San Juan, Puerto Rico was our first landfall after two days at sea. On the way to the harbor we passed Fort San Cristóbal. The water had taken on a beautiful caribbean blue color.

We had booked a tour of the Bacardi rum factory, but we were informed that the factory was closed for the holiday, Mother's day. Instead we took a bus tour of the island that picked us up at the dock. After a short drive we arrived at the fort and we had a self guided romp around the fortifications.

Maggie posed in front of one of the thick walls, built to stop cannon balls shot from pirate ships.

The view of the ocean was gorgeous, and the weather stayed in the 80s with fluffy clouds during the entire cruise. There was always a breeze carrying off the humidity.

The rest of the tour was up and down the hills of San Juan, seeing the homes, mansions and hotels. Our tour guides, Enrique and Ricardo (Rick & Ricky) filled us in on the history and life styles of the citizens.

That evening we took the camera up on the top deck of the ship for a shot of San Juan at night. That 's bumper to bumper traffic you see on the streets. Everyone comes into the city to celebrate Mother's day, and the restaurants are packed.

seaturtle

Our sea turtle.

The ship sailed through the night and arrived at St. Thomas the next morning. Another bus tour took us up into the mountains where we stopped at a mansion formerly owned by Johnson & Johnson. It was now privately owned and on the tour schedule. This was one of the sitting rooms.

The bus ride ended at Black beard's castle, a site dedicated to the Pirates of the Caribbean. After a tour of the rum distillery and taste testing (we bought six bottles), Maggie attempted to capture my image in front of the captain. It looks like we were rolling to port.

All around the grounds were statues of pirates, including Captain Hook, Jack Sparrow and Anne Bonny.

Our ship was docked behind the Carnival ship Victory that we followed to a couple of harbors.

elephant

Elephant

At the end of Black beard's tour we were directed down a dark corridor. Suddenly the lights came on and we saw a movement to our right, as a T-Rex sprang out of the bushes with his jaws open! This was the entrance to the amber museum, where we saw many different types of amber both clear and with imbedded insects. They had a jewelry section filled with samples mounted as earrings, pendants and necklaces.

We purchased a few items to bring home, including a necklace for Maggie.

At the rear entrance they had constructed a waterfall two stories tall covered with amber.

After the museum we ate at a small delicatessen, then walked over to the shopping district. There were many stores selling all types of gems and very low prices. We found a place that worked directly with a diamond mine and purchased some more gifts.

Caribbean Cruise 2011

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San Juan

fort with Maggie

fort

San Juan night

J&J house

Blackbeard

harbor

Trex

amber

amber wall