:: Aguadilla, PR - aml126
Station/Boat Location~
Air Station Borinquen

Date there~
March 2007 - 2010

It's the Caribbean so it's a tropical marine climate!! There really aren't "seasons" here. The winters cool down by a few degrees and the wind picks up. Absolutely gorgeous. The Spring/Summer brings about the rainy season when it usually rains for a few hours every afternoon and then it more often than not goes back to being sunny. Although the weather is gorgeous, t does bring about lots and lots of mosquitoes. Hurricane season runs from mid summer to the end of November I believe.

Military facilities~
There is a small exchange here, a community center, a pool, a tennis court, and a basketball court. There's also a base gym, a small movie theater that plays older movies, and a small Chapel with Catholic and Protestant church services. There is a small ceramics shop on base as well as a small library largely geared towards children. They have computers with internet access and wireless internet now available which I used a lot when we first moved here and were staying in guest housing. Ft Buchanan Army Base is in San Juan about 2 hours drive time away. They have a large commissary and exchange. The air station Hangar is about 3 minutes away from the housing base. The exchange is directly outside the housing base front gate.

There is a small clinic on the housing base with a pharmacy. There is one doctor, a P.A. and several HS's. There is also a student P.A. that comes from a school in Wisconsin every 2 months. Dental is available on base only for active duty personnel. I've also never heard anything positive about the local hospitals but I also have no personal experience to back this up. I have heard that you need to bring your own sheets and supplies to hospitals here. I think the hardest part would probably be the language barrier. I have to see a civilian OB/GYN for my prenatal visits who I like but the process of getting appointments is not fun at all.

Housing here is old but there is plenty of it. The size you get is dependent on the size of your family and rank I believe. The floors are tile. You need to provide your own washer and dryer and air conditioners. There is a stove and a refrigerator and no dishwashers. We don't have kids so we are in a 2 bedroom unit with a large living room/dining room area and a nice sized kitchen. The tile floor is horrendous but they are re-tiling a lot of the units right now with something much nicer. You are allowed to paint your house any color as long as you either repaint before you move out or provide paint for workers to do it. You will also need to maintain your own yard unless you are living in singles housing in which case all furniture is provided including yard maintenance. Pets are allowed in housing. If you come down here with no pet though it is likely you will leave with one because there is a HUGE problem with stray animals on this island and it's really hard to turn your back. We came with 1 dog and now have 2.

Kmart, Amigo Grocery store, Super Coop Grocery stores, Sam's club, Wal-Mart about 20 minutes away. There are outlets about an hour away with some good stores in it. The best shopping is in San Juan. There is also a mall in Mayaguez about 45 minutes away with a JC Penny, Sears, Wal-Mart, Old Navy, Marshalls, and a Borders. Plaza Las Americas is a huge mall in San Juan.

Child Care/Schools~
There is a CDC on base and the base kids go to the Ramey School but that's about all the info I have on that. I know they wear uniforms. Some people on base home school.

Adult Schools~
University of PR has an Aguadilla Campus but classes are provided in Spanish. A lot of people do online classes. A lot of the online schools are willing to work around the frequent power outages on the island.

Fun Activities~
Beautiful beaches, surfing, snorkeling, mountains in the center of the island, waterfalls, Guajataca Lake, farmers market in San Sebastian on Fridays, Kite Surfing, hiking, fishing, restaurants (Cocina Creativa is one of my personal favorites), kayaking, soccer, different festivals, Old San Juan, parasailing, scuba diving, whale watching, easy access to other Caribbean islands, camping at Vieques or Culebra, and much much more. There is so much to get into here if you're willing to go look for it. It's a lot of fun here!

Additional Info~
There are pizza places on every corner here, lol. Don't be afraid to try the food trucks or stands you see on the side of the road, use your best judgment of course but you can get some really good food at those. PR is definitely an experience that you have to be open to! It's a very laid back slow lifestyle. They don't call this "station vacation" for nothing. Driving can be challenging on the nerves and patience here but there's almost always someone willing to tag along for the ride. The Aguadilla (BQN) airport is less than 5 minutes from the housing base and shares a runway with the USCG hangar.

Homeport PR

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