Yesterday I spent my day on a tropical beach, today Michal and I spent the majority of our day in the rainforest. Yes, you read that right. The rainforest. Puerto Rico is home to El Yunque, the only rainforest on American soil. Since this rainforest is on an island, it’s more of a home to tropical plants and trees instead of animals. I learned today that the roots of palm trees look like thick brown straws. The views were incredible and the vegetation was so lush. I can’t say that I have ever spent a day in the rainforest before. It was definitely a day to remember.
The humidity in the rainforest is 100%. It rained on and off during our time there. However the trees provided a nice canopy that shielded us from most of the rain. Prior to entering any hiking trail, there were signs warning of flash floods. Thankfully we did not experience that. In El Yunque it rains more than 10 feet per year! That’s enough water to provide for a city of 2.5 million people. The intense humidity made breathing while hiking a little more difficult than usual.
Traveling in the national park consisted of driving on a very narrow windy road. The road was barely wide enough for our small car but in reality it was a two lane road that busses and trucks travel as well. Michal did a nice job navigating the roads. I often shut my eyes especially around the tight curves.
The highlight of our day was hiking a mountain in the rainforest. I can check that off my bucket list now. There were times we were literally inside the clouds and other times we were soaring above them. Parts of the trail were steep, rocky, and wet. Adding the strong winds in made for some interesting moments. We stopped at a lookout tower and the only thing we were looking out at were clouds. We continued to climb up the mountain and thankfully we were able to experience breathtaking views of the mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
On our way back to San Juan we stopped in the port city of Fajardo. We ate some local food and spent time soaking the beauty of a local marina.
This evening we ate at a place called Bebo’s BBQ that had been recommended to us by a few people. It’s an outdoor restaurant. There are long lines, no menus, no prices, and no English. Situations like this make me anxious. Thankfully Michal is almost always willing to brave the language barrier. The food was delicious and cheap. However I can’t tell you what I had for dinner because I haven’t figured it all out yet. I know there was BBQ chicken, fried plantains and possibly a yucca root. There’s one item that I have no idea what it was, but it tasted delicious. Check out the picture below and let me know if you can identify what was on my dinner plate.
Tomorrow we are off to explore an island. Have I mentioned how much I love sunshine, 80 degree weather, sunbathing, and swimming in December? I think I was born in the wrong part of the world…