The Eye of the Water Village

When I was in high school, one of my best friends who had recently moved to Aguadilla from San Juan told me she couldn’t understand why her parents wanted to leave the metropolitan area to live in a rural town where nothing was going on. At first, she hated the idea of moving there, but it didn’t take long for her to realize that Aguadilla is a great place to live. Her parents bought a house that was on a cliff, facing a spectacular view of the ocean. We used to go horseback riding from their home to Borinquen Beach, and all of what used to be Ramey Base.

Many of my relatives or friends who lived in San Juan would rather spend their vacations with us. Meeting at Crashboat Beach was the thing to do. Besides sun tanning, body surfing, diving from the pier, playing paletas (paddle-ball), and snorkeling;  the picturesque beach had many kiosks with food, as well as cantinas, (cheap restaurants) with native food. We would be there until sunset, sometimes going for a boat ride throughout Aguadilla’s beautiful beaches.

Crash Boat, Aguadilla

Crash Boat, Aguadilla

Nestled in the northwestern coastal valley of the island, Aguadilla is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.  Its name derives from a Taíno Indian name, Guadiya, meaning garden. Known as La Villa del Ojo (the eye of water village), the stunning scenery borders the rural and small town with a crystal sea. Distinguished by their white sands and deep blue clear waters; Crash Boat, Wilderness and Gas Chambers are considered the best beaches for surfing.

The historic town square, called Plaza de Recreo, is located right on the edge of a beautiful bay. Located right across from the plaza, the mayor’s house and the ancient Cathedral complement the court with their Spanish architecture. Only a few minutes walking distance, El Ojo de Agua (the eye of water), a beautiful garden also known as Parterre, is a natural spring and ancient source of water used during the Spanish colonization.

Aguadilla

Parque Colón, Aguadilla

Aguadilla

Mayor’s House, Aguadilla

Parque Colón, named after Christopher Columbus, is on the shoreline of the beach. The public park is considered to be one of the two sites where the Spaniards first landed on the island on November 19, 1493. A playground, Banyan tree house, monuments, food kiosks, recreational and picnic areas are available for the entire family to have a splendid time. Colegio San Carlos, the school I attended, is a few blocks from the park. We spent our field days on the baseball field right next to Parque Colón. I remember being able to go to the beach on my lunch break, which was only steps away from the school. So many wonderful memories!

Parque Colón, Aguadilla

Parque Colón, Aguadilla

Aguadilla

Parque Colón, Aguadilla

Depending where you live, you may be able to fly to the international airport, named after the famous composer, Rafael Hernández. Known as the second biggest airport in the country and the largest runway of the Caribbean, it was built during the Second World War, as part of the Ramey Air Force Base and became a property of Puerto Rico in 1973.

Las Cascadas is the biggest water park in the Caribbean, listed as one of the best ten in the world and a fun place to go with your family. So for being a small and rural town, there is plenty to do. The driving distance from the metropolitan area is about two hours. I like it better than San Juan because besides the traffic being less congested, the town is hundreds of feet above sea level, refreshing you a pleasant breeze, even on a hot day. If you want to be surrounded by a stunning view, watching the most splendors sunsets while you eat, going for walks at night, indulging in a glowing sky with bright stars and relaxing in beaches with calm waters, Aguadilla welcomes you.

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