Puerto Rico Weekend Getaway

So after going to Puerto Rico last week for work, I decided to return for a fun-only trip with Kaitlin.  I took a few hours off of work, and we caught the JetBlue flight out of MCO to SJU.  Upon arrival at the airport, we took the shuttle to Hertz, where we had a rental car waiting.  One thing we didn’t expect, is that Google maps would not do turn by turn directions,  so finding our way to the resort was a nightmare.  After nearly two hours of struggling, we finally made it to the Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort and Casino, which I highly recommend for the money.

The next morning we woke up semi early and headed towards El Yunque Rainforest, a US National Park which was amazing.  We drove along the main road, and finally parked to hike to the Peak.  During the hike, it started to rain after not having seen a single cloud in the sky!  By the time we got to the Peak, we were drenched, but the rain had backed off.  After about 30 minutes of enjoying the view, things quickly changed and it was yet again flooding.


After a nap back at the hotel, we decided to go kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay.  To get there, you rent kayaks on a guided tour through a marsh covered lagoon, kayaking in the dark and using glow sticks to keep from hitting each other.  Once you’re in the bay, it’s very dark with surprisingly little light pollution compared to the rest of the island.  Every time you paddle, the bay lights up around the disturbed water and gives off a blue glow, one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while!

Orlando Wetlands Park

Today Sam and I decided to head out to Orlando Wetlands Park in Christmas, FL.  Sam had recently gone there with a friend, and despite how close it is to UCF, I hadn’t been there in my 4 years here because I had never heard of this place.  It’s actually a clever system designed to treat waste water by the city of Orlando, by using natural plants to absorb the pollutants.  While wildlife isn’t terribly abundant, you can find several gators as well as a variety of birds.  In the next few days, I’ll try to post the brochure map and highlight the route we took.

If you’d like more information on the wetlands park, click here to see 2 informational videos produced by the city of Orlando.

Oleno State Park aka River Rise State Park

Got off work a few minutes early and decided to use whatever daylight was left to go for a quick hike in Oleno State Park with Whitney.  We took the suspension bridge across the river and hiked the obvious trail (not sure if it has a name).  After walking about 1/4 mile beside the river, we encountered several deer having their afternoon meal.  Each time I head to Oleno, I see deer, but with the brush, it’s often hard to get a decent shot at one, always sticks and trees in the way.

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