It was a Great Vacation for Humans and Colorado Traveling Ducks

So many things to do and so many new places to explore, we don’t want to forget anything.   We chatted about our experiences on the flights back to Denver.   The first day we ducks met our new friend, Chip, from Hilton Doubletree hotels.

Colorado Traveling Ducks met Chip, Doubletree Hotel's chocolate chip cookie.

Colorado Traveling Ducks met Chip, Doubletree Hotel’s chocolate chip cookie.

On our cruise ship, Carnival Fascination, Zeb surveys his kingdom.

From ping pong area looking at main pool

From ping pong area looking at main pool

Then in St. Thomas, Bucket and his parents ride underwater scooters.

Underwater motor scooters

Underwater motor scooters

Barbados provided the shopping highlight.

Maybe this bag is new traveling bag for ducks. Humans get the emeralds.

Maybe this bag is new traveling bag for ducks. Humans get the emeralds.

Also Barbados was where Bucket and his parents snorkeled and saw an underwater wreck.

What you can see snorkeling in Barbados

What you can see snorkeling in Barbados

St. Kitts had us all in mini speedboats.

Ready to drive mini speed boat

Ready to drive mini speed boat

Bucket and his parents almost ready to head out.  Then Soapy’s mom discovered a monkey and the monkey’s owner discovered Soapy’s mom.

Soapy's mom and monkey owner

Soapy’s mom and monkey owner

Was fun for everybody here.  St. Lucia almost ended the Colorado Traveling Ducks.

Are we swimming alone? Mom!!

Are we swimming alone? Mom!!

Out to sea we went, but Bucket’s mom saved us!  In St. Maarten, Bucket, the daredevil that he is, went swimming alone.

Soapy come back here

Soapy come back here

He said he had fun and needed to get away from all of us.  Bucket’s mom saved him, too.   Bucket’s mom plays and get ready to do some fancy jumping into the water.

Ready to jump

Ready to jump

Puerto Rico displayed the really small house.

Really small house

Really small house

Narrow streets were fun to explore in Old San Juan.

Narrow streets of Old San Juan

Narrow streets of Old San Juan.   Let’s go down this street.

Of course we visited many beaches, but this one, Isla Verde in Puerto Rico was the last.

Isla Verde Beach, Puerto Rico

Isla Verde Beach, Puerto Rico

Every night we were blessed with beautiful sunsets.

Sun setting on our family vacation

Sun setting on our family vacation

This was a vacation to remember.   We saw and did many things, and we were all together.   We hope you enjoy family vacations also.

Puerto Rico’s Isla Verde Beach with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

We are going to the beach!   We ducks love all the activities and exploring in old towns, but the beach is our favorite.   Isla Verde Beach is our place today.   First we rent beach lounge chairs and umbrellas.   We have never seen this.   We pick our spot on the beach and the gentleman uses a drill with a wide, long attachment to dig a hole to secure our umbrella in the sand.   p1020784Now the umbrella is firmly anchored in the sand, but extra ropes are needed to protect our umbrella from the wind.

Attaching lines to secure umbrella

Attaching lines to secure umbrella

Since we needed two umbrellas and four chairs, how did he carry them to our favorite spot?   On this lounge chair, adapted with large sand wheels.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

You can also see the drill and long attachment behind the carrying chair.  This man really knows what he is doing. The chairs are arranged, water bottles available, and we are ready for a day of sun, sand, water and fun.

Chairs and umbrellas ready

Chairs and umbrellas ready

Sitting on the beach, we enjoy the soft sand.

We love the sand and water

We love the sand and water

Time to rent jet skis now.   Jet skis are so much fun.   Each human gets a separate jet ski.   It is more fun to drive.   Here is Bucket’s dad driving his jet ski.

Bucket's dad on a jet ski

Bucket’s dad on a jet ski

Warm sun and beach activities do make humans and duck hungry and thirsty.   Not to worry.   A food stand is right behind us on the beach.

