This winter my hubby and our friends, Rachel and Eric, and I wanted to seek warmer temperatures and escape the mid-west so we decided to go to Puerto Rico. None of us had ever been to this island; therefore, we were very excited to embark on this adventure! Jointly, we decided that we were going to do equal parts of relaxing and exploring. At the beginning of the week, we chose the excursions which were of interest: visiting the rain forest, snorkeling, and seeing the bio-luminescent bay. Thankfully we were able to fit everything in!
Yokahu Kayak Trips: This is a family owned company which provides multiple tour options, out of all the options, we wanted to do Bio-Bay kayaking. We got in our kayak in Fajardo, crossed a canal inside the nature reserve, and kayaked through the mangroves where we ended up in the "Big Lagoon!" We chose the 6 pm trip which I believe is better than the later trip because you kayak through the mangroves to get to the bio-bay when it's daylight. The mangroves are really neat and you can see a lot of wildlife! We saw three foot long iguanas and jelly fish swimming by. It was super creepy kayaking back through the mangroves after we left the bay to go back to where the kayaks dock. It gives me chills just thinking about it! I'll admit that I'm scared of the dark so kayaking through a dark ocean full of mangrove trees with three foot long iguanas wasn't my thing which explains why I'd go on the earlier tour so you can at least get the daylight version on your first pass through. Once you get to the "Big Lagoon," you get to see the glittering water made by tiny bio-luminescent organisms called "pyrodiniums bahamenses." They produce blue-green light every time you touch or move the water with your kayak! Unfortunately, the bio-luminescent was low on our trip because the water had been a bit cold which makes the organisms somewhat dormant but it was totally worth the money for the tour! I would do this tour again and I consider it a must do while visiting Puerto Rico. If you choose Yokahu Kayak Trips, you are guided by professional experienced tour guides who provide you with lots of cool information and a great time!
El Yunque National Forest: The El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the national forest system. One morning, we visited and explored the rain forest where we enjoyed scenic views, waterfalls, and learned more about the ecological importance of conserving this area for the future. If you're visiting the rain forest, I would suggest you pay the $4 to go to the learning center first. There you will find a very friendly greeter that can tell you anything you need to know about the National Forest. You can also take a picture of the forest map which we found to be very helpful. Upon further inspection of the map, we planned to do two different adventures: the Ykahu Observation Tower and La Mina Falls. For the best panoramic views of the rain forest, the Ykahu Tower is a must do! Visitors climb to the top of the tower via a spiral stair case and are able to take in the scenery. Because the ocean, nearby towns, and the beautiful landscape of the rain forest can be seen from this vantage point, this is a great place for a photo opportunity. The climb to the top wasn't too bad, about 100 stairs in all. After your tower experience, you'll drive a short distance up the road to park before hiking to La Mina Falls. I would recommend taking the La Mina trail to the waterfall. The trail is about a mile long and is extremely beautiful. I'd rate the trail difficulty as moderate; there are a few steep places so you'll want to make sure your knees are in good working order! The hike to the waterfall is so worth it! The water cascades over a cliff into a crystal clear pool where I saw a few people swimming but I opted to just put my feet in as the water is chilly! If you want to swim in the water, just remember you'll be hiking back wet as there are no changing rooms. Not an ideal situation, I'll admit. If you choose to go to the rain forest there is plenty to do whether you go for an entire day or just a few short hours. There is no entrance fee for the national forest, only the visitor's center charges a fee.
East Island Excursions: East Island Excursions provides all day snorkel tours aboard its fleet of catamarans. You can visit a variety of islands and deserted cays off the east coast of Puerto Rico including Icacos, Palominitos, Culebra, Culebrita, Vieques, and St. Thomas, USVI. Our group selected the Icacos tour simply because it was the most cost friendly and you got the most time off the boat with this tour because of the proximity of this island to port. You'll depart at Puerto Del Rey Marina around 10 am and set sail for the small deserted island of Icacos. You can snorkel here, walk on the beach, swim in the crystal clear water, or enjoy your time aboard the boat. The snorkeling off Icacos is more for beginners as there isn't much to see but the water is calm and allows you to practice. I enjoyed relaxing on the boat as well as walking on the beach for this part of the trip. Lunch is served around noon and you don't want to miss this spread! The crew lays out local pastries, you can build your own sandwiches, and you'll also have fresh fruit and pasta salad! You're going to be hungry after your time in the sun and their lunch does not disappoint. After lunch, the catamaran moves off the island to a nearby reef area for more snorkeling. The fish in this area seem to be trained; they know the boats pulling up will have food and the day that we went, the fish weren't disappointed! The crew has to toss out the remainder of the lunch and the fish love it! The crew gave everyone a piece of bread and we were able to get in the water and the fish ate right out of our hands! It was a really cool experience and my favorite thing about the day! The reef at this stop is better than the first but it's very shallow here so beginner snorkelers/swimmers beware. Overall, the crew is very professional and you can't beat the bright blue water! At one point during the trip, we could see where the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean met, that was so cool! I would definitely do another excursion with East Island!
I hope you found these reviews helpful. Have you ever done these excursions and had a different experience? Are you going to Puerto Rico soon and have additional questions?! Comment below!
Last week, Andrew and I were invited to a private magic show in Omaha to promote Nate Staniforth's "Real Magic Tour." Honestly, we weren't sure what to expect, we'd seen the videos and heard about the guy but come on, a real magician? Don't get me wrong, I love magic shows, but this magic show... this magic show... it seriously amazed me!
Nate, who is from the great mid-west, is an American-based magician. His credits include performing all over the world and hosting "Breaking Magic" on the Discovery Channel.
Y'all he's the real deal. If you can be a real magician which, before the show I was questioning; however, after seeing Nate perform, I'm thinking maybe he seriously is magic?! I know, I know, probably not but he's the closest thing to it that you'll ever see. Nate's performance is jaw-dropping and it left me thinking, did that really just happen?!
I don't want to give anything away about his performances because you really need to attend a live show and make up your own mind! But allow me to tell you about one magic trick that I actually got to be a part of. At the beginning of the show, Nate asked for two volunteers and no one really moved; I'm not sure if people were scared or they just weren't sure what to think. I raised my hand and so did another curious soul, named Ryan. I wanted to be involved mainly so I could be close to the action to scrutinize the magic trick. Ryan and I went up on stage and Nate had each of us pick a card out of a deck of cards. Nate had me stand on one end of the stage and the guy, Ryan, stand on the other end. Nate walked over to me and handed me a Sharpi with which I signed the card I drew (3 of Spades). He then folded my card four times and placed it in my hand. Nate walked over to Ryan and did the exact same thing; he drew a King of Diamonds. It's important to know that Nate never came back over to me so as far as I knew I had my signed 3 of Spaces in my hand. From across the stage he requested that I hold out my hand and close my eyes, concentrate on the card to feel it change, then open my eyes and look at my card. Someway, somehow, I had Ryan's signed King of Diamonds in my hand and Ryan had my 3 of Spades!!! Like, WOAH! For the next 90 minutes, I sat in the audience and watched in awe as Nate performed more and more astonishing magic tricks. Ladies and gentleman, if Nate Staniforth comes to a town near you, you must go see his show! It was one of the coolest experiences ever and I was so grateful to be invited and even more thankful to be a part of the show!
Here is the link to his tour: Real Magic Tour
I'm still trying to figure out how the 3 of Spades wasn't in my hand....
A southern girl living in the Mid-West. My husband and I love to travel and go on new adventures--We love Jesus and the blessings He provides!