I finally had two essential Western Puerto Rico experiences: the Cabo Rojo lighthouse and the bioluminescent bay. Our friend, Eileen, visiting us was the excuse to go do these things. She loved it. We loved it. And I plan on locking myself inside my apartment for the next two months in order not to spend every dollar left in my bank account!
Cabo Rojo is the southwestern municipality in Puerto Rico, and the very southern tip of it is an area called Boquerón. There is a beautiful beach with white sand called Playa Sucia, which is ironic because its name means “dirty beach” and it’s actually the cleanest beach I’ve been to so far. From Playa Sucia, you can walk up the hill to the Cabo Rojo lighthouse. The walk up and down the hill is the best part because the view is stunning. There are cliffs, caves and coves, and red-colored rocks that give Cabo Rojo its name: “Red cape,” cape as in the geographical feature, not as in Superman’s cape. In the evening, we took Eileen to the part of town with the restaurants and bars. We didn’t stay late because we were all tired, but Eileen was still able to walk around, see the sights, buy some souvenirs, and try empanadillas de langosta (lobster turnovers).
Cabo Rojo was on Saturday. On Sunday, we stopped in San Germán on the way down to La Parguera for the bioluminescent bay tour. Even though my school is located in San Germán, I had never been to the downtown and seen the sights there. At the end of one of the plazas is Porta Coeli, a church whose foundation was built in 1531 and took years to construct and reconstruct after attacks from natives and the French and an earthquake. 1531 is the same year that San Germán was established, and it’s one of the oldest churches in the Western Hemisphere. They’ve preserved part of the original building and have also recently renovated the rest of it, and did a very good job doing so. Just across the street from the church is a beautiful house, a portrayal of what a plantation owner’s home would have looked like. It’s now a private residence and tours are not possible, but just seeing the outside of it was great. All of the downtown is really interesting because its colonial architecture and narrow streets have been maintained. It’s also very hilly, so you can stand at the top of a hilly street and see the mountains in the far background. It’s a quaint little town and there is surprisingly a large tourism office located at one end of the second plaza. On the other end of the second plaza is – surprise, surprise – another church, this one more modern but clearly also Catholic. It was a nice place to walk around for about an hour before we continued on to La Parguera.
You might recognize La Parguera because I have mentioned it before in my blog. It was my third time there, and Glenn’s fourth, but my first time doing the tour of the bioluminescent bay. We arrived a couple of hours before the tour, so we were able to buy our tickets and then walk around for a bit. Eileen bought more souvenirs and then we had a small dinner of fried foods (i.e., typical Puerto Rican). The bay tour started around 8 pm and lasted for about an hour and a half. It was way cooler than I had imagined because it was so dark that you could see literally millions of stars in the sky. There was no light pollution around except for a few homes built right on the water that dotted the coast. Once we arrived at the bay, we could see quick flashes of green light in the water. That’s how we knew we were seeing fish swim by. Two men who worked for the tour company jumped in and swam for about 10 minutes so that we could see the water glow around them. They looked like neon-green alien angels in the water, if that makes any sense. Unfortunately, it was impossible to get any pictures of it because it was just too dark. The whole experience was wonderful and definitely worth doing.
Glenn has been entertaining Eileen during the day while I teach my lessons. Tuesday was the official first day of the spring semester, so I had to start homework last night, but I’m glad that I had a few days without homework so that I could join them in Cabo Rojo and La Parguera. Tonight, I have to go to campus for class, and I’ll only see Eileen briefly in the evening after I come home from class and before Glenn takes her up to the airport.
It will be back to the routine for me. Glenn is going to be super busy from now on as he gets his studio going. He has to wait for his equipment to arrive before he can really dive in, but he’s still dealing with the bureaucracy to get his personal training license in Puerto Rico (yes, it’s a thing here) and he’s picked up a client to train at the gym where he teaches bootcamp and self-defense classes. Financially, things should hopefully start looking up for us within the next couple of months.
You can view more pictures from Cabo Rojo, San Germán, and the rest of Eileen’s visit here.