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  • tiffanypriscilla15

Puerto Rico

"Puerto Rico, my heart's devotion, let it rise above the ocean". Okay fine I changed the West Side Story lyric sue me, but for good reason. Puerto Rico is one of the most beautiful and enchanting islands I have ever been too. I am part Puerto Rican but no bias here. It truly is an Island that has something for everyone. Whether you are nature lover, a dancer, or a recline on the beach with a pina colada in an actual pina (pineapple in spanish) perron, then you will find something here for you. There are multiple cities on this Island with so much to offer but I am going to go over a few of my favorite hotspots for you. Also of course the usual where to stay and transportation.


Hotspots:

-El Yunque National Park: This is the rainforest on the Island. Unreasonably beautiful and breathtaking. Many of the hikes here are extremely difficult and dangerous but not to worry, they still have some that are easy. El Yunque has undergone amazing reforestation since Hurricane Maria. It honestly looks like nothing touched it. Granted it was the governments focus to restore this first. Keep in mind that since the pandemic, you need a reservation now for all except two of the hiking trails. They open the day before your desired dates at 8am Puerto Rico time. You can make you reservations here:

Now the two hikes that do not require reservations are Puente Roto and Angelito Trail. I had no interest in Puente Roto as it is moderate to difficult and I was travelling with family. Angelito however was the perfect trail for me. A gorgeous lush green hike down to a refreshing river that you can swim in. All the negative energy was taken from me upon entering as you honestly feel you are entering another world. Make sure you pack a swimsuit, water shoes, mud/water resistance hiking boots, mosquito spray, and sunscreen. There are a lot of rocks in the river and can become quite painful to climb and walk on without shoes Water is pretty deep so please do not enter if you don't know how to swim. Try and get here early because it does get quite crowded throughout the day. Less crowds = more silence which means a happy Tiff and I am sure a happy you. Check this quote out that sums it up it for me:


"Silence is the root of everything. If you spiral into its void, a hundred voices will thunder messages you long to hear" -Rumi







-Luqillo: Okay first of all.....this place is adorable. With a quaint beach front strip of restaurants and souvenir shops, it's a great stop after your excursions in El Yunque. Keep in mind though, this can turn into a party center rather quickly as there are a lot of bars with really good drink specials. Still family friendly though, you can get authentic Puerto Rican eats here and pina coladas the size of a jug. They serve alotttttttt of food. So portion size is shareable for most of the places here. Plus you can get great souvenirs to take home to your friends and family. The beach is beautiful too. Parking is a nightmare but just be patient.



-Orocovis: Orocovis is in the countryside but is also home to a ziplining place "El Toro" that beholds "The Monster" a.k.a the biggest zipline in the Americas. Yes you lay flat and reach a flight speed of 152.8km/h. You fly above the birds and the grounds of untouched rainforest lands. Absolutely gorgeous. Bring a Go Pro. They offer to take video and photos for you but I found it was very dark and not high quality. You actually forget to scream once you reach this beautiful landscape. When I went, it was 2021 and they required a vaccination a card for entrance as well as a mask. I do not think they do so still but please call to check. The drive up here is beautiful too. PS: eat at a nearby restaurant called La Sombra for the best Longaniza (puerto rican suasgae) and authentic PR cooking!



-Old San Juan: Literally the capital and the place where everything happens. Parties, nightclubs, beach days, bars, street performers, restaurants, salsa dancing, history, you name it the list goes on for here. At Christmastime the government has started to do a lovely spectacle for cerebration of Christmas and Family right in front of their version of the white house. As you roam these streets you feel taken back in time by the old Spanish conquistador architecture and vibe. The San Juan lagoon is a great place to Kayak and Paddleboard and you may get to see a few manatees if not a lot of people are on the water. I also highly recommend the beach next to the Hilton Hotel since there are not to many waves there and they let you place the beach chairs right in the water. For the best Ice Cream known to man, check out Anita. The line will be out the door but its worth it. Also located here is El Morro. The old fort from the conquistadors. You need to visit at least once. The botanical gardens are a must and you literally feel like you are walking in Alice in Wonderland. Such a beautiful land. There is so much to see here that I could list all in a separate blog but honestly, you need to go explore yourself and see what calls to you.







Other Hotpots:

-Rincon: I've heard they have great art and music festivals here. I have not had a chance to go but I have heard great reviews!

-Ponce: Unreal beaches and great history

-Isabella: Gorgeous beach and greenery. Great spot for whales too when it's season

-Santurce: A lot of nightlife

-Arecibo: Telescope is no longer there but I believe the center may still be open. A few hiking trails are nearby too.

-Culbera and Vieques: Okay if you get here before me let me know how it is. Its unbelievably crystal clear turquoise waters and voted best beaches in the world. My cousins say Vieques is less touristy than Culebra. The ferry to here is by reservation only.

-Fajardo: GO TO THE BIOLUMINESCENT KAYAKING.


Tip: If you are in the Bayamon area, (I usually stay here because that's where the family is) check out these two local restaurants that you can't find anywhere else:


-Chaplin: Literally a restaurant decorated with everything Charlie Chaplin. Great food, massive portions, and great mimosas


-Hacienda Carion: Beautiful restaurant, great for a quick breakfast


Where to Stay and Transportation:

-Stay wherever you want because I always stay with family when I go. Keep in mind that places in the country side can be almost two hours away from the capital and you do not want to be there when it gets dark. If you want to travel to Rincon which is on the other side of the Island from San Juan, that's a 4 hour drive and you should get a hotel there.

-You will need a car to get around the Island. I always recommend Turo but Ubers/Lyfts and readily available in most of the metropolitan cities.


All in all, Puerto Rico changes you. You come to realize how important it is to slow down in life and live by the "Esta Bien" attitude. No worries no cares its like a Spanish version of Hakuna Matata. Live, dance, be free, and enjoy yourself.


Buen Viaje,


Tiff

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