Playa Aviones @ Piñones, Loíza, Puerto Rico

Aviones is one of my favorite near San Juan beaches. A 2… or perhaps 3-in-1 combo of food, surf, and pozita.  A pozita is a natural sea water pool. Rocks near the shore close off the area, leaving shallow, wave-free (unless the tide is high) pools that tend to stay warm and are perfect for the kids.

At Aviones you get the kiddie pozita and a surfing wave behind the rocks. The surf spot tends to crowd, but if you’re into bodyboarding or surfing you can do that while the kids play in the pozita. Off the beach is El Boricua, a famous chinchorro where, even on a Monday, there seems to be an eternal line. The alcapurrias and bacalaítos are worth it, though. The houses right in front of the beach allow you to park there for a small fee.

To get to Aviones, take the route to Piñones (road #). You will pass the bridge, several restaurants, a basketball court, then the kiosks and pozitas (this one crowds more and sometimes looks muddy after heavy rain), Chatarra (awesome surf spot, but only breaks occasionally)… soon after you will see a parking in front of houses and El Boricua. That’s Aviones (Km ). There is a wooden ladder leading to the beach. The channel is right in front of the ladder, but the good posita spot is to the left, where it’s shallower.

CAUTION: There is a current, and if the tide is high, it can be strong. Looking from the sand towards the water, it pushes you from left to right.  If you are unfamiliar with beaches, please read the  Beach Fun & Safety Tips before going.

Have fun!

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La Marquesa Forest Park @ Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

For kids and nature lovers! Only a short distance from San Juan, La Marquesa Forest Park is a great spot for families and nature lovers. The park itself is a beautiful forest with added extras.

Kids pay $3.00 and adults $6.00. They have limited parking space, however, there is extra parking below the mountain accessible via trolley car.

Park Map
Park Map

As you go in the park you can either walk up the mountain, take a train (car that looks like a train) ride or ride the cable cars. I recommend the cable cars. The view is spectacular, and frankly, the mountain is pretty steep so it’s a break from hiking. You can go down on the cable cars as well. They also have a train that takes you up the mountain. Either route, you end up in the aviary and restaurant area.

We ate and skipped the birds. The kids wanted to see the Dinosaurs! It’s really a trail with commemorative trees and dinosaur sculptures; a very steep hike, but alas, there was T-Rex.

They have small playgrounds with gazebos scattered beyond the dinosaur trail. There’s a watchtower. The view must be amazing. Frankly we didn’t go up. All of us were tired from the dinosaur hike!

We walked back down the mountain through the back trail. Nobody was there! A beautiful forest path, just for us. There were gazebos all along the path where people can get together for a picnic or simply rest from the hike… The path continued beyond the park entrance, but as our car was parked near the entrance, we went up the stairs and ended our hike there.

The park also has a zip line adventure for an additional cost. We could see the cables from the funicular lift. My oldest son was very interested. I promised we would go, so that will probably be a future blog post. Here are the pics:

Join a Join: a different way to travel in Puerto Rico

The economy is not doing so good. It’s time to ditch the traditional hotel and stay local. What’s that? Well, staying local is literally staying at a local’s place. From renting out a spare bedroom in a home, to entire vacation houses, furnished and waiting for someone to come and stay there. Imagine topping that with a customized personal tour of an unknown place by a local.

Complicated you say? Well, not anymore. JoinaJoin.com is a brand new travel website featuring both places to stay and things to do. Through this platform locals post their properties or private tours for those adventurous travelers seeking a different experience. A beachfront villa in Vieques, a Golf Villa in Dorado, a surf shack in Rincón, a house in La Parguera… just about anything.

Launched in 2013, the site’s listings are growing fast and I suspect will continue to grow as users continue to leave reviews. I personally found an adorable set of houses in Isabela with a spectacular view!

If you’re looking to visit Puerto Rico and have a truly local experience, this website definitely has something to offer.

Taino Indian Cave @ Arecibo, Puerto Rico (La Cueva del Indio)

More on this spot later…

Unsuccessful Attempts at Brain Silence

Puerto Rico is filled with amazing sights; places you think only exist in travel commercials and movies! The minute you step out of the San Juan metro area, the island transforms into a magical place of retro time travel, friendly faces and a laid-back attitude. Time slows down and you can drive around the island in a day, but you won’t because there are so many places to see as you travel along the road you won’t want to be in the car for very long.

The Taino Indian Cave, or in Spanish: “La Cueva del Indio”, in the northern Arecibo coast, is one such retro travel amazing place that if you ever come to PR you should definitely include in your to-do list. They call it indian cave because it is filled with indian petroglyphs. In my life I had never seen so many in one single place! 

Traveling along road #681 in…

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ComuniHACK

1379337_660300460669026_1442412667_nLet’s Hack the town! Yup, that’s what this initiative is all about: Citizens coming together to hack communities and engage them in the process of planning its improvement. You see, nobody knows better what a community needs than the community itself. Through Communihack, college students and other professionals work together with the residents to establish integrative designs that will help improve the quality of life in the area by establishing a working, coherent, development plan that will beautify the town as well as maximize the use of space to increase self-sustainability. And that’s just phase one. After that, phase two intends to actually do the proposed plans, leaving run-down communities like Santurce looking like they used to or better. The plan intends to target a different community every year or so, until hopefully, Puerto Rico gets completely hacked. Just imagine…

Although still in developmental stages, ComuniHack is already lining up community members, volunteers, and non-profit organizations like The Boys and Girls Club in order to make this dream a reality. As soon as August of 2014 a rough draft of the first ComuniHACK (Santurce) will be around.

If you’d like to know more, here’s a link to their proposal and their Facebook like page.

You may also send an email to: info@comunihack.com