Food and drinks are near

Food and drinks are near

We have a lot of food now, so Bucket’s mom is sharing with some new friends.

Bucket's mom sharing with birds

Bucket’s mom sharing with birds

There are many water activities available at the beach.   These are kite boards.

Kite boarders here

Kite boarders here

The kites are so colorful and look great sailing above the water.   We did not try them today.   Maybe another time.   You can see there are many people enjoying Isla Verde Beach today, but it really is not crowded.

Nice wide sandy beach

Nice wide sandy beach

This is a big beach.   This is our last day in Puerto Rico so we are all happy to spend it at the beach.   But we are getting hungry again.   Let’s try some real Puerto Rican food for our last evening.   Nearby at Los Platos restaurant, we order mofongos.

Mofongos

Mofongos

These are green mashed plantains.   One has chicken inside and one has beef inside.   We have a choice of white garlic sauce or Puerto Rican creole.   We tried each sauce.   Three of us had mofongos and one had a delicious fish dinner.   This meal was very tasty and a great way to end our Puerto Rican vacation.

Wandering Old San Juan, Puerto Rico with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Who are these people?   What are they doing?

Ponce de Leon

Ponce de Leon

Here, in the Plaza de Colon in Old San Juan we found Ponce de Leon, the first governor of Puerto Rico.   Searching for the Fountain of Youth, in Puerto Rico and in the American state of Florida, today he is promoting benefits of drinking clean water.   It must work, he was born in 1474 and he looks pretty good.   A short walk took us to the Franciscan Chapel, built by the Third Order of Saint Francis.

Franciscan chapel

Franciscan chapel

This is not the most popular church, so it was almost empty.

Inside chapel

Inside chapel

But so beautiful and made humans and ducks feel at peace.   On the walls, the Stations of the Cross, were intricately carved.

Station of the Cross XI

Station of the Cross XI

This is number 11, the nailing of Jesus to the cross.   Much of Old San Juan features restaurants and tourist shops.   But, it is part of the city and many people live here.   From the 1500s, the cobblestone streets are quite narrow.

Narrow Street

Narrow Street

The humans just wanted to wander down these streets, not wanting to eat or shop now.   On the main, wider streets, tourist buses take people between the two Spanish Castillos that we previously showed you.   Also taking humans to the cruise port.   Yes, the cruise ships leave from this area also.   Look at the decorations on this bus.

Very colorful bus

Very colorful bus

From the bus, we saw the government building for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, flying the flag of the United States of America.

Puerto Rico Government building

Puerto Rico Government building

Some people in the world are trying to reduce their life, their possessions, and reduce their carbon footprints.   This house does that.   This little house is only 5 feet wide.

Little house is only 5 feet wide

Little house is only 5 feet wide

That really is little.   Not everybody wants to live in a space that small though.   On this narrow street, the apartments are fairly small, but the curved balconies seem wonderful.

Great balconies

Great balconies

And, no buses on this street.   You could spend several days exploring Old San Juan, but we were only here for one day.   We loved it, but we wanted to go to the beach.   We will take you there next time.

Castillo San Cristobal, San Juan, Puerto Rico with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

We are loving our time in Puerto Rico.   Last time we showed you Castillo San Felipe del Morro, the Spanish defense from sea attacks.   Now we will show you Castillo San Cristobal, the Spanish defense from land attacks.   This was the biggest European fortification in the Americas.

Castillo San Cristobal

Castillo San Cristobal

Canons were once housed here, to defend the Spanish claim to Puerto Rico.

Canon was inside

Canon was inside

Let’s walk up this incline and enter the fortress.

Let's go up

Let’s go up

Looking to the sea, this fortress offered an advantageous view of the sea and the land.

View of Atlantic. Love the colors of the water

View of Atlantic. Love the colors of the water

As we enter Castillo San Cristobal, we notice we will be climbing more inclines.

Entering the fortress

Entering the fortress

This Castillo has three levels.   We are on level 1, sitting on the window of the Troops Quarters.

