Part 9: Dorado to Guanica, Puerto Rico


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The Trip

The stay at the Embassy Suites resort hotel in Dorado was nice.  We had sushi at the Asian restaurant across the street and it was OK, but not excellent.  But, our room was clean and quiet and we had a free happy hour and breakfast.  And, a nice view from the 6th floor.  We left the hotel and headed west to Aricebo to see the radio telescope but were skunked by their operating hours.  They were closed to visitors on Monday and Tuesday.  Rats!  But the drive was very interesting on narrow, twisty-turney roads.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

When I woke up and looked outside it was clear and sunny, therefore time for a photo.

We drove south from Dorado to the toll road and then west toward Aricebo.  We got all the way there and discovered from the guards at the gate that the facility is closed to visitors on Monday and Tuesdays.  So we just turned around and went back to the main road.

We attempted to follow road 128 from north to south.  Rt 128 is a narrow 1.5 lane road that goes over the steep inner mountains in the center of the island.  After getting lost several times, we finally got on the correct road.  When we did, we ended up behind a political advertising truck with massive speakers mounted on the roof.  The truck has its own gas-powered generator used to drive the high-output speakers.  These trucks drive through neighborhoods blaring out political messages attempting to change voter's minds before the upcoming elections.  It may work as a tactic, but it surely is annoying.

Once we started to get higher into the mountains, we saw more pronounced cliffs.

On RT-128 our view points were limited to places where the roadside vegetation has been trimmed sufficiently to allow a view of anything but near-field growth.  From this spot we actually got a reasonable view to the east showing the intensity of the mountains.

The highest trees were covered by vines that are likely a type of parasite.

At the bottom of the canyon we crossed over the river and got the view of the "wild" river.  There was a small waterfall here as well as an opportunity to go kayaking on this river.

There was one small house on the side of the river, but it looked abandoned.

The hills were very steep but green and heavily covered in lush, dense vegetation.

One of the distant ridges had homes and ranches on the ridge-line.

We saw both large and small plots of land that had been planted with plantains.  Plantains are like bananas in look and shape but are more starchy and are used like potatoes in local dishes.  Pounded & fried plantains is a typical side dish as is mofongo.  Mofongo is like mashed potatoes but with plantains sliced, fried in oil and seasoning and then mashed.

A lot of the back-country dwellings were pretty basic but many were built of robust poured concrete.

The route crested a second line of mountains and gave us fleeting glimpses of the lowlands to the south.

Steep mountains and rain produce rock slides.  We passed many places where there was debris on the road but we were lucky that the road was passable.

Many places had dense vines that were hanging into the road.  This set came all the way down to ground level and I only had to open the window to check it out.

Lower on the south-facing cliffs we could see one of the local reservoirs used for water storage.

There were many small streams that crossed the road.  Note the moss on the rocks.  While stopped for this photo we could clearly hear the call of the coqui tree frog.

Some of the higher peaks to the east of us were shrouded in clouds.

We decided to go to Guanica on the south shore of the island.  We settled on a place called the Copamarina Resort.  The place was nice and we arrived right at sunset.  Above is a view of the beach area, complete with nice palm trees and chaise lounges.

Copamarina had several nice pool areas.

The resort had its own pier for small boats.

The homes on the small point were not part of our facility but rather were private homes.

The rooms were nice and the grounds were well groomed.

This bird followed us around looking for handouts.

Route 128 was one of the steepest, narrowest and most tortured roads we have been on.  It was not hard in a 4x4 sense, but did require careful driving at all times.  The views were great and we only passed several oncoming vehicles in perhaps 3 hours.  Sadly, one was a full-sized school bus that ran us into the ditch.  The bus continued on, oblivious to our plight, feeling confident in his knowledge that "mass always wins".  The good news was that we did not get stuck and there was no damage to our little micro-car.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2012, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.