A June 2000 trip
to San Juan by Ella M
Quote: Puerto Rico is truly "the island of enchantment". Returning to my homeland after 5 long years away, I shared the proof with my husband, and now I’ll share it with you.
Restaurant | "Cafe Berlin"
If you go to Café Berlin—a great place to escape the noontime heat and relax—ignore the price and order a fruit frappe. You are almost guaranteed to start a chain reaction throughout the eatery as patrons say "I want whatever that person’s having." The mango frappe is particularly heavenly.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2000
Plaza Colon 407
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Try to get a seat in the back of the boat—you will have the best view of its glowing, foaming wake. Also, take note of where the life jackets are. This will almost certainly be an unnecessary precaution, but it could help save valuable time during an emergency.
The boats travel without lights to help the passengers get their night vision. Little happens during the long minutes it takes a boat to reach its destination; perhaps a bright flicker here and there. Then suddenly, the water around the craft will start glowing – greeted, most likely, by collective oohs and aahs. The glow gets stronger and stronger yet: a delicate neon breaking the monotony of the night. Finally, the ship will stop in the secluded bay where the bioluminescent organisms live. Any little movement will make the water glow; otherwise—darkness.
The majority of ships make passengers stay on board. If you have the opportunity to charter a boat that will let you swim in the bay, do so. The extra expense will be well worth the memory of this trip.
Tip: Please resist the urge to take some of the dinoflagellates home with you. Even if kept in a bottle with salt water, they will die within a few hours. There are very few bioluminescent bays in the world; please help preserve them.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Attraction | "El Yunque"
When you go, be sure to dress sensibly; bring sturdy shoes and a raincoat. Even if guided tours aren’t your thing, you should go on a short one for the wealth of information you will get—about the climate of the rainforest; the plant diversity (the forest is home to over 240 species, 26 found nowhere else on Earth); the legends and beliefs of the Tainos, the original Puerto Ricans; the endangered Puerto Rican parrot, and more.
There are about 24 miles of recreational trails. Ask a Park employee at the Interpretive Service Center to recommend some trails to you, given your time limit and fitness level. Here are a few suggestions:
If you love to hike and want to avoid the crowds, El Yunque is definitely the trail to take. It’s a 2-4 hour roundtrip hike (depending on your ability) that takes you from the lush tropical canopy to the stunted, mossy trees of the Cloud Forest. You will climb to a height of nearly 3,500 feet where, depressingly, you will find a service road. Be sure to take the trail behind the radio tower. It will lead you to El Yunque rock, which offers one of the most magnificent views of the island.
El Yunque National Forest
Road 191, Off Highway 3 To Luquillo Beach
Palmer, Puerto Rico 00721