All posts by breannecastillo3

Top 7 Tourist Sites to See in Puerto Rico

Old San Juan
2549183058_23f29d992b_o

[Image rights: James Willamor (CC BY-SA)]

Old San Juan, founded in 1521, is one of the only places in Puerto Rico where the history comes back to life. This city is just like a blast to the past even to this day. In Old San Juan there are still cobble stone streets and brightly colored buildings all around. The streets of Old San Juan are beautiful to roam and explore. It’s a perfect place to get souvenirs, shop around and eat authentic Puerto Rican food. Some of the best restaurants are located in Old San Juan. Based on tripadvisor.com many have voted Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar as the #1 restaurant to go to while in Old San Juan. It is highly recommended to make reservations in advance. The city of Old San Juan is a very popular tourists spot. It is one of the only places where just around the corner there are many museums, cathedrals, monumental buildings and magnificent forts all in one place. Some these places would include: Museo de San Juan, Museo del Mar, El Arsenal, Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, El Capitolio and, El Morro.

El Morro

3494868055_d369292eaf_o

[Image rights: vlasta2 (CC BY-NC-ND)]
El Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, also known as simply El Morro, is one of the most famous forts in Puerto Rico. Located in Old San Juan, this fortress was built in 1539 and was originally used to protect Puerto Rico from invading colonies from sea attacks. With the walls being 18 feet thick and rising 140 feet above the sea, El Morro is one of Puerto Rico’s only forts that are used to show off the remarkable history from within. This building has been around for 500 years and has only fallen once, El Morro was a very strong and intimidating fort to its enemies and this is why it is such a magnificent fort. This fortress has some of the best views of the city in Puerto Rico and is one of the most popular attractions to visit in Old San Juan.

Flamenco beach Culebra

3352446261_2bfc2ae4b7_o

[Image rights: Rana Banerjee (CC BY-NC-SA0]
Flamenco beach in Culebra Island is located approximately 17 miles from the mainland San Juan, Puerto Rico. With white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water, Culebra is one of the best places to visit for a beautiful and relaxing day at the beach. Culebra also has plenty of wildlife one-third of the island is populated with gulls, pelicans, exotic fish and endangered turtles. The endangered turtles include the Atlantic green turtle, Leatherback turtle and the Atlantic Loggerhead turtle. The people of Culebra highly demand respect for these animals and the surrounding areas. Culebra allows visitors to go snorkeling, kayaking, swimming with the sea turtles and on a tour around the island. The island of Culebra is such a peaceful paradise to visit.

Mosquito Bay

Mosquito-Bay-Vieques-Puerto-Rico-720x480

[Image rights: Yolanda Evans (CC BY)]
When traveling to Puerto Rico most definitely stop by to visit Vieques Mosquito Bay. This is where millions of tiny living organisms called luminescent dinoflagellates live in the Caribbean Sea and make the whole entire beach light up with bioluminescent lights. Most people say that this is a fascinating beach to go see and it is one of the brightest bio bays on the island. Although you cannot go swimming in the waters when the beach is lit up, an alternative would be to go kayaking instead. This bay isn’t your typical beach at all. It is a very magical place to witness it’s not every day where you get to see a bioluminescent beach. The best time to go is at night because that gives you the opportunity to really see what this beach has to offer.

Bacardi Factory

bacardi

[Image rights: Ben Alman (CC BY-NC-ND)]
Another great attraction to stop and see is the Bacardi Rum Factory. This factory was built 1862 and is approximately 20 minutes away from the capital of San Juan by car. When taking the Bacardi Factory tour there is an option of taking a self-tour $12 and a tour with a tour guide $40 (hours Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm Sunday at 10am-5pm) The Bacardi factory in Puerto Rico is one of the world’s largest rum distilleries. This factory also includes a fabulous bar at the end of the tour with signature drinks like mojitos and coquitos and rum ritas.

El Yunque National Rainforest

 b

[Image rights: Jeff Gunn (CC BY)]
Traveling about 45 minutes by car out of San Juan, the next stop is El Yunque National Rainforest. El Yunque has magnificent mile long hikes that go deep in to the rainforest. The ultimate reason for hiking is to reach the beautiful grand waterfalls. Some of the trails are easy others are way harder. It just depends on preference and how much a person likes to hike. While going on the trail of choice there is also an option to have a guide. This guide will help take a group of people through the hikes with the best scenic routes. This gives tourists a chance to really explore the rainforest and get to the breath taking waterfalls. A tip for when going to El Yunque would be to plan ahead and plan accordingly. It rains quite frequently and for safety’s sake beware of flash floods.

