Winter in Puerto Rico (2)

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.

Sun sets over San Cristobal Castle

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.

View over San Juan

View over San Juan

DSC_0604 (2)

On the corridor outside the officers’ quarters

In the back you can see El Morro and, on the shore of the Atlantic the neighbourhood called "La Perla"

In the back you can see El Morro and, on the shore of the Atlantic, the neighborhood called “La Perla”

It looks as if the hurricane is approaching, but it's only "regular rain" over the Atlantic for the locals

It looks as if the hurricane is approaching, but it’s only “regular rain” over the Atlantic for the locals

Rains here are short and heavy and the sun is back quickly, giving birth to spectacular rainbows

Rains here are short and heavy and the sun is back quickly, giving birth to spectacular rainbows

The Puerto Rican parrot

The Puerto Rican parrot

View over the coast

View over the coast

A perfect place for meditation

A perfect place for meditation

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

Cabo Rojo, the place where the Carrabean Sea and the Atlantic meet

Sunset over the Carrabean Sea

Sunset over the Carrabean Sea

Los Morrillos Lighthouse, better known as simply "El Faro" by the locals

Los Morrillos Lighthouse, better known as “El Faro” by the locals

DSC_0123 (2)The region is popular not only thanks to its beautiful beaches, but also for its natural resources. Since the Spanish conquered the island, salt mining became an important industry here.

A region rich in salt

A region rich in salt

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.

Foam of salt in front of the salt-flats

Foam of salt in front of the salt-flats

The red salt-flats

The red salt-flats

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.

Renier enjoying the beach

Renier enjoying the beach

The colors of the sky get gorgeous at sunset

The color of the sky gets gorgeous at sunset

DSC_0312 (2)

The beach in front of our resort in Cabo Rojo

Playa Combate in Cabo Rojo

Playa Combate in Cabo Rojo

Missing the snow? Snowmen look better as "sandmen"

Missing the snow? Snowmen look better as “sandmen”

Playa Buye

Playa Buye

Playing blitz in Fajardo, a small municipality located in the east region of the island

Playing blitz in Fajardo, a small municipality located in the east region of the island

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.

Casa del Ajedrez in Caguas, Puerto Rico

Casa del Ajedrez in Caguas, Puerto Rico

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.

Collage

Inside Casa del Ajedrez

The library

The library

Training

Training in Casa del Ajedrez

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.

Busted: a tiny coqui, the Puerto Rican singing frog

Busted: a tiny coqui, the Puerto Rican frog that “sings”

Playing chess and having a good time

Playing chess and having a good time

Stay close, we’ll be back soon with more chess-related news from Puerto Rico!

DSC_084011

@ThinkingSquares

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply