At Atabey Tours, we specialize in several alternative tours for those of you who really want to try something different in Puerto Rico. One of these is our own custom tour of “Viejo San Juan”, our historic and mystical colonial city which we call home. Traditional tours of the old city are informative but may not take you beyond the touristy experience. We are the only local guides living within the fortified walls which have stood for over 400 years guarding our sacred city, which was fought over by British pirates, Dutch, Spanish and other European powers who wanted control of this “gateway to the Caribbean and the Americas”.
Today, history, architecture, cafe culture, music and art merge within these ancient walls and create a fascinating experience for the savvy world traveler. Our alternative Old San Juan tour begins with a bang as we sip fresh, wild harvested coconuts atop the 40 foot high walls of San Cristobal fort. We take in the stunning Atlantic Ocean views just below along with the wild prairie as we spot huge green iguanas and ocean birds while drinking sweet native coconut water and learning about the history of this fort and the folk legends surrounding it. Then we explore the fort itself which is a true wonder with its subterranean tunnels featuring old rock art, embrasures for cannon firing and surreal panoramic ocean views. We go on to explore “La Perla”, the ultimate Puerto Rican barrio by the shore at the foot of Old San Juan’s historic walls. This neighborhood has its own culture, history, design and is a very autonomous and independent community living within prime beach front real estate. This is the opposite of gentrification as we see the rambling colorful houses and alleys full of surprises like wandering crowing roosters, a beautiful ocean front cemetery and a cast of very friendly characters. We continue down towards the Southern section of the wall and along the way we check out some of the best Puerto Rican coffee spots where we can relax and enjoy a cup. We also will enjoy a delicious lunch in one of the hidden “locals-only” spots where Sanjuaneros fill themselves with home cooked foodie goodness. We will spot wild parrots, ancient native trees, learn much more about the lore and legends of the old city and in the end, you will come away with a true local perspective on this unique and magical colonial city.
Prices and details:
$55 per person (includes fresh coconuts)
4 hour duration
New year’s eve under a cave with a towering tribal bonfire blowing high and wide with the NorthEasterly trade winds and drops of stalagtite filtered water dripping softly and intermittently above our heads from the roof of the cave, from the cave of the roof, from the roof of our mind to the mind of our eye to the eye of our subconscious mind. Now never to be the same. Never to see in the same way…All the while the pink white conch shell sand below our feet and the lonesome ocean’s murmur but a few steps away. All the elements of ancestral tribal man present for the plucking of another year like the feather that falls softly through the breeze, from high above the Caribbean sky, and dances her way to the ground. Only to be picked up again and carried through another. Fire, Cave, Ocean, Sand, Earth, Cave water, Wind, Stars, Planets, Milky Way, Southern Cross, Big Dipper shining North, Puerto Rico lighting the East, Djembe drums and congas, guiros and maracas, seeds of trees resound within the dried gourds. The Mona Iguana dragging her weight through the earth, watchful and curious as ever, the native guardian of the biting, limestone cave-riddled rock which sits comfortably perched above the roaring waves of the wicked Mona Passage, all mighty swallower of pirates and shipwrecker of crazy barbed Conquistadors who came for the guano…
Now that Christmas is dawning, we wanted to share with you some great moments we had last year during this special time of the year here in Puerto Rico. We had the honor to welcome friendly folks from Iceland who had a lot of fun on our Atabey ecotours. It was a cultural and eco adventure as we explored from the beach to Old San Juan and El Yunque Rainforest with our islanders from the North. We even danced Salsa and Bomba; roots Puerto Rican music! One of the highlights was the search for native Taíno Indian petroglyphs; we experienced the rock carvings produced by our Taíno ancestors from the island and traveled back in time. Very merry Christmas to everyone around the world and may it be as happy and sweet as last year! Come enjoy the best time of year to be in Puerto Rico; the time of dancing, playing, surfing and sharing. “Feliz Navidad”!!!
Bienvenidos! Welcome Home. Puerto Rico is waiting to unveil its secret beauty; Fun and Adventure are yours at every turn. We’ve explored the magic and now its time to share…
This weekend we explored the heart of Puerto Rico high where only Guaragaos (broad and red tailed hawks) fly over the lush green jungle mountains and the fruit-bearing valleys below. Canyons, rivers, peaks and valleys, waterfalls, rainforests and best of all, the local folks of the mountains (also referred to as “Jíbaros” ) who are the friendliest, most humble, generous and wisest people you can hope to meet. This was a local ecotour adventure a world away from the hustle of San Juan, yet well within reach and a ultra fun day trip into the essence of Puerto Rico where few travelers get to explore.