El Yunque Rain Forest, Puerto Rico – Day 8

A great thing about taking a cruise line excursion on the last day is that you get off the ship first.  We set our luggage out before 11 pm the night before.  We rose early to eat breakfast at the Windjammer for the last time and watched San Juan turn from city lights at night to daylight from our seat by the window.  By 8:30 we were on our bus and headed for the rain forest in Puerto Rico’s interior.

Our bus driver wore a Santa hat and had his bus decorated for every major holiday on the calendar.  For example, the brim of his Santa hat had plastic Easter eggs hanging from it.  He made lots of corny jokes and entertained while he educated.  We drove through many poor neighborhoods before arriving in El Yunque National Forest.  Most of the parrots are gone.  All of the monkeys are gone.  Croqui (little ground frogs) appear to be among the few fauna not exterminated by people.  The foliage and waterfalls were beautiful.  The forest has an excellent interpretive center for visitors.  It also had a viewing tower from which one could see all the way to the sea.

We stopped for the bus driver’s lunch place kickback at a taqueria-convenience store.  The bus driver was playing with a gourd as a rhythm instrument.  I jokingly said, “Where’s the guitar?”  The guy behind the counter pulled out a guitar and soon we had a full scale concert going on right in the aisle of the store!  Fun.

Finally, we were deposited at the airport where we were reunited with our luggage.  The luggage was at the wrong terminal for us and we had to haul it quite a distance to the next terminal.  Our flights home went without incident and we arrived at home just before midnight.

Of all our cruises, I think this was the best.  It may have been the best vacation since my parents took me to camp at Arrowhead Lake in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina when I was a teenager.  (Don’t count Hawaii as vacations.  For me, visiting Hawaii is on a different plane, altogether.)

As an aside, do you like having a photo with a link to a full screen slideshow better (as you see here) or the thumbnail slideshow with a link to the full screen slideshow (as you saw on previous days).  I’m kind of liking the picture method.  It seems like it loads faster, and makes the page aesthetically more appealing (no big green arrows).


  • Ray says:

    Just a couple corrections in your story …

    The Puerto Rican parrots never really thrived in El Yunque (the rain forest). They are a coastline species. Their eggs do not do well in the high humidity of the rain forest environment. People have “thought” that they should do well there, but they do not.

    You say that “All of the monkeys are gone”.

    Puerto Rico is a volcanic island. We never had monkeys. In fact, we naturally have no mammals. The wild mammals we do have were introduced by man. The only monkeys we have on the island are (primarily) out west and are monkeys that have escaped from research labs.

  • Tom says:

    Thanks, Ray. I must have misunderstood Hector. I stand corrected!

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