Go See Do Explore

Travel by Any Means Necessary

Presidents Day at Hollywood Studios

Storm Troopers

After two straight days of rain, the sun finally came out for our last day at Disney World. As it was the only park we hadn’t visited yet, we planned to spend the morning at Disney Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Studios has always been my least favorite park at Disney World, but my opinion changed about it during our trip in 2021. After recently riding Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland, I wasn’t as eager to return to Hollywood Studios (partly because it was forecast to be 10/10 for crowds due to the Holiday) as I expected after our last visit. After going back and forth about it for a while, I finally decided that we would start the day at Hollywood Studios and then utilize our Park Hopper to head back to one of the other parks after lunch.

We got up early on our final day to head to the Studios, but first, we made our only Individual Lightning Lane purchase of the trip for another ride on Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind at Epcot. We headed to the Studios for early park entry and got right in line for Rise of the Resistance (top). After riding it multiple times, the theming and immersion of that attraction and the whole Galaxy’s Edge area are amazing, but the cast member interaction was noticeably less than on my first ride.

After our first ride of the day, wait times were already high. We headed to Toy Story Midway Mania, which is always enjoyable. After that, we waited in a long line for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, because I was not too fond of it on our last visit to the Studios and I was hoping it would redeem itself with another ride through but it did not. This is a controversial opinion within the Disney Fan Community, but I prefer Remy’s Rattatoi Adventure at Epcot for the same ride system. Runaway Railway is very jerky and I just do not like it. It’s safe to say that I will skip it the next time I’m in the Studios like I did in Disneyland. Finally, we went to Muppet Vision 3D (which needs an update, if you ask me), and by that point, it was 45 minutes before our lunch reservation and all of the waits were higher than that so we ended up sitting on a bench outside 50’s Prime Time Cafe just waiting to be able to check-in.

This was my second time dining at 50’s Prime Time, the last one being when I was about 10 years old and the waiter yelling at you schtick gave me anxiety so I have avoided it since. People online love 50’s so I figured we would give it a chance. I considered telling our server that we were not interested in getting yelled at, but instead, we just followed all of their rules and were able to eat our food in peace. The food at 50’s Prime Time is old-school classics, as the name implies. I had the Chicken Pot Pie and Chris had a sampler with meatloaf, pot roast, and fried chicken and the food was all good, but it was honestly boring compared to the other places we had eaten earlier in the trip. If you have picky eaters in your family, or you want your children to get yelled at on vacation, 50’s is a great choice, but in the future, I will probably skip it for more adventurous cuisine.

Journey of Water inspired by Moana

After lunch, we hopped on one of  Friendship Boats for a leisurely ride to Epcot. It was the final day of the Festival of the Arts so we spent some time wandering around appreciating the art that was mostly covered up during our Epcot day because of the rain. We also walked through the new Journey of Water inspired by Moana. It is a walkthrough attraction and it will be an enjoyable way to cool off in the hot Florida summers. It was a beautiful illustration of the water cycle and had some great photo ops as well. In my opinion, this was a great addition to Epcot’s World Nature neighborhood.

Livin' with the Land

We rode a few of our favorites including Livin’ with the Land and Spaceship Earth again and then it was time for our Lightning Lane. Once again, Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind was so much fun! After that, it was time for us to head back to Pop Century, grab our bags, and make our way to the airport. At the time, I was disappointed by the crowds and the high wait times of visiting Disney World during a holiday weekend, but looking back on it, with the exception of Monday, we were able to ride pretty much everything we had wanted to. We said we were going to take a couple of years before heading to Disney World again, but Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (R.I.P. Splash Mountain) opens next month, so we will see how long we can stay away!

Thanks for stopping by! Check out our NEW Go See Do Explore Podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

A Rainy Day at Animal Kingdom

Pandora at Animal Kingdom

Our third day at Disney World started bright and early with Early Entry to Animal Kingdom at 7:30 am and the rain was still coming down. We had not been to Animal Kingdom since our trip in 2015, so the whole Pandora section of the park was new to us. We headed to Flight of Passage for rope drop and the line was already pretty long by the time they let us in despite the early hour and the weather.

Flight of Passage is a Soarin’-like attraction where you ride on a Banshee over Pandora. The ride vehicle is more complex in that it appears to breathe underneath you, which is interesting. It is also in 3D which really affected my motion sickness. I had a headache for the rest of the day. If you get motion sickness from screen-based rides, you may want to consider skipping this one. Chris enjoyed it, though, and probably would have gone on it again if the line went down.