Troops Quarters

Troops Quarters

Remember that ships sailing from Europe, 4,000 miles to the east, sailed down the coast of Africa where they used the winds and currents to reach Puerto Rico, and then on to the rest of the New World.   We are now on the top level, and it is windy here.

View and three flags

View and three flags

These three flags flew over Puerto Rico.   The bottom is the Burgundy Cross.   This was the Spanish military flag that flew here during most of the Spanish colonial period.    It was adopted in 1506 by Philip the Handsome, King of Castile, to honor his mother, Mary Duchess of Burgundy.   The middle is the flag of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.   And the top flag is that of the United States of America.   Here is the bell.

Bell

Bell

We love the old bells.   From here, you would be able to see any approaching threat, by sea or land.

View to the east

View to the east

We like this panorama of the coast between the two Castillos.

Panorama with markings on building roofs

Panorama with markings on building roofs

This is a favorite photo from Bucket’s dad.   Looking toward Castillo San Felipe del Morro, again we admire the strategic location of these fortresses.

View to the west

View to the west and Castillo San Felipe del Morro

We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, and humans enjoyed exploring and learning about our history and the Spanish defenses to protect Puerto Rico.   We think you would enjoy wandering through this part of Old San Juan, also.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico with Colorado Traveling Ducks

This is our first full day in San Juan, Puerto Rico.   Our cab took us to Old San Juan, the original walled city of San Juan, Puerto Rico.   Christopher Columbus arrived in San Juan in 1493 on his second voyage to the New World.   For Spain, he claimed all the riches of what is now called Puerto Rico.   This included gold, silver, gems, and spices, in addition to the first deep water port between Europe and the New World.   Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and Old San Juan Historic Site is under the protection of the U.S. National Park Service.   There are two old fortresses, built by the Spanish, here.   The Castillo San Felipe del Morro was to defend against attacks from the sea.   The Castillo San Cristobal, about a 30 minute walk away, was built to defend against attacks from land.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, will show you Castillo San Felipe del Morro today.

Here is the sign. Where is Castillo San Felipe del Morro?

Here is the sign. Where is Castillo San Felipe del Morro?

We can see the lighthouse in the background, and realize we have a long walk ahead of us.   This cemetery was conveniently located on the coast near the Castillo.

Cemetery by the sea

Cemetery by the sea

The city, like many old cities, was protected by a wall.

Looking through the wall

Looking through the wall

Today we have a peaceful view through that wall.   The grass here was incredibly soft in places.

Keep walking ducks

Keep walking ducks

This was once a golf course, but we still must keep walking.   We think this building, built partially underground is interesting.

We like this building

We like this building

Let’s go inside Castillo San Felipe del Morro.

Entrance to Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Entrance to Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Bucket claimed this chair and seems to be enjoying a short rest.

Chair fit for a king. King Bucket?

Chair fit for a king.   King Bucket?

This space, once the living quarters for the commander of El Morro, but later, a place of punishment.

In jail. Looking through bars to the sea

In jail. Looking through bars to the sea

Zeb and Soapy enjoy the view, through the bars, of the sea.  Bucket found another prison cell.

Bucket and Chip--don't go inside that prison cell.

Bucket and Chip–don’t go inside that prison cell.

Don’t go inside there, Bucket and Chip.   We found this canon, now inside a room.

Canon. No longer in use

Canon. No longer in use

But it was not always inside this room.   This path takes us to the former home of the canon.

Where the canons used to be

Where the canons used to be

The canon was pointed through this lookout.

Canon pointed out this space

Canon pointed out this space

We ducks wanted to sit on the ledge, but the humans said it was too windy for us.   But we love to watch the water.   Castillo San Felipe del Morro has six levels and we found the bell on the 6th level.

Bell

Bell

This lighthouse looks pretty new, doesn’t it?

