Jennifer goes to St. Maarten

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View of the French side of St. Maarten

Before the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, I stopped at St. Maarten on my cruise. My family went on an island tour so we could see both the French and Dutch sides. It was beautiful.

St. Maarten is primarily known for its beautiful beaches. While we took advantage of the beach after our island tour, we also walked around Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side. Philipsburg has plenty of shops and restaurants on Front Street.

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View of the Boardwalk in Philipsburg

On the beach, jet skis are available for rent, as are beach chairs. Snorkeling excursions are available, but I saw a lot of people snorkeling right from the beach.

We rented a couple of chairs and an umbrella, and completely enjoyed a couple of hours on the beach. It was the most relaxing time we had on our whole trip.

I’ve heard that at least one cruise line plans to add St. Maarten to its itineraries again in November. This is great news for an island that heavily relies on tourism. If you are looking for a beautiful place to sit back and relax, I can’t think of a better place than St. Maarten.

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The beach in Philipsburg

 

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Jennifer goes to San Juan

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Me at Cueva Ventana

With Puerto Rico on the verge of a humanitarian crisis, I had debated whether I should still write about my time in San Juan. In the end, I decided that I wanted to show everyone how beautiful it was before it was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

This was my second time in San Juan. Previously, we went to Castillo de San Cristóbal and walked around Old San Juan. This time, my family wanted to do something different and a little more adventurous. Until I was handed a hard hat, I didn’t realize how adventurous we were being. We decided to go to Cueva Ventana (Window Cave).

I expected Cueva Ventana to be like Luray Caverns. It wasn’t. I put on my hard hat and climbed down into dark caves. It was slippery because it had rained the day before. There were no railings or stairs. In the first cave, only our guide had a flashlight. We had to be careful not to disturb the bats and we saw a boa constrictor hanging at the opening of the cave.

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View from Cueva Ventana

I was glad when I got through that cave and thought I was done until we hiked to the next one, which was a bit of a climb down. I was handed a flashlight for this cave, but I had to make sure to keep it pointed at the cave floor. Apparently, this cave is home to vicious bats and if they are disturbed, they will attack.

Once I got to the end of the cave, I understood why it was called Cueva Ventana. It opened up to a beautiful valley below with a river. Though the experience was not what I expected, the view was well worth it.

I’m glad I didn’t know what this excursion entailed before we went because I might not have done it. It is out of my comfort zone and I’m proud of myself for going through with it.

After Cueva Ventana, we had time to walk around Old San Juan before returning to the ship.  Old San Juan was beautiful before the hurricane with its bright colors and cobblestone streets. I hope it makes a fast recovery because it has so much to offer, including restaurants and museums that are all within walking distance.

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Park in Old San Juan

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Cobblestone street in Old San Juan

 

 

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