Pandora at Animal Kingdom

After getting off Flight of Passage, we noticed the wait for Expedition Everest was short so we headed over there for a wet roller coaster experience. We love that ride so much that when we got off, we went right to the single-rider line and rode it again.

At that point, Kilimanjaro Safari opened and had a ridiculously short wait so we ran over there and had probably the best safari experience that I had ever had at Animal Kingdom. Because it was early in the day and it wasn’t hot, all the animals were very active. The lion even roared at us as we drove by.

After our safari, we headed back to Pandora to ride Na’vi River Journey, which was the final new attraction for us on this trip. Na’vi River Journey is a calm boat ride through Pandora’s bioluminescent rainforest and the Na’vi Shaman of Songs sings as you float by. The wait was long but at this point, we were just glad to get a break from the rain. While we were waiting, the ride broke down so we ended up waiting for much longer than anticipated, but the other rides also had long lines at this point so we decided not to leave. Maybe the long wait affected our anticipation for this ride or maybe it was the fact that we had just experienced true bioluminescence in Puerto Rico, but I was not impressed with Na’vi River Journey. While the attractions in Pandora aren’t my thing, I have to appreciate the immersive storytelling in Pandora. I wish we had time to explore more of the land when I wasn’t getting soaked to the bone.

Acrobatic Monkeys at Festival of the Lion King

After leaving the Na’vi River, we headed to the Festival of the Lion King. In general, we are not big show people in Disney, but on our last trip to Animal Kingdom, I lost my glasses and we went to the Festival of the Lion King, but I really couldn’t see anything. I was glad we made a point to go back because it was visually spectacular and I really did enjoy it!

After the show, we had pretty much seen everything we wanted to see in Animal Kingdom so we stopped for lunch back in Pandora, at what may be my new favorite counter service restaurant, Satu’li Canteen. Their menu is inventive and has lots of healthier options. We picked one of the less healthy, the cheeseburger bao buns and they were really good!

After lunch, we utilized our park hopper and went back to Magic Kingdom to ride a couple of attractions that we didn’t get to on Friday. Due to the rain, the wait for Big Thunder Mountain was short so we headed there and rode it a couple of times until we were too soaked for comfort. Then, we hit Space Mountain again, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Peoplemover and we were getting cold. We had a dinner reservation at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village so we headed there early and hung out in the warm, dry lobby until our table was ready.

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Sanaa specializes in African food with Indian flavors and their food is not something we can find easily where we live. They have an extensive wine list featuring African wines and I was most excited to try their bread service. The bread service was wonderful and so much food! For my entree, I had the pork shank and Chris had the Potjie Inspired with the Goan Seafood Curry, Pork Vindaloo, and Lentil Daal. While we had many delicious meals on this trip, this one is at the top and it has inspired us to use some Indian flavors in the kitchen at home.

While I had originally planned to go back to the parks after dinner, we were tired and wet. We headed back to the resort, dried off, did some laundry, and watched Harry Potter on TV to prepare for our final day of Disney madness before heading home.

Thanks for stopping by! Check out our NEW Go See Do Explore Podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts. To read more about this trip, be sure to read our Long Weekend at Disney World Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

A Rainy Day in Epcot

The Seas with Nemo and Friends

Our second day in Disney World was spent at Epcot. We got up early and were able to secure our Virtual Queue Reservation for Guardians of the Galaxy, another new to me attraction. Then we hopped on the Skyliner to the park for early entry and the rain had already started. We headed right from the International Gateway to ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. We rode Remy during our last trip on the day after it opened and I loved it! I have to say it lived up to my memory. I would have loved to ride it again, but by the time we were done with the ride, it was already up to a 45-minute wait so we headed to the Land and a short wait for Soarin’, which is another of my favorites in Epcot. Because of the 100 Years of Magic Celebration, Soarin’ Around the World was replaced with the original Soarin’ Over California (Soarin’ Around the World returned to Epcot after our trip). It was great to experience that version again and I would’ve ridden it again, but once again when we got off, the line was already long so we had a stop for breakfast at Sunshine Seasons, which was my favorite Quick Service in Epcot before COVID. It is pared down now, but it served its purpose.

