Puerto Rico Part 5: El Yunque Rainforest…

Today should have been the best day of the trip so far. My head was raring to go, but my body was like “wait just a minute, damn it!” I love that we can walk everywhere, or take the bus to get to Old San Juan to walk everywhere there, but we have been going non-stop since we got here and it finally caught up with me.

The walk to Condado seemed daunting and endless this morning, even though we were on our way there to procure a car. We requested the reservation for 9am, arrived after 10 and were told we would have to wait another hour and a half before our car would arrive. Excuse me, what? Regardless of what time I arrive, if I am told something will be ready by a certain time, it should be ready or I should be otherwise notified.

After waiting nearly an hour, Tiff and I got hungry and told the rental guy we would be right across the street grabbing a quick bite, and then would be back. We were gone maybe 15 minutes…when we came back he had posted a sign that read “away for lunch 12-1pm.” What the hell? At this point, I am fuming. Livid. Plans for the rainforest excursion and Luquillo beach are slipping farther through our fingers.

We tried to lounge by the Marriott pool, but there were no open chairs in the sun or at least sheltered from the unrelenting wind from the surf. Still completely irritated we agreed to just relax on the beach and get some sun because there was no point in wasting precious daylight.

At 1:15pm we returned to the Hertz desk to demand a car or discount/upgrade or something. The man smiles condescendingly and says, “I walked over to Buns to find you, but didn’t see you so I just took my lunch.” You had my number, jerk!!! We wound up getting a discount after arguing for several minutes, but I still wasn’t completely satisfied. *grumble*

Driving to El Yunque Rainforest was relatively easy. Their visitor maps made absolutely no sense, but we found the trail to the waterfall we wanted to see, hiked down it in 20 minutes though it was suggested to take 40 minutes one-way. We went for a dip, not swim, in the ice cold water, took pictures and then hiked back up in our bathing suits to air out and dry off. Had to commend many folks trying to hike that trail…it was steep! Both ways.

The forest is beautiful and well-preserved much like the old city and the forts. The land here is so green and lush…I am in awe of how picturesque it all is. Even the not-so-nice parts have a unique feel, worth appreciating in their aged states. I wish I could spend more time exploring the rest of the country. I will definitely have to return.

I must say, however, that Luquillo was not as grand as everyone has raved about. Perhaps, we just did not find the beach front that our hostel coordinator saw or it was an off day. The tide was high, surf was raging and the air was nearly too chilly to tolerate. Again, the inland landscape in this region is captivating.

Seems like we might be calling it an early night tonight…kind of don’t want to, but then again, it would be ok if we did. We have another LONG day ahead of us tomorrow and I hope that it brings less stress/surprise and more fun!


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