Up next: Florida for a little over a week, which was a welcomed break from one another, as well as general decompression from our constant on the move style of rugged travel. My friend went off with his aunt to Disneyworld and I went to the cool white sandy beaches of Sarasota with an old friend to soak up and become reacquainted with American lifestyle. I didn’t take 1 picture of this part of the trip so my word must suffice. Anyways before we knew it and probably sooner than it should have been we were teamed up once again and on a short flight bound for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico was the furthest from what we had become used to. It was more of a ghetto America with similar food prices and average beaches compared to Costa Rica. The food costs were the most surprising thing we weren’t ready for at that point, since it was basically the last stop of our trip and we were soon to hit the ceiling on the budget we had allotted ourselves. Another thing that caught us off guard was the awful transportation system. There were local buses in Old San Juan, but it was an ordeal to find buses to go from town to town, all we were able to track down was a shuttle van to Rincon. We stayed in Old San Juan for a couple days at some overpriced hotel then quickly decided to hop on that shuttle.
Our first few evenings were spent camping on the beach, but soon after a bartender informed us that was unsafe due to Haitians who set out by boat and storm the beaches late at night to sneak into the country. They rob whomever they come across along the way and 2 sleeping gringos are ideal targets. Even though we always slept with a machete between us in case of an event such as this, our tent no longer zipped up properly and I believe we were making due with a few safety pins so it was possible and easier for someone to get the jump on us.
The next day we walked around and found out about a hostel that was up an unholy hell of a hill and that is where we laid our heads for the majority of the rest of our trip. We work traded at the hostel to cut back on costs, but the owner was not the friendliest fellow so it had its up and downs.
Luckily the clientele was a fun rotating group and there was a crew of New Yorkers who were flush with cash that would take us to the bar with them and get us drunk in the evenings to add to their entertainment factor. Rincon was actually a very nice beach with some really good waves and generally friendly people, but still far too Americanized than we were hoping for. This was also the very first place I hitchhiked multiple times for when we would go to and from the local store for food every few days.
We finally jumped back on the shuttle bus and were safely returned to Old San Juan. I think we spent another night in the same hotel we had when we first arrived and then enjoyed our last evening sleeping in the airport (if I remember correctly in our janky tent that we set up against a wall) because we had a far too early flight to California. This would pretty much be the end of our comradery, we went separate ways permanently once we landed, so I guess the lesson and tip there would be don’t spend 3 continuous and intense mind opening months with someone without a series of breaks after the first handful of issues between you start to arise.