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Artwork of Carly Drew

Puerto Rico Part V: National Historic Site & Old San Juan

Carly Drew

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On the last day we drove out to the Arecibo Observatory so we could see the massive radio telescope from Goldeneye. Obviously we went for other reasons, but I won't lie...the fact that it was in a James Bond movie was definitely part of why we drove out to Arecibo from San Juan. Unfortunately they're closed on Tuesdays, so we didn't get to see the actual telescope up close. We did get to see some of the supports on the ascent up into the mountains, but that was about it. Even though it was closed for maintenance, the drive out into the countryside was well worth it. The roads were small and borderline cow path like in some places, but we had a hell of a time running our rental Jeep in the rough terrain and windy roads.

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Once we arrived back in San Juan we decided to make a stop at the San Juan National Hisotric Site. It's comprised of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal, the city walls, San Juan Gate and the Fort San Juan de la Cruz, which are all part of the reason its designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We got there late in the day, so only had a few hours before sunset when the park closed. Even though our time was limited, the light and shadows during that hour of the day made for some really dramatic photos. It was neat getting to climb up onto the battlements of the old fort to see some of the most breathtaking views of Old San Juan and the ocean.  

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After our tour of the Fort, we went down and toured a bit of Old San Juan. It felt almost like a European vaction with the bulidings and cultures have some interesting similarties. The architecture is amazing, the people are fond of late night dinners and the maze-like streets reminded me of that time I was holding on for dear life in the back of an Italian taxi cab. Later that night we ended up at a small local joint recommended to us by the concierge, called Orozco's. There we got to try some local specialties like fried chorizo cheese sticks, shrimp trifongo and churrassco mofongo, along with some Medalla beer. It was the perfect way to unwind after a whirlwind day driving around the island and seeing aso many historic sites.

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