Puerto Rico…you were amazing! (Part 1)

I just returned from a week vacation in Puerto Rico and, WOW…if you’ve never been to Puerto Rico you need to add this to your destination locations! I fell in love with this country from the moment the plane landed. The weather was hot, humid, and sunny and that was what I signed up for, a tropical vacation. I will be writing a few more posts about the specific adventures that I went on in the upcoming weeks but this is the snap shot of my trip and the details of Day 1:

Day 0:  Arrive Puerto Rico

Day 1: Tour Old San Juan, Beach Day

Day 2: Stand Up Paddle boarding, El Yunque Rain Forest

Day 3: Catamaran/Snorkeling Tour, Flamenco Beach, Bio Bay

Day 4: Aventuras Tierra Adentro Caving Adventure

Day 5: NOTHING, Beach Day

Day 6: Old San Juan, Acai Bowl, Beach Day

Day 7: Beach Morning, Leave Puerto Rico

Upon arrival, we picked up our rental car (definitely get a rental car if you are planning on doing anything outside of the touristy areas of Condado Beach, Old San Juan and Isla Verde) and headed to our HomeAway rental, located in Loiza (just a short drive, up the beautiful coast, from the airport).  We got settled in, went to the beach (our own private beach, as part of the home stay), had a nice dinner in the condo and relaxed as we prepared for the full week ahead of us.

Old San Juan   Old San Juan 2

(Old San Juan buildings and architecture) 

The following morning we made plans to explore Old San Juan and experience the culture and food. Once we finally found parking we found out that two cruise ships had docked and the area was filled with tourists and the typical tourist trap vendor that comes along with a cruise port location.

Crusie Ships

Instead of hanging out with the cruise tourists, we went to the Castillo de San Cristobal & Fort San Juan de la Cruz, which are parts of the San Juan National Historic Site. The San Juan National Historic Site (World Heritage Site) is comprised of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal, most of the city walls, the San Juan Gate and Fort San Juan de la Cruz just across the entrance to the bay. The Spanish spent over 250 years fortifying the prized location of Puerto Rico, since through it Spain controlled all access in and out of the Caribbean. I enjoyed learning about the history of Puerto Rico and was glad that I had the opportunity to see this site.

Fort   Fort with cannonballs

(Fort San Juan de la Cruz)

Lunch was at a little restaurant, Palmas Restaurant on Calle San Sebastian, we just happened to stumble upon. I knew going into this trip, the prize dish of Puerto Rico is Mofongo.  Mofongo is a fried, mashed plantain dish that is stuffed with meat and cooked with garlic and olive oil. Since I HATE bananas I was extremely hesitant to try the Mofongo. So, I ordered chicken and rice (the best chicken and rice I’ve ever had).  However, my friend ordered the Mofongo so I was able to try it and surprisingly, I actually enjoyed it.  It tasted nothing like bananas!

Chicken-N-Rice and Mofongo

(Chicken & Rice and Mofongo)

After lunch we decided we needed to have a beach afternoon so we headed back to our condo and spent that afternoon in the ocean and on the sand. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect first full day in Puerto Rico.

Private Beach 2  Beth and Ariel

(My own private beach; The Adventure Bunny and Ariel 🙂 )

Up next Day 2:  My Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) Day (a MAJOR highlight of my trip)!!!

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