Rio Camuy Caves Park

6094536856_9fb24320a0_o

[Image rights: Brian Negin (CC BY-NC-ND)]
Heading further in to Puerto Rico, Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy or the caves of Camuy are a very magnificent and beautiful place to see. The caves of Camuy are large natural limestone caves and underground water ways. A tour guide that will escort the tourists the whole way though the caves. The hours for this excursion are Wednesday- Sunday 8:30 am until 3:45 pm. First, the tour guides accommodate everyone in huge hiking trucks to drive to the cave openings. Next, is to take a hike down to the actual caves on an awesome adventurous trail. Then, once all the hiking is done there is a part of the caves where you can finally see the underground waterways. The caves of Camuy are a once in a life time experience and it’s the best for pictures of exotic structures and a peaceful place to explore.

Fear and Pain just to Entertain : Circus Animal Cruelty

What is Circus Animal Cruelty

Circus animal cruelty is when circuses use exotic wild animals to perform and keep them in horrible living conditions. The circus trainers mistreat the animals in order for them to learn tricks. “In the wild, elephants live in large, sociable herds and walk up to 25 miles every day. Most wild animals found in circus settings, including lions and tigers, are also constantly on the move in their native habitats. In the circus, animals spend most of their time in cages or chains”(Born free USA). Animals in the circus are trained by being whipped, beaten, chained and so much more just to learn one trick. Many of the animals, such as elephants, dogs, tigers, lions, horses and seals, don’t willingly jump through hoops, rings of fire or do handstands. These animals are forced to do them so that circuses can make money. Animals who do not obey their trainer will suffer day in and day out with poor treatment. These animals don’t know what it feels like to be free and live in a habitat where they truly belong.

Training

In order to train these animals, there is a long learning process that the animals have to go through. Within this process the animals are being punished when they do not listen to what they are being told to do. “No wild animal can be made to perform without extreme human domination and subjugation”(AHAN). Most trainers brutalize the animals so they can perform out of fear, get food or water, and avoid getting locked in a cage for the rest of the day. Some animals that perform get food only after the performance was a success. What if the performance wasn’t a success? Then this means that the animals are being starved long enough so that they will do anything just to get food as a reward. While trainers say it is necessary to discipline the animals, there is a very fine line between what is necessary and what is abuse?  It is different for every animal. The elephants get abused the worst. They are brutally beaten and deprived food and water on a daily basis. Other animals are whipped, jerked with choke collars, electrocuted and get their paws burned. These poor animals are even deprived from the outdoors. Circus animals live in fear in order to fulfill the expectations of performing a magnificent show.

Others may argue that not all circuses abuse animals and most of the time its necessary punishment. In all, animals don’t choose this life style. For example, an athlete to a coach is necessary punishment. The athlete chooses to be trained and chooses to work harder under any circumstance in order to get better at what they do. Animals on the other hand have no voice and can’t say stop to their trainers when enough is enough.

People who work for the circus are being paid to be there. They feel a sense of belonging because their extraordinary talents are being showcased. As for animals, what do they get out of it, nothing.

Circuses that abuse their animals

Ringling Bros. former employees have reported multiple incidents where when training the elephants, they would maliciously beat them with sharp bull hooks. Elephants have very sensitive skin, so even the slightest form of punishment is painful to them. Archele Hundley, who used to work for Ringling Bros. as an animal trainer, says that “she worked with the company for three months and quit after she allegedly saw a handler ram a bullhook into an elephant’s ear for refusing to lie down. She also said that one of the mottos that the Ringling Bros. has and believes in is,” that if they can keep these animals afraid, they can keep them submissive.” Other circuses like Cole Bros. have also been reported for abusing their animals. Tom Rider, a former elephant trainer at Cole Bros. circus, says that, “after my three years working with elephants in the circus, I can tell you that they live in confinement and they are beaten all the time when they don’t perform properly.” Circuses like these don’t care about the well-being of these poor and innocent animals. There are many more circuses that abuse their animals which have yet been reported.
ELEPHANTS

Traveling

Animals are used to being able to roam around and be free. They are used to being around other animals in a natural environment. Typically these animals are chained up and put into small cages where they then travel thousands of miles. This happens 365 days a year and these animal never get a break. They are always on the go and always have to perform 110%. “The animals, most of whom are quite large and naturally active, are forced to spend most of their lives in the cramped, barren cages and trailers used to transport them, where they have only enough room to stand and turn around.”(PETA)

How to stop it

To stop animal abuse in circuses you first must stop supporting them. When you stop supporting any circus that forces any animals to perform, this causes less places and opportunities for circuses to set up the big tops. Spreading awareness about how these poor animals get treated is definitely something that can help put a stop to the disgusting things they put these animals through. The use of exotic animals in circuses have been banned in various cities across the U.S and in many other countries worldwide. If people are really interested in circuses, look into attending animal free circuses. They are just as entertaining if not better. By doing so, you are saving the lives of many precious animals. Such circuses like Cirque du Soleil provide animal free entertainment. they strictly have acts based on human extraordinary talents.