Beautiful and Historic San Juan
I didn’t really want to stop in San Juan. I thought it would be just another big city: dirty, touristy, and overpriced. My feelings aside, it made sense to stop in San Juan to re-provision before continuing on south. So we stopped.
I was wrong! Michelle and I loved San Juan. We thought we might anchor in the harbor, but the small anchorage is also one corner of a turning basin for cruise ships and container ships, which must make for some interesting pucker moments! We decided to take a slip at Club Nautico Marina.
On our first day there, we rented a car and made a trip to Costco. This was our first real exposure to the craziness caused by Covid-19. We arrived at Costco early in the morning and the parking lot was already completely full, with cars parking out on the side street and circling in the parking lot. We were lucky and found a parking place fairly quickly and went inside to find check out lines that were more than an hour long. Undaunted, we went about shopping, filling a cart to overflowing. As we were headed to the checkout lines, that were by now, wrapped all around the outer edges of the store, I noticed a line right in the middle of the store that couldn’t be seen easily, so we cued up and were only had 3-4 people ahead of us. SCORE!
The next day, we dropped our new electric bikes on the ground and used them to explore old San Juan and hunt out interesting restaurants. After 4-5 weeks of traveling and hanging out at remote islands, we were anxious to explore the city and get a good meal!
Castillo San Cristobal is was a Spanish fort built to protect from land and sea attacks and is the largest fort built by Spain in the new world. It was built in the late 1700’s and continued to protect San Juan all the way up to World War II. We were told that under normal conditions, the fort would be almost impossible to move around in, especially since it was spring break in the US. With no cruise ships entering the harbor and limited flights to/from the US, we almost had the fort to ourselves and it was an amazing fort to visit.
The next night we rode in to town and found a fantastic Taco and Margarita bar. We also scoped out several other restaurants we wanted to try on future nights.
The next morning, the Governor of Puerto Rico shut down the island. Closing restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, and marinas — and our world suddenly changed!
We arranged to fill up with fuel, taking on 1,844 gallons of diesel, and then started thinking seriously about where we were going to go to wait out the “pandemic.” We got in touch with the Coast Guard to determine if we could leave the harbor. It took another day to get an answer, as the CG had to get clarification from the Governor. We were clear to leave for Culebra, but that’s another story…In the meantime, here are some great pics from San Juan: