“La isla de encanto—The island of enchantment”, the island where the big city meets a rural village and eventually runs into the bright blue sea. Puerto Rico allows travelers to experience these three elements in a quick plane ride. Unlike most destinations, metropolis and paradise are always sitting side by side.
Evidence of this factor lies in the small surf town of Rincon. Surrounded by cerulean waves, emerald palm trees, and bright pink and yellow houses, this town possesses the root of island culture. Old men playing dominoes, streets filled with the decorative Spanglish language, surfers, hippies, and the smell of fresh fruit and smoked meat are the constant reminder of what is and always will be Puerto Rico.
If you are the beach bum type, there are a variety of beaches to choose from in the area. Many include local surf shops and even craft venders for that nice souvenir to bring back home. If you do not mind driving a little longer, Cabo Rojo neighbors Rincon with an absolutely stunning cliff top lighthouse that descends into a semiprivate and spectacular beach. The trails down to the beach have the essence of walking through the desert with its tan sand and cacti. It is almost out of a storybook to watch as this desert transforms into a gorgeous oasis, but it is no mirage, this natural beauty actually exists.
If that does not sound appealing at the moment, another natural beauty to witness is the view from the island’s high mountaintops. If not in a rush, the scenic route is always the best to take when trying to get to other parts of Puerto Rico such as, the historical city of Ponce. This suggestion is not for the easily carsick in view of the fact that the island is comprised of very narrow and winding roads farther up the mountain. In spite of this little inconvenience, the scenery is undeniably beautiful. Tropical flowers scent the air, as the thousands of birds become your only necessary radio station. Even the sunlight hits every tree in a way that appears as if God is shining heavenly light upon the mountain’s peaks.
After what seems like a drive-by-tour of the Garden of Eden, large buildings replace trees, the birds turn into reggaeton music and the population of people grows by the thousands. Take a look around the town’s many historical landmarks, or simply shop around the numerous boutiques. Ponce is a great place to experience this sort of relaxation. Visit the city’s museum, firehouse, and fountain of lion’s. If you are in need of nourishment afterwards, Ponce offers an array of restaurants that range from typical American fast food chains to fusion cuisine.
Puerto Rico sucks you into the culture with no intention of spitting you out. As someone who has fully embraced this environment, I can personally say that it offers a thing I like to call “active relaxation”. Learning this form of relaxation through this trip changed the way that I live my life. I know that when I am in a time of stress, nature is never too far away. If I am feeling lonely, friendly faces are always waiting around the corner. Whenever I think about Puerto Rico I cannot help but be filled with happiness and delight. The island possesses an overwhelming amount of power amongst the senses, a power that you can only call, enchantment.
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