our last full day in puerto rico, we drove into El Yunque National Park and got down in the rainforest.  we climbed, serenaded by coquis and drenched in humidity, to the highest point on the island and chilled in the "cloud forest" at the top.  then we descended into the jungle to bathe in some spectacular waterfalls.

and we were rewarded for our efforts! with german beers and sausage at a rather strange biergarten just outside the park gate.  you kinda can't deny the magic of cold kölsch in the caribbean rainforest.  


rincón, puerto rico
huge waves and dready gringos


at Playa Sucia on Cabo Rojo, in the very southwest corner of puerto rico.

this might be the most perfect spot in the world, if you can brave the "bone-rattling" dirt road to the tip of the cape.  the beach is on a wildlife reserve, so there are lots of cool birds along the way, and manatees in the bay if you're lucky (we did not see manatees, but i felt pretty lucky anyway).

if someone walks by with an unlikely ice cream cart, order the coconut and be amazed.


after a ferry back to the big island, we rented a car and headed into the central mountains to the Ruta de Lechón, the pork road, a necessary pilgrimage.

route 184 through Guavate is lined with lecheronas: little pork cafeterias with pork spits propped up in the front windows like beacons.  we picked a place at random and ordered an assortment of pork goodies and root vegetables.  i bore no resemblance to my former vegetarian self as i tucked into a styrofoam bowl of pork stomach and munched on crispy pig skin, uttering something like "this is candy made out of meat" before spiraling into a delicious meat oblivion.


the word hammock comes from a Taíno word.  how fitting.
we studied the ancient practice of hammocking all day long.


how to camp in Culebra:

take a ferry from Fajardo for $2.50 and enjoy the epic winds up top.
plant yourself at the far end of flamenco beach, the whole place to yourself.
spend days sprawled on white sand or swimming in perfect warm water.
stop at the kioskos for marlin steaks, piña coladas, chuletas and tostones.
hang your hammock in the mangroves, and fall asleep beneath the stars.
get caught in late-nite monsoons, and run scrambling and giggling to find shelter.
ignore the caution sign, hike through the jungle to Carlos Rosario Beach, and snorkel in the coral reef.
catch a ride into town and indulge in mussels and red snapper at El Eden.