Ok, so first of all I have to say that I live on a beautiful island and I feel so blessed to live here. I definitely want to enjoy everything this little island has to offer while I can! I’m always surprise when I talk to people who have lived their whole lives here in Puerto Rico and have never really explored the beauties Puerto Rico has to offer. Things as simple as going to “El Yunque” or the Caverns in Camuy, or the beautiful beaches in Culebra & Vieques and even on the main island. I’m blessed that I have a group of friends who love to explore and we have gone to so many places around the island. So I’ll be sharing a couple of places in Puerto Rico that you may or may not have visited before, and if you haven’t then you must!
I’ll start we my most rencent trip around the island, about a week ago. Now, I’m from the metro area in the north of Puerto Rico, very close to San Juan. That means that driving to the south of the island is an all-day trip if you want to enjoy and make the most of your time. Last week a couple of friends visited from the states and I decided to take them to one of my favorite beaches (I can’t pick just one- there are lots of beautiful ones that I love for different reasons) “Cayo Aurora” better known to the locals as Gilligan’s Island.
Gilligan’s Island is a beautiful hidden (ok, maybe not so hidden!) jewel of the south of Puerto Rico located in Guanica which is past the main city of Ponce. Driving to Guanica is fairly easy, a straight shot. It’s about a 2 hour to two and a half hour drive depending on traffic. I would suggest leaving early to beat the San Juan traffic and come back late in the evening so you don’t run into too much traffic. Gilligan’s Island is not on “main land” Puerto Rico, it’s off the coast of Guanica, about a 10-15 minute boat ride. It is a small island, and the flow of people allowed is monitored. That means that if you’re planning on going on a weekend, you better get there early if you want to be allowed to go on the island!! Your best bet is to go on a weekday, that is not a holiday. I assure you, you’ll have a much better and pleasant experience if you avoid going on weekends and holidays!! Something to note is that they’re closed on Mondays (except holidays), but if you can find a local fisherman to take you across to the little island you could still go. The boat ride costs less than $10, and the first boat leaves at 9:00 a.m. They offer lunch for sale that you can pre-order and pay before going to the island and they will deliver it to you for lunch around noon or so. This is pretty cool, given that on the actual island there’s nothing, and I mean NOTHING for you to buy food or snacks. All you will find on the island are a few gazebos (very few!!) with some BBQ pits and some bathrooms (that I would avoid at all cost! Bring your own toilet paper if you must use!). They will also charge you extra if you bring anything other than a backpack! I would suggest getting a type of lunch box that keeps things cool to bring some water or sodas and pack sandwiches and chips in your bag. That’s what I do! 🙂
One of the main characteristics of Gilligan’s Island are the “Manglers.” It has two channels divided by manglers where you can swim to. Now I must warn you, the current is very strong and you will be swimming against it if you want to get to some good snorkeling areas! I would suggest you bring your fins, and stay close to the manglers (don’t swim in the middle of the channel) as you can pull yourself with the mangler’s roots to help you get to the other side. For those of you who are not strong swimmers, or not into snorkeling, you can still chill by the water, it’s not too deep and the water is so clear that you’ll still get to see some fishes around without any mask!
What I love about this little island is the beautiful clear blue waters and white sand, I also love the manglers, it gives it personality!
A couple other things you should be aware of is that the last boat ride is at 5:00 p.m. and you must be in the dock before that time. If you want to avoid getting “run over” by people, or pushing and shoving take an earlier boat ride back! Trust me, you don’t want to deal with rude people all trying to get on the boat ride even if they got to the dock much later than you! Also, the food where you take the ferry from is actually pretty good, and fairly affordable. Their “pastelillos” (a type of fried turnover filled with different things) with beef and chicken are a good snack before you head out and stop to eat somewhere!
Gilligan’s Island is definitely one of the places you must visit while in Puerto Rico. Make plans to stay the day, enjoy the sun, and beautiful waters! Don’t forget your sunscreen!! 😉
Now go out there and have a blast! Be blessed!