We got a quick ride on Living with the Land and then headed to Test Track to ride single rider, but by the time we got there, it shut down due to the rain. At this point, everything else had longer waits than I would typically wait for any attractions, but we to get out of the rain, we waited 30 minutes for the Seas with Nemo and Friends. I’m not proud of it, but at least it was dry. From there, we headed to the Canada Pavillion to see the updated film with Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy of Schitt’s Creek fame. The film had me reminiscing about our 2022 trip to Vancouver and realizing there is way more of Canada than I have seen. I did miss the funnier Martin Short version of the film that we saw last time, though.

After that, it was about time to get some lunch and we decided to try some of the Festival of the Arts booths. First, we went to Pop Arts and had the grilled cheese and tomato soup, which was delicious but we realized that eating at the booths in the rain was unpleasant. Our sandwich got soaked and the soup was watered down, but overall it was pretty good. While we were eating and trying our best to stay dry, we got our notification that it was time to join the Virtual Queue for Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind.

Just like with Tron, it was a long wait with the virtual queue, but all of the other attractions had long waits at the time and we were enjoying getting out of the rain and drying off a little. Before this trip, I had never seen a single Marvel Film and didn’t know much about the Guardians of the Galaxy. The exhibits in the queue told a lot of the story and I was excited to see Terry Crews, who is always funny. The attraction itself was amazing (and is the most expensive roller coaster ever built)! We got Conga by Miami Sound Machine and I think that song has the best energy to accompany that ride. If you don’t mind rollercoasters, I highly recommend you ride Guardians of the Galaxy. We enjoyed it so much that we actually bought an Individual Lightning Lane for it later in the trip and we watched the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies when we got home.

I was glad we didn’t eat too much before riding Guardians, but once we were off the ride, luckily the rain let up and we enjoyed more of the festival booths. Since it wasn’t raining we went back to Test Track and were able to ride it. Wait times were still pretty high for everything else we wanted to do, so we decided to head back to Pop Century to rest and dry off before dinner.

Dinner was at a restaurant I’ve always wanted to try in Epcot, San Angel Inn. If you have ever been to Epcot, this is the restaurant inside the pyramid in the Mexico Pavillion where you can watch the boats of the Gran Fiesta Tour float by while dining, similar to Blue Bayou in Disneyland. San Angel Inn gets very mixed reviews online, but we have been having a lot of authentic Mexican food at home lately and this lived up to our expectations. I do not understand the hate this restaurant gets online. It is not TexMex; there are no free chips and salsa, but everything we ordered was wonderful! I would dine there again in a heartbeat.

Luminous

After dinner, we rode Gran Fiesta Tour and headed to find a spot for the fireworks. The cold, rainy weather really worked in our favor this time because there were not a lot of people left in the park at this point. We were able to find a spot on the bridge from England to France, with only a few umbrellas blocking our view. This was my first time seeing the new Luminous show. I was not a fan of Harmonious in 2021, if you didn’t camp out to get a spot right by the water with the right angle, you didn’t get to see the projection screens. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like wasting my precious theme park time camping out for a fireworks spot so it didn’t work for me. Luminous greatly improved on Harmonious, in my opinion. While our view was slightly blocked by umbrellas, we were still able to appreciate the show. I also enjoyed that the show is a mix of music from Disney films and original music. I think this show does a good job of blending what people enjoyed about Harmonious and my all-time favorite theme park firework show, Illuminations into one, modern show with good music. I recommend you don’t skip Luminous when you’re in Epcot!

Luminous

Since we watched the fireworks from the Bridge by the International Gateway, we were able to get out of the park fairly quickly and were able to get on the Skyliner before a line formed. If the weather was better, we probably would have headed back to end the night in Magic Kingdom, but at that point, I was just looking forward to taking off my wet shoes and getting some sleep before an early morning at Animal Kingdom the next day.

Thanks for stopping by! Check out our NEW Go See Do Explore Podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts. To read more about this trip, be sure to read our Long Weekend at Disney World Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Holiday Weekend at Magic Kingdom

Rope drop at Magic Kingdom

For our first day at Disney World, we woke up early for rope drop at Magic Kingdom. Before we even left our hotel room, we got on the My Disney Experience app to try to get a virtual queue reservation for the newest attraction in the park, Tron. Unfortunately, all the spots filled up in one second. We still had a second chance to get a spot at 1 pm or we could buy a Lightning Lane reservation for $30 per person. This was the first inkling that we had that the parks were going to be busy this weekend.

