We packed up our bikes and left Miramar around 7:30 am and headed into Old San Juan. There is a protected bike lane once you cross the bridge from Miramar.
Brian in the bike lane.
For breakfast we went to Café Cuatro Sombras because it was right next to the ferry. The coffee was good and they had sandwiches and pastries as well. We sat at a table by the window so we could keep an eye on our bikes that we locked up to a bench outside.
After breakfast we took the Cataño Ferry across the bay. This was the biggest improvement I made to the route and I was so giddy the entire 10 minute ferry ride. It costs 50 cents per person including the bike. It saved us about 5 miles of very unpleasant riding on highway 2. Last year we ended up hitchhiking on that stretch. The ferry operators were really interested in our trip and were great company.
Our bikes on the ferry. They had a special area to put bikes.
“Ferries run from 6am to 7pm Monday through Friday, and 8am to 8pm Saturday, Sunday and holidays. During rush hour (6am-9:30am and 3:30pm-6:30pm) on Monday through Friday the ferry it runs every 15 minutes. During non-rush hour, weekends and holidays it runs every 30 minutes.“
Even if you did the route clockwise you could still take the ferry but you would have to make sure you were there before it stopped running.
Here are our rigs fresh off the ferry. I’m carrying some bulky but light things on my bike (including a foam roller to help my knee pain. It was very worth taking. I found a 12 inch long one on amazon for less than $10)
From Cataño we took a small road – 888. It goes past the Bacardi factory. They do tours if you’re interested. 165 was a really nice road. We saw several other cyclists, mostly roadie types. They would always smile and wave and looked interested in our set up with all the panniers.
On the side of 165. I drank matcha flavored skratch mix the whole trip and it was awesome. It sort of tastes like iced tea.
We went through Dorado which is a resort area. The roads around there feel kind of jungle-y which I enjoyed. We briefly hopped on highway 2 at Vega Baja but only for a moment. The berm was wide enough for it to be totally fine.
This photo is from 688.
The route headed back to the coast which was lovely, and then around Manati we had to get on 2 again for a short bit. It was very wide and felt perfectly safe. After that we headed north past Barceloneta and back up to the coast for the rest of the way to Arecibo. We stopped at a café right as 684 hits the coast and heads west called Valeria’s Bakery. We stopped there last year, too. The coffee is good, it has a beautiful view of the ocean, and I had a quesito which is a delicious Puerto rican pastry with cheese inside.
Our bikes on the beach across the street from Valeria’s bakery.
Our Airbnb host had texted me that he would meet us. We stayed with him last year and he offered to pick us up in his truck, so I sort of assumed he was in his truck. This year we did not visit Cuevo del Indio, but we did last year and it was gorgeous. It is a great place to stop. There is also a lighthouse in Arecibo.
As we’re biking down 681 I’m keeping my eyes peeled around Cuevo del Indio for our AirBnb host – and I see him and his wife ON BIKES. They rode out 10 miles to greet us and bike the rest of the way to their AirBnb with us! We biked past a massive statue. It is the tallest statue in the United States and its territories, 45 ft taller than the statue of liberty. It has an interesting backstory.
Shortly thereafter we arrived at a really lovely Arecibo AirBnb with Edgardo (the cyclist).
Edgardo and his wife asked to see my route, so I got out my giant map and they looked over it with me.