I love traveling. The planning, the packing, the food, the culture, the scenery, I can’t even decide where to begin. Let me start by saying that since my trip to Las Vegas three years ago, I promised myself I’d travel to two new places every year. Whether domestic or international, one hour versus eight hours, it didn’t matter. So far, I think I’ve kept my promise.
This year, I decided to visit Puerto Rico, specifically for Old San Juan. The color palettes and cobble streets of the city already convinced me to visit (I’m a pretty big sucker for these things). So for Memorial Day weekend, my boyfriend and I packed our bags and headed to San Juan.
First stop, car rental kiosk! If you’re planning a number of excursions or would like to travel out of Old San Juan, definitely rent a car. I think it was well worth the price (minus the crazy PR drivers), especially when these excursions charge mostly for transportation. We picked up our cute, white hatchback and settled into our hotel. We stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the hotel, but it was decent for the amount we paid.
I won’t go into every detail of my trip, but I’ll definitely point out the highlights! We spent our first day around the Santurce neighborhood. Many parts of it were run down, but we did manage to find a couple of cool art museums. What I liked most was the use of their outdoor space. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the outdoor garden from the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. It was filled with koi fish, lilypads, and greenery that it made the heat so much more bearable with the view!
On our second day, we hiked the El Yunque Rainforest, which was probably my favorite part of the trip. The views were phenomenal and I don’t think my camera really caught the beauty of it all. After nearly five hours of hiking, we made it to the top and back and managed to meet some locals who gave us so many more recommendations (PRian’s are so sweet). Of course, when we made it back to the car, we were famished and ready to feast.
Unfortunately, the next day, we weren’t able to wake up early enough to catch the ferry to Gilligan’s Island. If you’re planning for PR, I would highly suggest you to go to one of their many islands! Instead, we spent the day exploring the city of Ponce. We visited the Castillo Serrallés, former residence of a sugar plantation owner, and was able to catch a view overlooking the city. To end the night, we also took a stroll down La Guancha Boardwalk. It was a very romantic setting, with the sunset and glow of lights from the restaurants and vendors.
On our last full day, we drove to Las Cavernas del Río Camuy. I would suggest going early so that the wait time for your ticket number to be called for the trolley would not be as long. We arrived as the park opened and were part of the first tour of the day. The cave was beau-ti-ful (again, my camera did not do it justice). Our tour guide did a great job of telling us the history and showing us certain features of the cave. We even got to see a couple of dead baby bats (sad face)!
For lunch, we decided to try Los Chamos Arepas in Isla Verde. This was most definitely one of my favorite foods we had in PR! I would highly recommend eating at this hidden gem. It’s tucked between a busy road across from the beach and they serve right out of their little shack. It was a slight wait (not really) for our food, but well worth it! I need to take better photos of my food on my next trip! Other food favorites on this trip were the yucca fries from Sabor y Rumba and the mofongo from Terruño.
We spent the last day exploring Old San Juan before our flight at night. Our first stop, even before coffee or breakfast, was La Puerta de la Bandera. I don’t think the trip would’ve been complete without snapping an Instagram photo here! Surprisingly, there weren’t many people there, even when we visited the night prior. After a long day of tanning (burning really), we ended our five days in PR.
Thanks for tuning in for my first post! Also, many thanks to my friend and boyfriend for encouraging me to share my adventures with you all! I hope it inspires you to break out of your comfort zones, forget about the expenses, and go out and explore! Until next time (hopefully, very soon)!