During the past week I “stopped the presses”. I put my podcast on hiatus for 2 weeks, my blog “Picadillo”, my two YouTube channels and my social media participation. Why? To share some time with a friend from Texas who was visiting the Island and with my son and his wife, who live in Oklahoma and showed up unexpectedly on mother’s day.
One of the places where I went with my son and his wife was “Playa Puerto Nuevo”, in the little town of Vega Baja on the north-central coast of Puerto Rico.
Vega Baja used to have multiple industrial operations a couple of decades back, but today —due in great part to the stupidity of the Island’s central government— unemployment is sky-high and you can see the economic decay everywhere.
One of the areas where you’ll see such decay is on your way to Puerto Nuevo Beach. There are industrial concerns closed all along the way.
Now let’s talk about the beach! Puerto Nuevo Beach is beautiful. Not because of any governmental intervention but because God just made it that way.
When you reach the beach there’s an ample parking area but no parking attendant. Only a local freeloader who will approach you, ask for a dollar to “watch your car”, and then do nothing. Entering the beach area it becomes evident that there are no showers, no lockers, no lifeguards and no recycling facilities. The place is more or less the way nature made it, only with a little more wear and tear.
But it’s breathtaking!!!
On the west side there’s a huge beach area with hardly any surf. What I also noticed (and this is just a personal preference of mine) is that there are hardly any palm trees, so shade is at a premium. The sand is clean, tan colored and a little on the coarse side.
Walking north from the entrance there’s a huge breakwater where the fury of the sea is a show in itself. The water hits against the rocks, rushes down the inner side and forms a beautiful crystal-clear pond, about 4-feet deep, that visitors just love.
A little further to the east there’s another beach. But this one is not for bathers. It’s rocky and dangerous. I asked one of the locals what they call that area and he said they called it the “Cibuco” coast because of the Cibuco river that rushes into the sea nearby..
Now, before I went to Puerto Nuevo Beach —or Playa Puerto Nuevo, like the locals call it— I was told that this is a place where many people have drowned. So I asked around to learn why. It turns out that many people walk over the breakwater, where the open sea rushes onto the rocks. And, as you might imagine, if you fall into the water there you’re destined for trouble.
So here’s my advise, if you decide to visit Puerto Nuevo Beach: stay away from the breakwater! The western side of the beach is calm and beautiful; and the little pond that forms behind the breakwater is pure heaven!
As for Puerto Nuevo Beach in general, it’s one of those places that could be a lot better if the local government just put a little money into it.
Puerto Rico as a country still insists on being a mayor player in the manufacturing front when tourism is what truly comes naturally to the Island. The parade of closed factories along the way to Puerto Nuevo Beach is proof of this harsh reality.
©2014,Orlando Mergal, MA
Bilingual Content Creator, Blogger, Podcaster,
Author, Photographer and New Media Expert
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