Fourth and newest lighthouse

Fourth and newest lighthouse

It is the fourth lighthouse built here.   This one is 51 feet above the 6th level of El Morro.   The lamp is 182 feet above sea level and this lighthouse and lamp still serve ships every night.   This lighthouse was built in 1908.   Originally made of bricks, it was restored in the 1990s.   We ducks are impressed by this castle.   But we are also impressed and a little frightened by the wind here.   We like the sea, but we don’t want to be blown into it and lost forever.   The humans kept us safe.   More about Old San Juan next time.

The Colorado Traveling Ducks Leave the Carnival Fascination

We are back in San Juan, Puerto Rico.   Things are different this morning.   We are getting off our cruise ship, with our suitcases.   Many of our fellow passengers are heading for their homes, but we are staying a few days here in San Juan.   Hurrah!  Before we disembark, we want to show you some of our ship again.   There are so many places to relax and watch the beautiful Caribbean.

Always room to relax, with a Caribbean view

Always room to relax, with a Caribbean view

The pool area was so much fun.

Good times at the pool

Good times at the pool

What great water slides on our ship.

Water slides for everybody

Water slides for everybody

The dining room, available for all three daily meals, was so welcoming.

Sensation Dining Room

Sensation Dining Room

Of course, meeting our new friend, Chip was fun.

Colorado Traveling Ducks met Chip, Doubletree Hotel's chocolate chip cookie.

Colorado Traveling Ducks met Chip, Doubletree Hotel’s chocolate chip cookie.

Lounging on the top deck was great.

Another favorite place

Another favorite place

One of our favorite things was the towel animals.   This rhino was our last towel.

Our last towel friend

Our last towel friend

We ducks and humans really enjoyed all the towel art.

Our towel friends

Our towel friends

Yes, we were able to keep many them in our room.   Our ship, Fascination, was our temporary home.

Our ship Like an old friend now

Our ship.   Like an old friend now

While the sunset last night, signaled the end of our cruise, we still have a few more days of vacation.

Sun setting on our cruise

Sun setting on our cruise

Stay with us as we enjoy some of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

St. Croix is the last port for our cruise.   All the humans and ducks took a Scenic St. Croix tour.   We like to be together.   Leaving the port and through the tropical rain forest our first stop was this Baobab Tree.

Baobab Tree

Baobab Tree

The Baobab tree is often called “the tree of life”.    Can you believe the history of this tree?

Baobab Tree

Baobab Tree     Burned alive here???

Fruit from the Baobab tree falls to the ground.   This feels like velvet.

Fruit of Baobab tree

Fruit of Baobab tree

We ducks did not want to sit on the ground.   We don’t know these red bugs, and there were a lot of them.   Friendly?  Biting bugs?  We don’t know.   Our next stop was Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve.   St. Croix is an island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, so this preserve is part of the National Park Service of the United States.   This was the first landing site by Christopher Columbus, in 1493 in the US Territorial waters.   The view from the Visitor’s Center was beautiful but it was very windy.

View from Visitor's Center

View from Visitor’s Center

We ducks could not sit here alone.   Salt River Bay is home to some of the largest mangrove forest and sea grass beds, providing one of the most unique wildlife habitats, in the Virgin Islands.   We feel safe with our humans and our friend Chip, the Doubletree Cookie.

Salt River Bay

Salt River Bay

We love to look at the water.

Salt River Bay

Salt River Bay

The next and final stop on our tour is Christiansted.   The King Christian Hotel is old and well known.

King Christian Hotel in Christiansted, St Croix

King Christian Hotel in Christiansted, St Croix

We like these streets and buildings.  In the early days of St. Croix, sugar cane was grown across the island.   This is an old sugar mill.

Old sugar mill building

Old sugar mill building

Looks like a great social place now.   We shopped at the Purple Papaya gift shop.   We thought you might be curious about the name, Purple Papaya.

Purple Papaya

Purple Papaya

Walking down another street, we were fascinated by all the vines growing from and around these trees.

So many vines in the trees

So many vines in the trees

Our tour took us back to the cruise area.

Shopping area for cruise passengers

Shopping area for cruise passengers

Our shopping area is decorated for Christmas.   We watched these dancers by the gazebo.

