Thursday, August 14, 2014

Let Me Take You to Paradise. Caracoles in Puerto Rico, A Tiny Island Fantasy

Another favorite stop on my recent Puerto Rican adventure was Caracoles (literally, coral.) It ties with my swim in a giant waterfall as favorite life adventures. Caracoles (literally, coral) is a tiny "island" group you can reach by boat. It's off the coast from the La Paguera nature preserve; where you can see one of the wonders of the world, a bioluminescent bay where the water illuminated on moonless nights by dinoflagellate plankton. It's one of the three most famous bays to see this anomaly. All three bays  are in Puerto Rico. We didn't get to see the bio-bay as planned but I thoroughly enjoyed the tiny island Fantasy that was Caracoles regardless. (See the bay here, though. Amazing!)

The boat guided us through natural mangrove habitats. Entering this particular canopied spot was incredible, I'd never seen anything like it.

There was a school for Marine Biology and dozens of charming, colorful houses situated right on the water. There were boats parked in their...driveways? Waterways? Could you imagine living like this? Surrounded by crystal clear, blue water, scenic mountains behind you? Blissful. The mountains are looking a bit dry here, reflecting a recent drought. I'll share the houses in a future post, they were gorgeous.

Several iguana were chilling in front of the Marine Biology school, I had to snap some shots.

Our guide used a net to catch a couple of giant starfish for us to hold along the way, too. Such beautiful beasties. I can't resist photographing nearly every animal I see like a crazy creature stalker.

Here we are arriving at Caracoles, the island paradise! A Dream come true. I had to "take you with me" even if my filming skills are shoddy. Looking up cameras for filming, open to recommendations. (E-mail me if you have any.) If you are reading this post via e-mail, click through to see the videos.

There is no true "shore" at Caracoles, there are two tiny Mangrove islands with a tiny bank where you can set your things. There are no bathrooms or amenities. The boat leaves, and it's just you, fellow adventurers, the tiny tree-covered islands, and the crystal-clear water to enjoy. Bring water shoes to avoid being cut by rocks or coral as you explore.

Salsa and regeaton music was in the air. I love this guy carrying sound equipment to the island to get the party started in style. Uh..what is that? Where did he plug it in if it has a cord? Ha!

A swift, bad video above (click through to the post if you're reading this post via e-mail) to give you an idea of what it was like on the little island. It's worse than Cloverfield, sorry, guys, I need practice with video. I desperately want to do more. 

They say the Southern part of Puerto Rico (where my family lives) gives you a taste of the real culture, locals, and sights. Random drives can take you to dozens of completely undisturbed, empty beaches to enjoy. I want to see Old San Juan again in the North and other more touristy spots but I'm grateful to always enjoy the"real" Puerto Rico with every visit. Give La Paguera a visit if you ever find yourself plotting a trip to The Island of Enchantment. Experiencing Caracoles was like something from a movie, it reminded me of Gilligan's Island (ironically, there's a Gilligan's Island in Puerto Rico) or Castaway.

The boat came to pick us up and take us back to the shore, and reality, too soon!

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