Friday, September 6, 2013

Hey I'm Going to Puerto Rico

*Every once in a while I'll get an e-mail from a friend, like hey I'm going to (Paris, Puerto Rico, NYC ect.) what do you recommend, so I think I'm going to try to turn these e-mails into some sort of organized list of suggestions/ideas for their trip...and yours too, so here is my second
Some things to know...
Puerto Rico is awesome...especially in the winter when it's freezing cold in Chicago. It's also going to be cheap to get there if you live in the mid west, east coast, or south east, and you don't even need a passport, or to exchange money (if your American)

Where to Stay-for PR you have 3 choices: City Options stay in San Juan, tons of cute places on Air B&B for Old San Juan. Beach Options I've stayed in Ocean Park which is just outside of San Juan, and further down in Luquillo about 45 min by car from San Juan, or Fajardo which is about an hr. Whatever you chose the drive will be crazy beautiful down PR 1 the coastal HWY. I've also stayed in La Parguera on the SW side of the island.  Rain Forest Option El Yunque baby (el joon kay), I've never actually stayed in El Yunque or San Juan but I've visited and it seems like a decent choice. me? I'm always at the beach, either way, you can drive from 1 end of the island to the other in 2 hrs, so don't sweat it if you chose wrong.

What to Do-first and foremost get a car, rent one at the airport, taxis are expensive and sure you may see buses around San Juan but you'll also spend a few hrs waiting for the heat... Driving in PR is just like driving in the states. So grab your car, pick up some cerveza, find your place, drop your bags, and if you're me jump into the ocean. Plan on spending 1 day in Old San Juan, walk to Plaza de Armas, visit all the little shops, don't miss El Castillo the 16th century citadel, and stop for a respado on the way (Caribbean slushy). Caficultura is the hip stop to grab a coffee, and Cafe Puerto Rico has the best mofongo (plaintain mound stuffed with veggies or seafood), and Ceviche House in Isla Verde is a new stop for the best Peruvian ceviche. The Design Sponge guide might help with more restaurants and shopping. When it's too hot to hit the pavement check out the Puerto Rican Art Museum it's big, air conditioned, has lovely art, and beautiful gardens! If you're staying in Ocean Park or passing through to get to Luquillo stop at Kasalta, the famous Spanish (Galician) cafe.

Heading to La Parguera- this could also be a day trip as it's only 2 hrs away and you'll drive through Ponce and the mountains. we planed on it just being a day, but loved it so we stayed the night.  La Paguera is where you can get a boat out to isla mata la gata I could see why it was called "kill the cat" because I for sure didn't see any cats. It really means nurse shark, but I didn't see any sharks either so don't freak out, just mangroves, fish, star fish, urchins, turquoise seas, coral etc.
If you spend 1 day in Old San Juan you should plan on another day for the rain forest, El Yunque is BEAUTIFUL there are hikes to waterfalls (or you can drive right up) and once your at the tippy top of the mountain, you can see all the way to the coast over the tree canopy. You could also head to the caves in Rio Camuy, they are crazy impressive (here's a video tour).While we're on the topic of nature there's some weird stuff happening in the water in PR it's called bio-luminescence like glowing plankton. and when the water is agitated after dark, it will glow, if you put your hands in and out of the water they will sparkle. Go to Fajardo to do one of the many bio-bay tours, where you'll kayak at sunset through mangroves to reach the bio bay, for's crazy, disclaimer: you will have to kayak back through the mangroves in pitch black...just so you know.  I've never been to "the islands" Vieques or Culebra I've heard they're pretty sweet, and it's on my list for next time...

Eat Drink Be Merry- PR is all about Rum, Pina Coladas, mofongo, alcapurrias, the best sea food, PORK...seriously so much pork (my bother in law made us go to Lechonera Los Pinos all the way in Cayey since it was featured on Anthony a vegetarian all I can say is that the drive was beautiful through the mountains) If you are staying in Luquillo well then you're in luck, the kioskos are where it's at (kiosko=puerto rican strip of vendor stalls) there are bars and restaurants of all kinds fancy, dive-y, posh, lesbiana, fried, vegetarian ect. Here is a whole blog post devoted to all things KIOSKO

Disclaimer...PR is an unincorporated territory of the US the official language is SPANISH so please memorize the following:
Hola and say it every time you walk into a place, Gracias when you leave or you know...just to say thanks, and lo siento and no one will ever be rude to you
busco-I'm looking for
yo quería-I would like
cuánto cuesta- how much does it cost
and because it's the ocean just to be safe: medusas-jelly fish, tiburón-shark, piratas-pirates
 *these are bonus.

feliz viaje, have an awesome time!! 


Samantha Scarlett Phoenix said...

Oh gosh reading this post makes me want to pack my bags and take off!! Gah, I need a vacation!!!! Love your pictures!


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Dianne said...

Ohhhh I want to go too!

mandaelyse said...

This is perfect! Evan and I have been talking about going to PR next year. Thanks for the tips!

its all over now baby blue said...

I just did the bio Bay in Vieques! Awesome and terrifying! I blogged it in our travel blog if you wanna waste some time. Xo

rae said...

Thank you for the guide I asked for! If you go to to Culebra let me know.