Sunrise over TomorrowlandOnce we got to the park, we headed for tomorrowland and waiting for the park to open, so we could get our first ride on Space Mountain! We caught a beautiful sunrise over Astro Orbiter while we waited (left). We got on Space Mountain pretty quick, but when we got out, the line was already 30 minutes long but Buzz Lightyear was only 10 so we saved the galaxy and then headed to Fantastyland and walked right on Journey of the Little Mermaid. From there, the wait was short for Haunted Mansion, so we headed there and got through the stretching room and it broke down. We were stuck for probably ten minutes in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd in the loading area. We eventually got on the ride and then it was time for our breakfast Nutella Waffle at Sleepy Hollow. We got all of the done in the first hour and half the park was open.

After the first hour of so, the crowds got bigger and the waits got much longer. The good thing about Magic Kingdom is there are plenty of attractions that large capacity, so even when the headliners get busy, there is still plenty to do without too much of a wait. We headed back to tomorrowland and got our first ride of the trip on the PeopleMover and then rode Carosel of Progress and Monsters Inc Laugh Floor (I got picked which caught me off guard). We did a loop on the Walt Disney World Railroad and then got lunch at Casey’s Corner (corn dog nuggets and pulled pork fries were delicious). At that point, there wasn’t much with short waits, but we needed to be in the park at 1:00 to try again for a Virtual Queue for Tron, so we waited a bit for the PeopleMover again and managed to score a Virtual Queue right after we came out of Space Mountain.

Happily Ever After from Fantasyland

Virtual Queue acquired, we hopped over to EPCOT so I could get the Festival of the Arts Figment Popcorn Bucket. We went on a few rides and then took our first Skyliner ride back to Pop Century so we could drop off my popcorn bucket and rest a little before dinner. It felt like we were barely back in the room when it was time to head back to Magic Kingdom for dinner at Skipper Canteen, which is the best Table Service restaurant in Magic Kingdom, in my opinion. It was almost time for the fireworks, but we are not ones to stake out a fireworks spots hours in advance, so we rode a few more rides and then found a spot in Fantasyland, near the carousel for the show. Now, this was probably not the best spot to see Happily Ever After for the first time. You can’t see the projections on the castle at all. But, it was a really cool perspective with fireworks being shot off all around us.

Happily Ever After from FantasylandAfter the fireworks, the park really emptied out. We rode Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain before our Virtual Queue was called and we headed to Tron. Even though we had the virtual queue reservation, we waited about an hour for the ride and the ride itself was very short. Tron has an interesting ride vehicle which is kind of like if you were securely attached to a bicycle on a rollercoaster track. The launch has probably the most intense of all Disney Rollercoasters (possibly excluding Rock n Rollercoaster), but the track was incredibly smooth. All-in-all, I am glad we rode it, but I don’t know if it was worth the wait and I’m glad we didn’t pay for a Lightning Lane to ride it.

Afterward, we had time for one more attraction before the park closed and we practically ran to Jungle Cruise for the last boat of the night. I felt like we were riding with a bunch of Jungle Cruise nerds. It was one of the best Jungle Cruise experiences I have ever had. After we made it back, we stumbled exhausted to the bus stop for our ride back to Pop Century for a few hours of shut eye before another day of Disney craziness.

Overall, even with the crowds, we were able to do pretty much everything we wanted to in Magic Kingdom, with the exception of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which we hit later in the trip, and 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, which I wanted to ride again but after our experience in 2010, I will only ride with a short wait. Be sure to check back next week as we enjoy a rainy day at Epcot.

Thanks for stopping by! Check out our NEW Go See Do Explore Podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts. To read more about this trip, be sure to read our Long Weekend at Disney World Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Long Weekend at Disney World

Hanging with Walt at Dreamer's Point

Hanging with Walt at Dreamer’s Point

In 2021, we took a long weekend trip to Walt Disney World for the 5oth Anniversary of the Magic Kingdom. While it was crowded, we had a wonderful time. A few years had passed and some new attractions had opened up, so we decided it was time to head back to the most Magical Place on Earth. Because of my teacher’s schedule, we decided to visit during President’s Weekend. After booking our trip, I read several articles about how it is one of the busiest weekends of the year at the parks. I renewed my TouringPlans.com subscription and read all of the tips I could find to beat the crowds, but I figured it wouldn’t be as busy as it was for the 50th Anniversary.