Dancing performance

Dancing performance

The ladies are wearing very fancy hats.   Walking along the Caribbean, we had to stop by the canons.

Old canons on Caribbean coast

Old canons on Caribbean coast

A few more steps and we would be on this beach.

From cruise ship you can walk to this beach

From cruise ship you can walk to this beach

Rocky first and then soft, warm Caribbean sand.   Now it is time for us to return to our ship.   We always must be careful to watch the time and not miss the ship.   We really liked St Croix and none of us had previously visited this island.   We hope to come back soon.

Floating Tiki Hut in Sint Maarten with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Today we swim, snorkel, and shop in Sint Maarten.    First we take a water taxi to Philipsburg, the capital of St. Maarten.

To the Water taxi

To the Water taxi

After transferring to another boat, we all arrive at the floating Tiki Hut.

Floating Tiki Hut

Floating Tiki Hut

Isn’t this beautiful?   That pool has water from the Caribbean and we saw tropical fish there, eating bread.   Bucket’s dad is already in the water.

Bucket's Dad

Bucket’s Dad

It looks fun, but again, no snorkeling mask in our size.   Some humans are enjoying stand up paddle boarding.

Stand up Paddle Boarding

Stand up Paddle Boarding

Oh this exciting.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, are swimming with Bucket’s parents.

We are swimming in the Caribbean Sea

We are swimming in the Caribbean Sea

They are having a little problem keeping us together.   This is so much fun.   We are bouncing along on top of the waves.   Back on the Tiki Hut, we ducks needed to rest and lounge in the sun.

Ducks resting

Ducks resting

Swimming can be tiring, but it sure was fun!  Look what we saw.

Fish

Fish

We could see the fish under water.   We looked through Bucket’s parents snorkel mask!   Bucket’s parents are on the floating platform, waiting for another snack.

Bucket's parents

Bucket’s parents

We already ate lunch here, but they are hungry again.  Taking ducks swimming causes hunger.   It is time to leave the floating Tiki Hut, so we take the first boat back to Philipsburg.   Then another water taxi to the ship.   This is our cruise passenger shopping area.

Shopping area

Shopping area

Beautiful tropical flowers also.   These steps are very inviting.

Let's wander

Let’s wander

Let’s explore.   We like these crafts that are for sale.

Crafts for sale

Crafts for sale

Following our moms on a shopping trip is exhausting.   So, snacks and beverages anyone?

Snacks anyone?

Snacks anyone?

Have a seat humans.   There is just a little time before we board the ship, so hurry.

Snorkeling in St. Kitts with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Today we are in St. Kitts.   And we love it.   All of us are going on the same shore excursion today.   Let’s go on our Mini Speedboat and Snorkeling Adventure.   We are going on these mini speedboats.

Mini Speedboats and snorkeling equipment

Mini Speedboats and snorkeling equipment

Two humans in each boat–ducks going also.  You may notice that we have a new friend.   Chip, the chocolate chip cookie, from Doubletree Hotels is with us.   Bucket’s parents work for Doubletree Hotel, a division of Hilton Hotels.   Bucket, Chip and Bucket’s parents are ahead of us.

Bucket's parents heading to snorkeling area.

Bucket’s parents heading to snorkeling area.

We loved driving the mini speedboats.   The snorkeling was fun also, but the humans did not take photos of us.   Maybe next time.   After snorkeling and driving the speedboats, we wanted lunch.  We walk along the beach, and Soapy’s mom saw a man with a monkey.   Now she has us, Chip, a monkey and the monkey’s doll.

Soapy's mom with monkey, Colorado Traveling Ducks, Chip and a doll

Soapy’s mom with monkey, Colorado Traveling Ducks, Chip and a doll

That is a lot to hold, so the man holds the monkey now.   He seems to be holding Soapy’s mom, too.

Soapy's mom and monkey owner

Soapy’s mom and monkey owner

We loved that cute monkey, but the moms said we could not take it home.    Look, here is a place to order food.

