PALOMINO ISLAND Website:
We booked a few days at the El Conquistador (basically because we wanted to go to the Bioluminescent Bay for that experience, plus check out this side of Puerto Rico).
Palomino Island is El Conquistadors Private Island.
It was a bit of a walk around the hotel, down by the outside shops, and then up the glass elevator with a view. It was a gorgeous day outside and I was so happy about that. We got to the end and found the rail car (I guess that's what you call it). This rail car (2 of them) would take us down the "mountain" of the resort and to the marina area. There's a nice view from the rail car too as we descended down the hill. I caught the other rail car coming back up and snapped a picture.
Now knowing how many pictures I take, people must think I'm just crazy and wondering why I take all these pictures. There wasn't but one other person that took a (singular) picture as we were going down. I must have taken a good 20 or more. I just felt like saying "You have no idea who I am and my responsibilities and if you do anything "different" I will take a picture of you too and it will be in my review". (Just kidding of course...or am I?) But I do get some weird looks (especially when I take pictures of menus or food or drinks).
We made it to the Marina!
We kinda wandered around wondering where to go.
This was an entirely different world down here as well (also part of the resort, with a hotel mid-way on the rail car and also below). There was more shopping and bars as well. Now there is a water park here at this resort (but you must pay extra) and you had to take the rail car down here to get to it. I had wanted to go there for maybe a half a day, but the hours did not coincide with what I had planned and we had to skip the water park. Maybe another time.
They do have a nice area with seats and it's covered, so it helps with the wait for the ferry to get over to the island and you are not standing in direct sunlight. I thought that was a nice added touch.
The ferry arrived a few minutes before 11am. This is a very nice and huge ferry. Not exactly what I had expected. This is not your small normal little boat, this was a full blown ferry, able to carry a lot of passengers. How nice. I tried to talk the hubby into sitting up on the top so that I could take pictures, but he really didn't want to be exposed to the sun not knowing how far away the island was or how long it would take to get there. I gave in and we sat down below...with the statement mumbling out of my mouth that we WOULD be sitting on the top on the way back then. hehe
We were on the ferry by 11:00 and we pulled away at 11:07am. Right away, this occurs....Sakari fell asleep!
We arrived at the dock of Palomino Island at 11:24am. So, about a 17 minute ride. Not too bad at all, but the excitement made it feel longer.
As we pulled up, I started to get excited. The engines slowing down automatically woke Sakari up and she grabbed her "morphing bag" and headed toward the door. GORGEOUS!!!
There were a lot of chairs and most were empty. People were really spread out that were there. I was kinda shocked that there wasn't more people here considering the size of the hotel(s) at El Conquistador. But I wasn't complaining.
You could get prime real estate in the full sun or in the shade. We picked a spot in the shade and put our things down and believe it or not...the hubby headed straight for the water! (That's a first). He was HOT! I think this entire vacation has to be one of the HOTTEST vacations I have ever been on. Both on the cruise and land. But, I'm not complaining...well, at least not yet. I'm surrounded by water!
I was right on the hubbys tail and in the water in a matter of moments. One thing I wanted to mention...this water was SUPER CLEAR. You didn't even have to stick your head under the water to see the fish or anything. Remember the review I did on Goffs Caye in Belize and I just couldn't get over how clear the water was? This water came pretty close to that. It was amazing.
I see a morph coming on at the beach...(Sakari was putting on her mermaid tail).
Yep, she's back to her mermaid self. The area was all sandy bottom with just a few areas with a small amount of sea grass. I explored, but nothing to see there. The sand was super soft and I loved it.
After swimming for awhile, I decided I would go exploring. This seemed like such a beautiful island and I didn't want to miss anything (which I did, because it's just so big). I told the hubby to watch the mermaid and told the mermaid to stay directly in the area that daddy could see her and off I went.
There is a covered area with tables that you can eat at. I noticed there was a big field with "goal nets" so I imagine you could play soccer there. Look right above my name stamp in the picture of the hill. There's some type of hut up there. I can only imagine the views from up there.
We found a chicken and her nuggets. I hope they are not for lunch. There was a basketball court and people were putting it to good use. I don't know how though...it was too hot for that stuff! I think this might have been a bocce game? Would you look at the Connect Four game!! How cute! There was another type of sand game, but with a ball. Volley ball. They even have putt putt. They have ping-pong and pools tables.
Wait, what is this? Another side of the beach area that I didn't even know existed. I guess that's what happens when you are so hot that you just put your things down at the first available chair. Then there's a "water" rental shack.You can rent snorkeling equipment there along with other things. We did see a lot of people renting the jet skis. Locker rental for $10 and also a gift shop.
This place just had everything to keep anyone entertained.
Nice trails leading different places too. You can even rent cabanas.
So I went down to the beach area that I had recently discovered and seen people had some snorkeling gear on in the area. I wondered if there was anything to see.
I decided to head back to our "spot" and let the hubby know I was going "water exploring" over in my new found area.
I made my way back to our spot via beach of course. Gotta get those pictures along the way.
