Written by (WIM) Raluca Sgircea and (IM) Renier Castellanos
Our stay in Puerto Rico is almost coming to an end and it will soon be time to face the European cold. Until then, we will try to make the most of the days left here. As tourists, we didn’t miss the chance to visit San Juan and we already told you in our previous post a few things about the history of the city and El Morro, one of the most important historical monuments here. Another important site is Castillo San Cristobal, a fort that was built by the Spanish with the same purpose as El Morro, defense. This time, however, we are talking about protection against land based attacks on the city.
The fortress is built on a hill and it was initially the largest fortification established by the Spanish. Later on, after peace settled over the area, about a third of the building was demolished in order to ease the traffic in and out of the city.
Puerto Rico is famous for its amazing beaches with white sand and clear water, so we couldn’t miss the chance to see them. We started in Cabo Rojo, a municipality situated on the southwest coast of the island.
Cabo Rojo literally translates to Red Cape in English and got its name from the reddish color that characterizes the area. It’s not just the seaside cliffs; what strikes you first when you get here is the color of the salt-flats, that look almost red in the sun.
With such a beautiful scenery, you can imagine that beaches are no less attractive. “Playa Sucia” (dirty beach in translation) is one of the most famous. Don’t let the name fool you, the water here is crystal clear and the views from here spectacular.
Our experience here has been great so far and we are happy to see the popularity chess has gained on this small island. To start with, the chess players here enjoy a house of chess (Casa del Ajedrez), a project founded by Rafael Ortiz.
The place hosts two big playing halls, a few other small ones, a cafe and a library full of chess books and manuals and collection chess games. Of course, all decorations are chess-themed.
We spent the new year in company of friends and started it off right – playing chess in a small friendly tournament against some of the strongest players of Puerto Rico.
Stay close, we’ll be back soon with more chess-related news from Puerto Rico!