We are getting hungry

We are getting hungry

We are really thirsty.

We were thirsty

We were thirsty

What is this?   A snowman in the tropical Caribbean.

Snowman--in the Caribbean??

Snowman–in the Caribbean??

We would like to eat here, looking at the beautiful water.

Let's eat here

Let’s eat here

After lunch and a brief swim, a taxi took us back to our ship so we could get dry clothes.   Now we head to the shopping area for cruise passengers.

Shopping area for cruise passengers

Shopping area for cruise passengers

These wandering dancers and musicians are very colorful.

Wandering dancers and musicians

Wandering dancers and musicians

We like them.   There are lots of places here to shop and eat.   Sailing away on our cruise ship, we look back at beautiful St. Kitts.

Leaving St. Kitts

Leaving St. Kitts

When mom and I return to our room, our new towel art makes us laugh.

Towel monkey in our room

Towel monkey in our room

We love this monkey towel.   We had fun in St. Kitts and are looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure.

St. Lucia with The Colorado Traveling Ducks

First time for all of us in St. Lucia.   Here is the plan for humans and ducks in St. Lucia.

St. Lucia. Beach time.

St. Lucia. Beach time.

Add a little shopping, enjoying the scenery and sunshine, and stop for lunch somewhere Caribbean.   But, it is a drizzly day.   We wait a couple hours, but the sun shows no sign of emerging.   OK, no beach, no sunshine, so what now?   The humans leave the beach bags, head off the ship and hire a taxi.   Peter, our driver, leaves the capital city of Castries.

Passing Derek Walcott Square on our way out of Castries

Passing Derek Walcott Square on our way out of Castries

Then we drive through the hills.   That is our ship, Carnival’s Fascination.

Our ship

Our ship

We love the waterfalls, or fast steam.

Waterfall

Waterfall

Next stop is outside the Residence of the Governor General.

Residence of the Governor General

Residence of the Governor General

Behind us we see the venders protecting their merchandise from the light rain.

Vendors protecting merchandise while raining.

Vendors protecting merchandise during rain.

Maybe it will stop raining soon?   The calabash tree is fairly common in St Lucia.

Calabash tree

Calabash tree

Peter says you cannot eat the fruit, but the hard shell of the fruit is used as a vessel to carry things.   Wikipedia says that sometimes the fruit and leaves are used for treating respiratory problems.   Here is a salmon tree.   It is at least 450 years old.

Salmon tree

Salmon tree

The University of the West Indies has a campus in St Lucia.

University of the West Indies

University of the West Indies

These buildings are now part of the University.

Former fort now part of the University

Former fort now part of the University

This was an old fort used during the many fights between the French and British.   Both countries ruled St. Lucia, with power changing countries several times.   We ducks think the foliage here is beautiful.   This was another stop to view the harbor.

Panorama

Panorama

There is a little shop up here, and it is open.   So humans and ducks do some shopping.

Let's look. Maybe get something to take home?

Let’s look. Maybe get something to take home?

Continuing through the mountains, we see this steep path to a house.

Steep path to get home

Steep path to get home

Built on the side of a mountain, the back of the house touches the ground, but the front of the houses have stilts.    A very good way to build houses here.   Aren’t these cute Christmas decorations?

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

We like them.  It is still mostly rainy, but we are in St. Lucia.   The humans and ducks really want to see the beach.

Finally on the beach in St. Lucia

Finally on the beach in St. Lucia

We love beaches.   After this photo, mom moves to the other side of ducks to take a photo looking the other direction.   Hey mom!

Are we swimming alone? Mom!!

Are we swimming alone? Mom!!

We, Zeb, Soapy, and Bucket, are being washed out to sea.   Fortunately Bucket’s mom rushes in to save us.   Thanks!   Peter was right.   He told us the waves were rough today.

Rough waves

Rough waves

But, we are all safe and back to the shopping area by the ship.

Safe, dry and hungry in St. Lucia

Safe, dry and hungry in St. Lucia

Now we are just waiting for our snacks.