Casa Roig is more than a museum, it is a glimpse into the life of a wealthy sugar plantation owner, an architectural first in the region, restoration in progress, as well as a lovely exhibit hall for local artists.
Sugar production shaped the Caribbean culture in many ways including wealth distribution and overall agriculture. Casa Roig is a unique Prairie House style architecture build by renowned Czechoslovakian architect Antonin Nechodoma in the Frank Lloyd Wright influenced style of building. This house was unique to the region and would appear modern, futuristic even compared to the local buildings at the time.
Located in the heart of Humacao, Puerto Rico, Museo Casa Roig is hidden on a small street. A street that I have hurriedly driven down, not noticing this delightful two story former plantation owner’s home now restored and converted into a museum and art gallery. Continue reading Casa Roig Museum→
The Humacao Natural Reserve is located on the East Coast of Puerto Rico near the community of Palmas del Mar. Behind the small unassuming entrance awaits big adventure exploring the lagoons, swamps, and wetlands. The walking and bike trails are well maintained throughout the reserve. Kayakers can enjoy the calm lagoon waters in a secluded section of the reserve. Fishing is a common sight from the bridges and docks. There are multiple floating docks along the lagoons for fishing and unobstructed views over the lagoon water. The majority of the natural reserve is shaded by the lush foliage making it a pleasant destination year round. Continue reading Humacao Natural Reserve→
Cayo Icacos is a small, uninhabited island approximately 1 mile wide and over 1 mile long located 3 miles off the northeast coast of Puerto Rico. There are no restaurants, no shopping centers or vendors, no electricity, and no facilities of any kind. The little island is just lush green foliage and perfect white sand beaches.
The best option to visit this tropical paradise is by boat. There is a water taxi service that departs just north of the El Conquistador resort in Las Croabas neighborhood of Fajardo, providing drop off and pick up service to Icacos as the least expensive option. A slightly more expensive option is the powered Catamaran sailboats that provide transportation, snorkel gear, shade, food & drinks, and (darn important) onboard bathrooms.
For us, the decision was easy – comfort and leisure on a Catamaran!
Puerto Rico is known for amazing beaches and a variety of rum drinks, including the famous Pina Colada. What about Art? Today, I set out to explore the art scene in Puerto Rico, starting with the capital of San Juan.
My first stop was the Centro de Bellas Artes de Puerto Rico. The building is surrounded by outdoor sculptures, murals, and paintings (FREE Activity). Early morning is the best time to visit, it is quiet, cool, and empty. I had the entire plaza to myself, with The Muses. These eight bronze female life-size sculptures are dedicated to the types of arts and culture found within the center; music, theater, literature, dance, films (my favorite pictured below), architecture, sculpture, and painting. Inside are three main concert and theater halls for plays, ballet, operas, symphony, concerts, and festivals. With a bit of planning, a performance here may be in my future.
Joined by Brenda from Traveleira, we ate a delicious brunch nearby, then walked to the Museo de Art de Puerto Rico, home to an eclectic assortment of local art. The docents (gallery workers) are polite, multilingual, knowledgeable, and passionate about the art. There are some beautiful, and thought provoking pieces which the docents are eager to discuss and admire with you. Paintings, sculpture, contemporary pop-art, modern art, impressionism, and more are represented in the gallery. With such a variety of styles, there are pieces that I immediately connected with and others that are not to my liking. The building itself is a simple design in a bright, whitewash surrounded by palm trees. The same air conditioners and humidifiers that protect the art, also are a cool refreshing break in the heat of the day. The cost of admission is very reasonable at $6 for an adult, with student, children, seniors, and other discounts. Continue reading Museum of Art Puerto Rico→
Here is my ultimate travel list of 7 destinations that everyone should visit in their lifetime.
Connect with family – Visit where your parents were born and raised. Learn how they grew up, listen to childhood stories, and get to know the experiences that shaped your parents lives. Look at the photos from their childhood and visit those locations to see how they have changed. Ask questions about achievements, struggles, silly stories, and the mundane daily tasks. Find the storyteller in your family, and just listen.
Research your ancestors and stroll through your homeland, as far back as you can discover. Learn your history and culture. Try the food. What is the national activity or sport? What traditions have carried over into your family? Watch for all of the faces that look like you. Find gravestones and landmarks with your family names (maternal and past generations). Walk through the living history of your ancestors past.
Seek out Adventure! Try something that gets your heart pounding. Adventure can be found in your backyard, just start somewhere.
Push beyond your comfort zone – Travel alone, visit a big city, stretch your physical limits, go beyond your usual activities. Now is the time to try something new, that scares you, just a little.
Visit Poverty and a place of hardship – Volunteer and contribute to improve an impoverished area or situation. Provide assistance after a natural disaster. Helping others and seeing how little some people live with will remind you how much you really have, and leave a better appreciation of how good your life is. Make the world a better place, by starting in your hometown and make this part of your life style.
Take a mini Luxury Vacation – Save up for an opulent getaway and indulge in a wildly extravagant trip. This will teach you the value of saving, waiting, and anticipation. Reward your discipline and discover the abundance available in exchange for hard work. Find the activity and location that will motivate you to set higher goals for achievement. Learn what your definition of “Success” looks like.
Find your Peace – Where is your Happy Place? Different for everybody, and never marked with an X on the map, your place of peace is the journey of discovering who you are. And for that precious moment, you will know, it is exactly where you are meant to be at the exact moment. Once you find it, finding your peace is easier each time.