On our last trip, we splurged to stay at Coronado Springs, a Moderate Resort, and we didn’t think it was worth the money for the way we visit Disney World, so this time we went back to the value resorts and stayed at Pop Century. There have been some updates since we last stayed at Pop almost 10 years ago. Now, there is the Skyliner, a gondola transportation system that takes guests from Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera Resort to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Since Epcot is my favorite park, we figured spending a little extra (over the All-Star Resorts, the other Disney Value Resorts) and staying on the Skyliner made sense.

Skyliner at Epcot

Skyliner at Epcot

Back in 2021, we only had three days in the parks, and we devoted one day to Magic Kingdom, one day to Epcot, and one day to Hollywood Studios. Since we had an extra day on this trip, we decided it was time to go back to Animal Kingdom. We also added on the Park Hopper this time so when we accomplished everything we wanted to at one park, we were able to leave and enter another park on the same day.

It had been a long time since I visited Disney World in February and the weather was much different from June or October. It was chilly (highs in the upper fifties, and low sixties) and it rained for two days straight. I am used to Florida’s afternoon showers, but this was something else. Everything was soaked. I am still recovering from walking two days in wet shoes (rookie mistake, I know).

Here is a preview of what is to come:

Day 1: Magic Kingdom

Day 2: Epcot

Day 3: Animal Kingdom

Day 4: Disney Hollywood Studios

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back in the next few weeks as I recount our days in each of the parks. Check out our NEW Go See Do Explore Podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Domes Beach

Domes Beach

Exploring Western Puerto Rico

The ocean from Faro de Punta Higüera lighthouse

During our time in Rincon, we spent a day exploring some of the sights on the Western side of the island. From Rincon to Aguadilla, and south to Guanica, there is a lot more to see in Puerto Rico than just the east side and San Juan area! The west side of the island is dotted with beaches, many of which are known the world over to surfers. They may not be safe for light swimming. Many visitors have drowned in Puerto Rico the last few years so be sure to follow the flags and posted warnings about beach conditions.

Faro de Punta Higüera lighthouseOur first stop was the Faro de Punta Higüera lighthouse. A lighthouse has been on this spot since 1892, illuminating the westernmost tip of the Isla de Encanta. The park at the lighthouse now is a beautiful spot with picnic tables along the Atlantic Ocean. Domes Beach, a popular surfing beach is located near the lighthouse. It was fun watching the surfers in the water waiting for the perfect wave. The beach gets its name from the decommissioned BONUS Nuclear Reactor on the shore. It definitely gives Domes Beach a different look from any other beach I’ve ever seen!

Crashboat Beach

Crashboat Beach

From the lighthouse, we headed North to Aguadilla. Aguadilla is home to one of the most well-known beaches on the island, Crashboat Beach. It had started to rain by the time we reached the beach, so there were only a few hearty souls around. After getting some sunshine, we headed inland to a local lechonera (pig roast) for lunch.

Guanica's Dry ForestR

From Aguadilla, we headed south to Guanica and its dry forest. Unlike the rainforest in the north of the island, the forest in Guanica gets much less rain so it looks totally different. Honestly, it reminded me of places we drove around in the Texas Hill Country. Picture cacti and low scrub bushes. Be aware, the main entrance to the forest is closed on Mondays. I did not see that anywhere online before we made the trek down there so we were unable to get into the park after the long drive.

Overall, it was a fun day driving around the island and exploring some of the highlights. We discovered traffic on the west side of the island moved pretty slow at times, so give yourself extra time if you have any set plans.

Thanks for stopping by! Check out our NEW Go See Do Explore Podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts. To read more about our time in Puerto Rico, check out my Circle Tour of the Island. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Plazuela de La Rogativa

Plazuela de La Rogativa

Touring Old San Juan

Old San Juan city wallsThe night before we left Vieques, we checked what time our rental car on the mainland had to be returned and realized that with the ferry ride and the drive back to the airport, we were cutting it very close. We tried to push our return time back, but the car was due to be rented out again shortly after we returned it. The ferry from Vieques ended up being delayed and we were worried the whole drive back to the airport. We ended up returning the car an hour and a half late. Luckily, they were very understanding and didn’t even charge us any extra. If you are visiting Puerto Rico and are looking for a reasonably priced car rental, check out AquiCoqui car sharing. It worked well for us!

We dropped off the car, but our time in Puerto Rico wasn’t over. We still had two days left to explore Old San Juan and that is not a city where you need a car to get around. We dropped off the rental car at the airport and took an Uber into the city.

