Final memories from Puerto Rico

By Clara McGrath, ’17, Hannah Kozdeba, ’18, and Isabella Whelan, ’19

Photo Jun 13, 9 19 06 AMAfter another fabulous day we started our journey again at the Fajardo Inn. After a delicious breakfast we travelled to the beach to go kayaking and snorkeling – we had the same guides we had for the bioluminescent bay tour. After a tough paddle through the waves to the clear, exotic reef, we were tired. But we put on our gear and jumped into the water. We explored the mysterious ocean floor for a while, until the large waves got too big for snorkeling. This was a great experience that none of us will never forget. After a long journey kayaking back from the reef, Nestor, the guide, said how brave we were for being able to take on the difficult waves and how well all of us were kayaking together.

Photo Jun 13, 3 39 04 PMAfter a long and exhausting two and a half hours kayaking, a short bus ride was taken to get lunch and continue our journey to the rainforest. After arriving at the rainforest, we watched a short video on its long history. We then hiked for half an hour until we reached a large pond with a waterfall. After the waterfall we started heading south towards the bus. Stopping along the way seeing cool birds, interesting trees, and unknown animals we reached the bottom of the mountain, and got on the bus to come back to San Juan.

Exhausted from our day of exploring, we changed for dinner. We took a short bus ride to one of the oldest restaurants in old San Juan. At 200 years old, Barrachina is still intact and running smoothly and is the birth place of the piña colada. The piña colada was created by three men who decided to put ice, coconut, and pineapple juice together.

Photo Jun 14, 9 57 13 AMThis morning, we had a rough 6AM wake up call in order to prepare for a long drive to the caves. We arrived at the Camuy River Cave Park, and we received headsets and audio systems to listen to the audio guide. We drove on a trolly down to the entrance of the cave, and followed the path into the dark, damp cave and listened to the audio guide tell us about the history of the cave. We learned about the species of animals and plants that live in the cave, and the secrets of the rock formations on the walls. When we finished, we came out hungry and ready for lunch. This trip has been a wonderful experience for all and we are never ever going to forget it.

Final memories from Puerto Rico

A History and Biology Lesson in Puerto Rico

PR 4By: Andy McIlvane,’19 and Ethan Parker, ’19
The day started off with waking up in San Juan. We boarded a bus that took us to old San Juan. When we arrived, we started a walking tour that explored the old city. We walked along the very thick wall which was built in order to protect the Spanish colonists from their enemies. We walked to the point where the Spanish had built a huge fort where we learned where the cannons went and the strategies they used for their protection. Exploring the many rooms of the fort was interesting because they had been maintained in their original condition. We then went to the Puerto Rican capital building where we learned about important events and saw mosaics on the ceiling of the huge hall. We also got the chance to go into the Senate room. We then walked around the old city where we all liked learning about the statues and history in the city.

20130613-143001.jpg

After we had our history lesson, we were able to have free time in old San Juan. We got a chance to practice our Spanish in real-life situations in the many souvenir shops and an ice cream truck in Plaza Colón. It was a memorable experience for all to meet the very nice San Juan residents and shop owners.

Finally, we went to our much-awaited kayaking trip to the bioluminescent bay. This bay has tiny organisms that glow if they are disturbed so you see the glow as you paddle. These small organisms are a type or marine plankton called dinoflagellates. We kayaked through a bay, through a spooky canal and then into the dinoflagellates’ home, the lagoon. Our tour guide gave us a brief explanation of the bioluminescent plankton and how they glow. We then kayaked all he way back to the bay. Everyone loved this trip because we not only learned about the bioluminescent plankton, we were able to actually see them.

After a long but fun day, everyone went to bed straight away, but nobody could wait until tomorrow, where we will travel to a rain forest, and go to the beach to snorkel.

A History and Biology Lesson in Puerto Rico

First thoughts from Puerto Rico

By: Simmy Sidhu, `18,
Madi McCreesh, `19,  Leah Attai, `19,  and Isabella Whelan, `19

Today, we experienced some history as we walked around in old San Juan. Our tour guide told us about the fort walls of old San Juan and how the walls protected them from their enemies. They had enemies because of the riches that they received from Mexico, but the walls were steep and hard to climb so it ensured the city’s safety. There were also gates through the walls. The gates would close at night time and this made it impossible to get inside after they closed and we were able to walk through one of the gates today that had the original doors from 1749!

After we went by the fort today, we saw many unexpected things. For example, we noticed many stray cats. Despite seeing these animals, we learned something about them. Apparently there were many rats long ago so the Puerto Ricans decided to get cats to deal with the rat population. At some point, the cats stopped killing the rats, and now there is a large stray cat population today. We were also fortunate enough to experience some other native wildlife. We saw parakeets, pelicans, pigeons, and crabs and we are looking forward to seeing even more wildlife over the next few days.

First thoughts from Puerto Rico