Fajardo, Puerto Rico


After departing the Dominican Republic, we spent a day crossing the Mona Passage, which is notorious for rough seas and thunderstorms. Fortunately, the weather wasn’t too bad. 
The northern coast of Puerto Rico was a much different story. We spent what seemed like an eternity beating into 8-foot waves before finally arriving in Fajardo.

Arriving in Puerto Del Rey Marina

We had visited Puerto Rico several times by plane during the past decade. Most recently, we spent two weeks exploring the island in a rental car in 2018. During that trip we had wandered into Puerto Del Rey Marina to eat at one of the restaurants and admire the 1,000 plus yachts docked in the Caribbean’s largest marina. That experience planted the seed that eventually grew into the crazy lifestyle we now live!

It was good to be back. The marina looked just like we remembered it. There were several delicious restaurants, a cafe, a well-stocked chandlery, a small grocery store, and a car rental service – all right within the marina. 


Walking (Eating) Around Cieba

The nearby town of Ceiba was just a couple kilometers away, so we walked there several times during our first week in the marina. Along the way were many fruit stands. We tried stinking-toe fruit, which believe it or not, none of us enjoyed. We had a delicious drink made of fermented tree bark called maví. There were several small restaurants and street food stands, where we ate pinchos (grilled chicken/pork skewers), empanadas, and mofongo relleno (mashed green plantains stuffed with meat or seafood). There was also a nice little cafe called Cafeto 144, where we enjoyed drinks and live music. 

Fajardo and Luquillo

After a few days, we decided to rent a car to visit a few of our favorite places in Eastern Puerto Rico.
We drove to one of our favorite stops, a huge row of roadside stands called Kioskos de Luquillo, but they were really busy, so we ended up at Panderri Bakery & Restaurant for a delicious lunch and even better coffee.

In Fajardo, we visited a few familiar stores like Home Depot and Walmart. We were excited to find a well-stocked West Marine, where we bought boat parts and supplies.

Pork Highway and Costco

Before leaving mainland Puerto Rico, we decided to return to one of our favorite places on the island, La Ruta del Lechón (The Pork Highway). It’s a mile-long stretch of road in the mountains of Cayey that is littered with small restaurants cooking and serving whole, roasted pigs.

If you think you’ve tried a roast pig before, think again. Puerto Rican Lechón is made by roasting a young pig that has been marinated for days in garlic, lime, oil, and spices over hot coals until the skin crisps up like bacon and the meat falls off the bone. The restaurants serve the pork right off the spit with the help of a machete. Yucca, tamales, blood sausage, rice, and other sides are available too.

While all the restaurants are worth trying, our favorite is El Rancho Original. After buying your pork, you can enjoy it behind the restaurant in one of the gazebos next to a beautiful mountain stream. It’s best to get there around noon while the pork is hot off the spit. 

After eating about ten pounds of pork between the five of us, we spent the rest of the day at Costco in Caguas provisioning for our upcoming trip to Culebra. 

A Close Call While Departing

The following day, as we were leaving our dock at Puerto Del Rey, one of our boat’s shift cables snapped causing one motor to be stuck in reverse and the boat to spin. Fortunately, we realized what had happened, shut down the motor, and managed to maneuver back to the dock before colliding with anything. 

The dockmaster was kind enough to let us stay in our slip a couple extra days while we installed a replacement cable. 

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