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Winter in Palmas del Mar

Winter in Palmas del Mar

It is hard to believe that Pat and I are on our way to completing our fifteenth winter away from the great state of Maine. After spending parts of seven winters in the Sarasota, Florida area, we journeyed with some friends to Luquillo and then Vieques for a 12 day stay back in 2008. What amazed us that year was not only the terrific (and reliable) weather each day, but also the warmth of the people of Puerto Rico.

Following that winter, some discussion evolved as to whether or not we wanted to return to Florida or spend half the winter in Puerto Rico and the remainder of the winter out west, in Tucson. The conversation lasted  just a few minutes, after considering the difference in the weather between Florida and the Caribbean. Puerto Rico won by a landslide. Now the search commenced. Just where in Puerto Rico would we dwell for one or two months??? A Google search began just west of San Juan, moving down to Rincón, Mayagüez, Ponce and finally a place on the east called Palmas del Mar.

Research into Palmas made it easy to see that this was not only a stunningly beautiful community but also a very safe environment. Many options for renting and dining were available as well as facilities for exercise and golf.  Our first trip to Palmas occurred during January of 2009, renting a small apartment for that month. The second full day we were there, a visit to one of the health clubs (Los Lagos) occurred, and we became members for the month. Within just a few days, we had met many wonderful ‘locals’ and ‘folks from away,’ like us. So we were involved not only in the club’s activities but also other adventures such as hiking. Our friendship with many led to invitations to family events (birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas parties, New Year’s parties, etc) as well as trips around the island to visit both historical sites and natural wonders.

Over the years, we have rented other dwellings in both Fairway Courts and Aquabella, but have now returned to that original apartment we rented in 2008. Our landlord is a native Puerto Rican and a wonderful physician known by many in Palmas. He also has treated us just like part of his fami-ly …the Puerto Rican way it seems!

One of the highlights each year has been returning to Los Lagos and seeing many familiar faces. Back in ‘the good old days’ we were able to participate in spin classes as well as the very popular EXCO classes. Even though these programs are no longer available, many of our former ‘classmates’ still use the weight room and machines that continue to be offered.  This past visit, December and January, was especially memorable as several of our fellow hikers were conditioning for a lengthy trek this spring in the Pyrenees, along Camino de Santiago, through part of France and Spain.

Regular hikes in Palmas occurred each Monday, Wednesday and Friday with an occasional Saturday hike. Our master hiker, a gent we refer to now as ‘Superman,’ led most of the hikes into beautiful backcountry area which

featured several steep sections. Just before Pat and I departed, these hikers had worked up to 12 miles!

As each year rolls by, Pat and I look forward to the start of our winter away from New England with our flight from Boston to San Juan which will reunite us with our dear friends in Palmas del Mar and weather that you can depend on EVERY DAY!!!

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