I grabbed a new batter for my camera and told the hubbys to keep an eye on the munchkin. He told me to go tell her what I was doing and see if she wanted to go. In other words, I'd like to take a nap...at least that's what I translated his words to. I told him I would go down there and let her know where I was going and it would be up to her if she wanted to tag along....which she did and was excited about going snorkeling.
We gave the hubby and #pointatthemermaid hand signal then a #pointattheotherbeach hand signal and a few arm swimming motions and we were off. (I'm getting super good at hand signals in PR, even to those who speak English).
We made it to the beach where I had seen others in the water and in we went.
Yep, it was a snorkeling area and I was a little shocked at just how good. (and to think if I hadn't went exploring, I would have never even knew it had this).
Time to share a magnitude of snorkeling pictures now...
My mermaid was swimming right along side of me. (Well, or in the lead most of the time). She is so good at swimming now. She simply amazes me.
There was just so much to see out there from fish to coral and rocks. We had an amazing time snorkeling and I'm so glad I decided to walk around and discover this other side of the island.
We were getting back close to shore and I poked my head up and seen the hubby standing there. I guess he was getting worried about us because we had been gone so long. Sakari and I had a wonderful time and I enjoy snorkeling with her.
We headed back to our real estate to put our things up and the hubby had told us that he did a little exploring on his own before he went to look for us and found some interesting things.
We entered the world of Jurassic Park! The iguanas here were HUGE! There also seem to be more males than females so there was a lot of territorial fighting and chasing going on.
When they chase each other off...the winner bobs his head up and down like "yea, that's right, run!"
After that excitement, we headed back to the water. It was just too hot to stay out in the sun for very long. Still not many people here. People would come and go all day long so it was never crowded.
I attempted to take my usual pictures of a picture with part of it above the water and part below. I must have been just shy of getting the part below the water, but it turned out kinda clear and you could see under there. Nailed it...well kinda. I was able to get it again, thanks to a wave that came in as I snapped the picture (which you can see in the pic). It's too bad there was nothing interesting to look at under the water in these though. I should have tried it when I was snorkeling but was too excited looking at everything.
A few more pictures of the beach area...because it was too hot to stay out ON the beach for very long.
The bathrooms - I believe there was a sign that said no photography...but I can't read...no comprende...any language at this moment. Don't worry, I made sure there wasn't anyone in there first.
So remember the little hut/palapa that I should a picture of earlier...it was sitting on top of the huge hill? I guess this is how you get to it...up a steep hill. I really wish I had some shoes on to take this trail up and I bet it would be an awesome lookout with some awesome pictures. I also hate going UP hill. I also didn't think I could make it in this heat. I would forego going up to the top. Darnit.
We were getting hangry and decided it was time to get some food. Between the heat and the hunger, we headed to the Iguana Cafe
The first thing I ordered was a drink. Yum! We put in our orders, grabbed a seat, and Sakari was back messing with the iguanas. (They were right beside the eating area). Sakari got up enough courage to try to feed them. She was excited when they started taking food out of her hand. Then she progressed to "petting" them. Then she moved on to trying to tame a bird.She succeeded in coercing the bird to eat from her and of course I managed to not be fast enough with the camera.
Our food came. I ordered the jerk chicken sandwich. It was huge but I would hardly call it jerk chicken. To me, it was more like grilled chicken. There was no "jerk" to it. It was "ok". Nothing to brag about, but the fries were good. Sakari had the chicken strips and enjoyed them. The hubby had the pizza, which was small, but he said it was good. Those 3 items, me and the hubbys "drink" and Sakari's pop and it was $42. Geesh. What a rip off. I know it's a resort, and I'm on vacation, but seriously hate the prices.
We were told (I think) that the island is open until 5pm with the last ferry coming back at 4:30pm. (Not really sure how you have to be on the last ferry at 4:30 but yet it doesn't close until 5....???)
It was 3:30pm and decided that we would pack up and get ready to go. Ferry's run all day long, back and forth. We didn't really want to wait until the last ferry when a lot of the people would be getting on and it be crowded. Well, that was my reasoning but now that I think about it, there wasn't very many people there to begin with.
Oh, I almost forgot, they did have a wedding there that day too!
Remember my terms of riding on the upper floor on the ferry on the way back? Yep, that's where we were. I was going to make sure I got some pictures.
There's our resort in the distance.
I managed to catch the railcar thingy coming down the hill.
We immediately decided to head back up the mountain when we returned instead of exploring. I now wish I would have explored a little and maybe went over to check out the water park. But, I knew that if Sakari seen that, she'd want to stay. Plus, it was hot. Did I mention that already?
So that was our day at Palomino Island.
THIS PLACE WAS AMAZING! SERIOUSLY! The beach was beautiful with plenty of chairs, sun and shade. It offers every kind of watersport and the snorkeling was pretty good too...right from the beach!
I have never been to any place that had this much to do as far as games for adults and kids.
The food was a little expensive and not the best I have had, but it filled our bellies and we were satisfied.
Having all the animals around the island was amazing as well. I can not believe how friendly they all were...from the iguanas, birds, to the pony.
It was definitely a great day and I hope some day to return.