Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan when traveling. Yesterday was one of those days. After spending a couple of hours hunting down the only available rental car in San Juan, we departed the Old City for a trip to a coffee plantation in Ponce. Well, at least that was the plan. After a 1.5 hour drive, we arrived at Hacinda Buena Vista with high hopes for the tour of the farm. Little did we know that Hacienda Buena Vista was a historic plantation, not a working coffee farm! I know this sounds bad given my occupation and all, but we just weren’t enjoying the government-run historic site. We wanted to visit an actual working plantation. We had tried calling several other coffee plantations for tours, but it was to no avail. This home roasting coffee lover was incredibly disappointed, as were the rest in our group. We quickly reached a consensus and decided to leave the tour and pursue other options.
Southern Puerto Rico is said to have amazing beaches. Since we were in Ponce, we thought we’d try visiting one. Let’s just say the beach we found via our guidebook was not very impressive (it was surrounded by an industrial park, and this is where we saw our first horse running wild down an urban street!). In short, we decided not to visit this beach. While I would have loved to visit the rest of the city of Ponce, the others in our group were very much determined to visit a beach. So, we drove another hour west to Boqueron to catch the setting sun over this more tranquil and scenic beach. Again, that was the plan. We were first greeted by rain and, when we arrived at the deserted beach (it was Thanksgiving eve), our bodies were quickly consumed by mosquitoes. Needless to say, our stop at the beach was short and there was no sunset to be seen. By this point it was too late to visit the neighboring wildlife refuge and most restaurants we already closed for the holiday. We decided it was best to make the three-hour drive back to San Juan to find dinner.
Now, you are probably thinking what a waste of time! Yes, the day included many loses. However, we still managed to have a good time and the long, scenic drive gave us the opportunity to at least see much of the island. Up until this point I had never seen so many horses and chickens running wild in both rural and semi-urban areas. I guess Puerto Rico is way ahead of us with free-range animals!
Tomorrow, Thanksgiving, should be a relaxing day. We will continue our culinary tour of the city and take in some leisurely walking tours of San Juan. We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
A horse relaxing near the street in southern Puerto Rico.
– Devon Akmon