Our second port was San Juan, Puerto Rico. We have visited San Juan twice, first in November of 1989 via the “Costa Carla” and again in Aug. 1991 via the “Costa Riviera” with the Operti’s and the Rodney’s. How about this:
and how about those “tans”?
Back to the present, San Juan’s old city hasn’t changed much since we visited last 23 years ago (neither have we, lol). Since I wasn’t writing a blog in 1991, I’ll briefly cover some history of Porto Rico. San Juan was founded in 1521 by Ponce de Leon and is the oldest city in U.S. territory. Considered the Gibraltar of the West Indies, the “Old City” is famous for its many forts (5) and city walls, seen from the ocean as you enter San Juan’s harbor.
We docked next to that Carnival cruise ship and Susy and I started out to tour San Juan:
As you see on the harbor promenade there were many vans and trains, so we jumped aboard one of those vans and took a one-hour tour of the city. We first passed one of the most beautiful marble buildings I have seen, the capital building of Porto Rico:
Our driver said the marble has never been cleaned. The first stop was a row of life size statues of all the US presidents who have visited Puerto Rico. Susy stopped to pose for a photo with JFK:
Actually the “Old City” is separated from the new city by a bridge which is famous because it is legal to jump off it, which many PR’s do from time to time:
We took a short drive through the new city and headed back toward the old city, stopping along the coast for some pictures. This coast line is beautiful, but you can see why it was so difficult for enemy ships to approach the old city of San Juan. This coast line is a surfers paradise, with waves up to 42 feet high at times. Here’s some looks at the coast:
As we entered the “Old City” it was forts and walls:
San Juan has it’s “ocean front” poor town. Our driver said no one would go down into that area unless they lived there, to dangerous.
Toward the fort at the point of the harbor, behind is its graveyard. Susy and I stopped for a photo:
On the way back to the ship, we passed through the old city streets to our cruise pier:
The day was rainy so our tour in the van was pleasant and we got to see a lot more than when we had previously been in San Juan. One of the interesting stories the driver told us was that Puerto Rican’s hated the U.S. when it first came under its control because the Spanish and U.S. negotiated and signed the treaty of transfer of control in Paris and no PR’s were asked to participate or attend. This went on for many years, but today there is not so much hatred because PR’s do not (I said do not) pay any US federal taxes, but have access to all federal handouts (i.e. food stamps, etc.). Not bad!!
On to Sint Maarten, Wednesday, Nov. 5.
Love You All,
Gary (alias Gagu)