To kill time until our Airbnb was ready, we hung out at Chocobar Cortés, a unique restaurant where every dish contains chocolate. We enjoyed it so much, we went back the next morning to try their breakfast! Chocolate Cortés has been making bean-to-bar chocolate since 1929. They opened their first restaurant in 2014 in Old San Juan and have since opened up additional restaurants in the Bronx and Condado. If you are looking for a unique restaurant in Old San Juan, I recommend you check it out, but beware that the wait can be long at times.

Even though this was our third time in Old San Juan, we wanted to get to know the city a little better so we took a Free Walking Tour. We discovered free walking tours in Europe and they are a great way to get to know the city without having to spend a lot of money on a tour. Just to be clear, free walking tours are not totally free. Participants are expected to tip what they think the tour was worth. Our guide took us around the city to places we had been before but we also got to see some new parts and we learned a lot about the history.

Interior of San Juan CathedralOne place we got to explore on the tour was the Cathedral of Old San Juan, the oldest cathedral in the United States. The original cathedral was built in 1521. That building was destroyed by a hurricane and was rebuilt beginning in 1535 but was not completed until 1802. The beautiful cathedral contains the tomb of the explorer and founder of San Juan, Juan Ponce de León.

After our tour, we took some time walking Paseo del Morro, which goes around Castillo del Morro. One interesting thing about this area is that it is home to a cat rescue called Save a Gato. We spent our time walking the path and photographing the cats for the rescue so they could find homes for the cats. The National Park Service recently announced a plan to try to remove the cats from fort grounds so Save a Gato can use all the help it can get. To learn more about the organization, visit Saveagato.org.

One of the cats of El Morro

Thanks for stopping by! Check out our NEW Go See Do Explore Podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts. To read more about our time in Puerto Rico, check out my Circle Tour of the Island. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay – Vieques

Photo by Kevin Wolf on Unsplash

Some of the links below are affiliate links and as such, I earn a small commission from purchases that allow me to continue telling you my stories without costing you anything extra. 

Mosquito Bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico is known as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. When we ironed out our plans for our recent trip to Puerto Rico, I made reservations for our kayaking tour to experience the bay right away. While we were getting ready to board the ferry to Vieques, Chris asked me when our tour was,  and I discovered that I booked our tour for the day after we arrived back on the Puerto Rican mainland. I quickly logged on to Viator to see if I could find another tour with availability. Luckily, I was able to find a tour with availability, but it wasn’t with the highly-rated tour company I had originally booked with.

We did a bioluminescent bay tour in Fajardo, in mainland Puerto Rico on our previous trip to the island. We enjoyed the evening paddle through the mangroves, but the bioluminescence experience was underwhelming. On that trip, we met our guide at a beach in Fajardo, we hopped in our kayaks and paddled into the bio-bay. In Vieques, the experience was a little different. Our guide picked us up in the town of Esperanza, crammed us into a rickety van, and drove without speaking to a pitch-dark parking lot where we stood in the mud waiting for someone to tell us what to do (remember, this was not one of the highly rated bio-bay tour companies).’

Eventually, a guide showed up and started directing us where to go. We ended up being the first in our group to get into a kayak. We sat down, paddled away from the shore, and immediately we saw the water light up. Our guide took us to the middle of the bay where we got time to explore this light-up water phenomenon on our own. We could see the fish, stingrays, and maybe even sharks swimming beneath us because the water glowed when they moved. It was an incredible experience, unlike anything I had ever seen before. Words and photos do not do it justice.

This bioluminescent bay is heavily protected because chemicals on our skins and in boat motors will kill the dinoflagellates that cause the water to glow. Swimming and gas-powered motors are not allowed in the bay. The only way to see it is by kaya with a licensed guide. The area is also protected from light pollution. There are not many streetlights near the bay and the ones that are nearby have red lights instead of white.

Overall, the transportation to the bay on our tour left something to be desired, but once we got out of the water, it was an unforgettable experience. It is a must-do if you are visiting Vieques, and if you are planning a longer stay on the Puerto Rican mainland, I recommend you plan a night in Vieques, just to see the bio bay. I recommend this highly-rated tour that we had originally booked on Viator, not the one we ended up on.

Thanks for stopping by! Check out our NEW Go See Do Explore Podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts. To read more about our time in Puerto Rico, check out my Circle Tour of the Island. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

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