Ben and I rose early in our precious hotel in Ponce and set out to explore the city. We walked across town to the Art Museum only to find out that it was closed that day. It was so sad! So, instead we headed to the Museum of Ponce History and had a tour around there. Unfortunately, I found myself once again learning about my country invading another and slaughtering its people. Many people were killed in Ponce by the invading Americans. Culture genocide was attempted but thankfully, the Puerto Ricans held out and have still preserved a lot of their original culture. For a lighter experience, we went to the city’s center square and had more coconut icecream from a shop that is supposed to be the best on the island. Unfortunately, I have not tried every icecream shop (still working on that one) but damn if it wasn’t amazing.
Then we decided to head west towards the Guanica Desert Forest. Many people picture all of Puerto Rico as a wet, tropical island paradise, though on the southwest corner there is a desert area complete with catus and everything. We did a short hike and explored.
The area is known to be a haven for birds and we saw quite a few amazing little green ones with a red spot on their chest. They were so cute and followed us around! The photo is blurry but you get the idea and can see the little guy at the top of the photo.
We left the forest and headed west once again to San German, home of one of the oldest churches in the Western Hemisphere, Porta Coeli (pictured below). The town looks like something from the movies and is quiet and quaint.
I loved the way these buildings looked in the square.
We asked the church's security guard to take our photo and got to chatting with him about the rest of our plans, which were nonexistent. He mentioned that we should drive to La Parguera, a fishing village about 30 minutes south. It is known for having one of the three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico.
We arrived as the sun was setting and started asking around for people who knew about going to the bay. We found a funny little company called “Johnny’s Boats” with a little Puerto Rican man running it. For $7, we loaded into a small boat in the dark and set off into open ocean. The air smelled like salt and the wind was warm. We entered mangrove coves and after a few turns the boat stopped and we were allowed to jump off into the black ocean water. Ben and I dove in and were instantly in awe. As we swam, every motion or bodies made caused the water to glow the most beautiful blue. Our motions looked like something from a dream and as we swam around and giggled we glowed like aliens in the water. The closer we looked at the water while sloshing our hands around, we could see tiny little glowing specks, like stars, all around our bodies. Little galaxies followed us around and lit up the water.
It was breathtaking and yet another one of those moments where words cannot describe the magic of this planet we are so lucky to be floating around on.