We departed Vieques early Wednesday afternoon and returned back to San Juan. I had called our next resort to arrange for a pick-up at the airport and learned the charge would be $60 per person round trip (damn taxi union), so we opted to rent a car. Our resort, the Wyndham Rio Mar, was about twenty miles east of San Juan and we figured the rental would also save us a fortune getting to Old San Juan. As we landed at the airport we figured that we may as well visit Old San Juan today, since the airport is right next door.
It is probably a mistake to drive yourself into Old San Juan. The roads are mostly narrow, one-way with cars parked everywhere.
Cemetary at El Morro
We were very excited to glimpse El Morro coming in, but then got forced to make successive lefts by one-ways and dead ends that took us back to square one.
Required over a half hour to get back near the fort and find parking (another rare commodity and royal pain that comes along with your own wheels), but at last we got to set out.
We ate lunch at La Bombadero, a diner/bakery where they only spoke Spanish (a rarity --> most people are bi-lingual). It was a treat to get some genuine local food and our waiter actually escorted Kim to the ladies room (dondi es damas banos???). But our stroll through the streets was not appealing. Despite the colorful and pretty architecture of most buildings, it was crowded and piles of trash were heaped everywhere. Most of the stores where American chains like Polo and Ralph Lauren, so we could have been in Manhattan it seemed.
Unfortunately it was late in the afternoon when we stormed El Morro and we discovered they closed at 5PM, the time we showed up at the gates. Even though we didn’t get to peek inside (a friend of mine who is from Puerto Rico shared that they had recently rehabbed the interior), the grounds are lovely and we spent some time strolling around for a sunset photo shoot. Then it was back to the hotel through rush hour traffic with no plans to return for a more in-depth tour of Old San Juan.