First stop, San Juan. We took a cruise leaving out of San Juan so step one was getting to San Juan which was uneventful, my fav type of travel. We thought we'd drop our stuff at the boat and then hang out in Old San Juan but the boat didn't dock at the main port and instead was closer to the airport so no hanging out prior. Instead we wandered around the boat, getting our bearings. Pretty lowkey day.
Day 2, St. Maarten
Yes, that is a plane landing directly behind the beach, to the point where people's hats and whatnot are being blown off*. The bar next to the beach has a board with all of the flight times, so you know when the big planes are coming. It used to be people would hold onto the fence around the airport when a plane was taking off, but they have put extra precautions in place since I was there last time to keep people from doing that. You'd think a JET ENGINE TO THE FACE would be enough of a deterrent to keep people from doing that, but it is not. I don't know why, cos again, even if everything goes exactly as you planned, you end up with a JET ENGINE TO THE FACE. Stop it people.
Day 3, day at sea
Not too much to share here. We spent the day at sea, which are pretty great cos they are super relaxing and you can sleep in. Or you can be SUPER PRODUCTIVE (at least early on with your cruise) and go to the gym and whatnot.
Day 4, Bonaire
The first of the ABC islands (made up of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) we visited, next stop was Bonaire. Most of the excursions for Caribbean ports are snorkeling or diving related. I do neither of those things, but we found stuff. In this case we took a tour on this boat that had not a glass bottom but a whole glass submarine type thing at the bottom so we could sail along the reef and see fish and turtles and whatnot. Then we did anchor and there was the option to snorkel. Or you could do as Tom and I did and just swim in the water, which was super tiring because currents and winds but very fun. And they gave us rum punch when we got back on the boat. A fellow tourer only wanted a very small splash of rum, so I graciously offered to take what rum she did not want and the guide did not disappoint. So it was a fun trip back.
Day 5, Aruba
We decided we had too many relaxing days, riding in bikes and swimming in the sea and thought we'd try a mountain bike tour. Through the desert. However, the cruise line didn't have a bike tour so we found one ourselves. It was a little creepy at first, since the instructions to meet up were "Go to gas station across from dock, get in van." But don't worry, there was no kidnapping. There were however only 2 other people doing the mountain biking tour and they were WAY more into it than us. Like the guy brought his own bike pump (why???) into it. They also talked about how they had a jeep back home and how it's not a car, it's really a lifestyle. The guide did a good job of giving them hard trails to try while Tom and I stuck to the easier ones, though easy here is relative because I kinda wanted to die by the end. Mostly because I never fully appreciated how uncomfortable bike seats could be until I rode one over rough terrain for 12 miles. But overall it was beautiful and super glad we did it. Even if it meant that we spent the rest of the day recovering next to the pool.
Day 6, Curaçao
After our day in Aruba, I was very happy we decided to keep things easy in Curaçao. A bus tour (I was afraid at first we went with a hike but phew) that included a stop at a distillery and a beach. Everything was beautiful, the beach was relaxing, the distillery gave out samples, all was good. We then walked around town a bit (did you know the whole town has wifi? That was cool, especially since I wasn't going to be paying the $13/day to get internet on the boat), I got a mortar & pestle for making mofongo. Good times.
Day 7, back on the boat
Last day on the boat before heading back to San Juan. It was a sad day but we made the most of it by eating all the food and sitting by the pool and playing things like Michael Jackson trivia.
Days 8 & 9, San Juan
Vacation not over yet! We included a couple extra days after the cruise to hang out in San Juan. I've been a couple times, but only as part of cruises. Tom used to go every year growing up but hadn't been back for awhile because work gets in the way. A family friend picked us up from the dock and we headed to El Yunque Rainforest which was SO BEAUTIFUL despite the rain. Rain in the rainforest, who knew. Then we went to this restaurant La Parilla and ate roughly ALL THE FOOD. We started simply enough, with some tostones stuffed with lobster and a sampler plate. Then we decided we should just split a lobster instead of everyone getting their own plate. I got up to go to the bathroom and when I came back the waiter was holding up a huge lobster (turned out to be over 5lbs) which they proceeded to grill and then stuff with another 2lbs of seafood. ALSO it came with sides like rice & beans, salad, more tostones, and these other plantain things that I can't remember the name of but it's fried plantains that were extra crispy so can't be bad.
We then checked into our hotel and just out around there (it has a pool, a bunch of restaurants and shops, beach access), finally sleeping in a bed that did not feel like a wooden plank. The next morning we went to the beach and then the pool before heading into Old San Juan to visit Castillo San Cristóbal (since we have been to visit the other fort, El Morro, every other time we've visited), which was beautiful, aaaaaaand to get MOFONGO (fried plantains or yuca, mashed with garlic and chicharron, and topped with something like seafood or steak) which was delicious. Then we wandered around town some more before heading back to the hotel. Also while I managed to avoid sunburn the rest of the trip, this day was my downfall and despite 100+ SPF, my shoulders and arms took a beating so I mostly wanted to lay around with cool clothes draped over my burns. Also it was nap time because we had to leave for the airport around 1am so there would be no sleeping later.
And now I'm home, writing this and wishing I was back on the beach (sunburn be damned). But instead I suppose I should get to catching up on blogging instead (hard life, I know).
*Also hey look, I made a gif. Though I guess Tom should get most of the credit since he took the video. And most of the pictures. But I googled gif converters. So. Yeah.