Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico

Most of my travel is related to my academic pursuits, i.e., research and conferences. But last week, thanks to the kindness and generosity of some friends, I had the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico for fun. And it was FUN (I did end up working on a fellowship application while I was there, but really, the entire trip was great fun). I flew in to San Juan and met up with the group on Monday, and on Tuesday, we trekked over to Farjado to take the ferry over to Vieques where we spent the rest of the week.

Vieques has a reputation for being not super tourist-y and has some beautiful beaches and (apparently) great snorkeling (I didn’t check that out), but the highlight of the trip was by far the bioluminescent bay, also called Mosquito Bay or the Biobay. This is basically a body of water that lights up when disturbed or moved, and the luminescence comes from micro-organisms in the water. We kayaked across the bay as the sun had just set, and it was quite amazing to see the water begin to light up as we paddled. I didn’t take my phone/camera out in the kayak with us (for obvious reasons), but I’m pretty sure photos would not do it justice anyway. If you make it to Vieques, check it out. It’s worth every penny (and every bug bite; “Mosquito Bay” isn’t a metaphor).

When traveling to a new place, I really like to take official tours. Yes, I’m one of those people that thinks it’s worth the price to get a nice overview of the place, and find out fun, random information. So, of course, I took a tour of Vieques. Likely the least official official tour I’ve ever taken, it was me and two other folks riding around the island in a Jeep with a guide. It was informal, but really interesting and informative, and I found out all kinds of history about the island, the (former) US Navy presence, and got to see all of the island.

I had such a great time on this trip, and I really enjoyed Vieques. I’m so grateful for the friends who let me be a part, and I really hope to make it back to Puerto Rico some time in the not-so-distant future!

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