getting warm, and it's lunch time!

Next stop, a short drive to the Embarcadero at Lago Dos Bocas!  The drive is an event in itself.  The karst formations in this part of the island are nothing short of amazing to see, and driving through them is just fun!

We found the docks and signed up for the boat ride across the lake to the restaurant.  We talked to some people while waiting, and learned that before hurricane Maria, there were six restaurants here on the lake, but now there is only one.  They have a shuttle boat that picks up small groups for a smooth ride with a view!

There are kayakers on the lake, and I've been making plans with Hacienda Las Cascadas to come check out their kayak adventures. Well, the owner was at the embarcadero giving out business cards and we made a connection. It's on the list!!


Ruins of Casa Chalet.  The kayakers get to check it out!

View of the dam from the lake. 

The views around the lake are just magnificent!

Soon, we arrived at Paisaje Escondido for lunch!

Reminded us very much of Whisper Cove in Grenada. 

Hungry goldfish waiting at the dock!
We met a nice young man from California on the way over, and invited him to join us for lunch.  We were disappointed that he was only on the island for a short time, or we would have invited him home with us!!  The food was exceptional.  If you come here, don't miss the arroz mamposteao.  They are the BEST!! We whiled away the hours, enjoying the conversation with a new friend, left a big tip, and then caught the shuttle boat back to the embarcadero.  It's getting to be late afternoon and we want to get to our B&B for the last challenge of the day. 

Our host had advised us not to take the short cut road to his place, but to drive all the way north into Arecibo and back south for better roads.  Of course I could not just do that.  I've got to see what I'm missing!  And the road through the Rio Grande de Arecibo Valley enticed me inexorably onward.  We took the road-less-traveled and didn't regret it for a second.  It was in no way close to the most hair-raising road we've ever traveled, and the views were our reward! 

We stopped on one of the bridges to take in the view.

Somewhere up there off to the left is Cueva Ventana.  We didn't spot it. 

I didn't realize it while we were there, but this is the valley that you can see from the window at Cueva Ventana.  I think that by the time we stopped, we had already passed the bridge where we could have seen the cave... next time!

We continued on through fields of high grass on a one lane "road"... thankfully only passing one other vehicle along the way.  Gradually the roads improved and we didn't fall into a pothole... so there's that.  The next challenge would be the entrance to our B&B!  Wait, what?  Yes!  Our host mentioned that the drive was off-road and steep, and a 4WD vehicle was advised.  He told us that we should be OK as long as it doesn't rain!  How's that for nerve-wracking?  But in the end, it was a steep drive and bumpy, but our little Honda CRV handled it easily.  

Parcha growing around the door!
We parked and met our host, Guillermo, and he showed us around the finca.  It is truly a farm in all respects.  There are cows, and chickens and dogs.  Guillo showed us some of the plants growing riotously around the place, and told us about their uses.  He is a fount of knowledge and we're looking forward to getting to see more in the morning... 

But for now, we are tired after a long day, and we are just ready to relax and enjoy the sounds of nature!  We spent some time getting moved in, and getting to know our host, and just feeling the peace seep into our souls.  

The Puerto Rican countryside is the place to go for a recharge, and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Papaya flower up close!
Festive solar lighting all around.


  1. I love every pic but oh that hummingbird is something special!

    1. So much talent here on the island! I want to see them ALL! Thanks for commenting!