Puerto Rico: To go back or not to go back?

Gary & Mel CrowThere’s that moment when you visit a new place when the sense of wonder leaves you giddy with the excitement of exploration. Then there’s the moment when you return to a familiar place that feels so comfortable that you could make it your second home– the kind of place that never quite leaves your thoughts or your heart. I have always been fascinated by the juxtaposition between traveling for the thrill of newness and traveling for the comfort of the return.

Somewhere between those two is how we feel about Puerto Rico.  It is never really high on our do-over list, but it does make the list. We always find ourselves saying, “Let’s really do Puerto Rico someday.”

So when the opportunity to spend a few days there outside the bustle of San Juan presented itself, we jumped at it. It was not exactly our dream of thoroughly exploring the island, but it gave us the chance to see a corner of it that we had not yet seen.

We’ve been there. Done that. Perhaps you have too. Its central location makes it a hot spot for stopovers and layovers for cruise passengers and travelers throughout the Southern Caribbean.Puerto Rico

Getting to Puerto Rico is cheaper than ever before.

Getting to San Juan is not all that difficult, and low-cost carriers like Southwest, Jet Blue, and Spirit are helping bring down the cost of airfare that historically has run in the $500 range round trip from almost anywhere except Miami. A quick check of fares today turned up prices as low as $194 RT from New York and $240 from Dallas.

We chose to get there by a slightly slower method. Celebrity’s Summit repositioned from Port Liberty New Jersey to San Juan for the winter at exactly the time we wanted to be in Puerto Rico. Repositioning cruises are some of the best bargains to be found and this six-nighter was no exception. The sailing also gave us the opportunity to interview the first American woman to captain a mega cruise ship– Captain Kate McCue.

Following our leisurely journey to San Juan, we spent three days exploring the sights, sounds, and tastes of Puerto Rico. We snorkeled, hiked, kayaked, and spent time just staring at the incredible blue sea. It was most definitely a trip to remember. Will we return? Our itch to see more of the island was not scratched. For starters, we didn’t go diving. We once did a muck dive in San Juan that was one of our best as yet unwritten travel stories ever, but we don’t consider that having truly dove Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico

We did not have time to see the Arecibo Observatory, visit the island of Vieques, or do any caving, so Puerto Rico is not done with us. We left it with that feeling of unfinished business that is a sure sign that we will walk those paths again someday.

What the heck is a bio bay?