Where by heritage and attractiveness collide.
Puerto Rico’s funds, San Juan, presents so significantly history and enjoyment that you could hardly ever go away it all through your continue to be. But you must. In certain, traverse the island to its a lot more calm west coast, wherever stunning landscapes, charming cities and wonderful meals await.
I spent a weekend in early November discovering the west coastline from a home foundation in Mayagüez. Known as La Sultana del Oeste (“the Sultaness of the West”), it’s the suitable landing spot for west-coastline guests because it is correct in the middle of the western seashore, 50 percent an hour or fewer from anyplace you may well want to take a look at. The city has a park honoring the heroes of the modern island, as well as a number of scenic rooftop restaurants. The Mayagüez Vacation resort Casino (from $141) options a family-helpful h2o park and rooms with amazing sights of Mayagüez Bay.
To the north lies Aguadilla, the 2nd-greatest metropolis on the west coastline, with a city sq. (the Ojo de Agua, or “Eye of Water”) that connects to an eye-catching seaside promenade. I experienced a delightful lunch at an outside cafe in the vicinity of the south end of that promenade. ARTe overlooks the Caribbean and options craft cocktails and mofongo, a blend of mashed fried plantains, spices, and rooster or fish.
Just north of Aguadilla lies Crash Boat Seaside — the two a preferred fishing place and a nonstop celebration many thanks to the bars and eateries that line it. Regrettably, a tropical downpour that experienced the team at ARTe hurriedly raising umbrellas retained us from likely to sea on 1 of the namesake boats.
To the south of Mayagüez is Cabo Rojo, which will get its identify from the reddish water lapping up from the pink salt flats lining some of its 18 beaches and 28 miles of coastline — the most of any group in Puerto Rico. Boulevard Guanajibo, a two-lane highway connecting Mayagüez and Cabo Rojo, hugs the shoreline, whilst initial-course seafood eating places line the street, quite a few of them projecting out in excess of the water. One particular of the greatest of these, Che Che Colé by Bamboleio (combines imaginative cuisine, attractive sea views, and a pleasant chef who enjoys chatting up diners as he serves them seafood and rooster dishes above rice and black beans.
You ought to get started your west-coastline excursion by renting a automobile in San Juan. From there, acquire the most important cross-island toll street, Route 52, throughout Puerto Rico’s mountainous center on its way to Ponce, the island’s second-major city. This highway, 1 of Puerto Rico’s initially superhighways, has landscapes that recalls absolutely nothing so a great deal as what a single sees alongside the Pennsylvania Turnpike, only lusher and with far more tropical architecture. On the way, along the roadside near the mountain city of Cayey, you’ll locate a monument to the jibaros, yeoman farmers who produced a dwelling off the land for generations and have become a cultural icon to Puerto Ricans.
The excursion takes just a little much more than two hrs nonstop, but in Puerto Rico, there is no reason to hurry.
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Posted as “Go West in Puerto Rico” in the March 2022 issue of Philadelphia journal.