Your Guide to Puerto Rico in 7 days
My new husband and I stayed on Condado Beach using Airbnb.com. We had a lovely studio overlooking the beach at half the cost of the chain hotels next to us! I will admit, we slept the whole first 2 days after arriving. Weddings are no joke! Now, we were rested for the remainder of our “Puerto Rico in 7 days” adventure!
The third day we headed around the city of Condado to explore what our neighborhood held. One of our favorite restaurants was Ropa Vieja-West on Ashford if you are at the beach. They had the best pulled pork, stuffed plantains on the island! Another great find, practically across the street from us, was Small Bar. It was indeed a small bar with a hole-in-the wall atmosphere. They had 100 beers available, mostly bottled or canned. This is the bar to try craft beers and fish tacos. Of course, if you are a porter or stout drinker like we are, you may want to stick with the rum in Puerto Rico. They pride themselves on their light beers-modelos and coronas a plenty.
We found that the taxis were outrageously priced and all varied depending upon the drivers. However, the autobus was $0.75 per person (exact change) ! The bus was air conditioned, timely, and could also take you to Old San Juan. We found the beach too gorgeous and golden in color. Our sand cloud towels added a festive flair to paradise.
Day 4 we headed to Old San Juan. We walked along the old city’s walls and peered off the cliffs into the sweeping waters below. We visited numerous churches and plazas, and hiked up and down the colorful cobblestone streets. What an amazing sight! This is what I pictured of Puerto Rico. While strolling we were caught in a massive rain storm and took refuge in a coffee shop. We met other honeymooners doing the same. I love meeting other travelers!
Places of interest here: Punta del Vista-Best fish tacos on the island, Old Harbor Brewery, El Morra, San Cristobal, Parrot club-super colorful, Bacardi plant, Casa Blanca-for the name alone, and Cafe Puerto Rico-cute little coffee shop (do yourself a favor and buy a pound of coffee to take home. We only regret we didn’t bring home more).
We spent the evening exploring the “Plaza Las Americanas” which is the largest shopping mall Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. There were 300+ stores, numerous food courts, and breathtaking blown glass art throughout. Puerto Ricans are proud of their country and presentation matters in this culture, that being said, they were always dressed to the night. There were no pajama pants and flip flops here-so you know, look presentable. On the taxi ride home our driver decided to dupe the tourists by taking alternate routes. After stopping on a dead end street like something out of a horror movie, I snapped! I let him know that we were not where we asked him to take us and, in fact, our street was 2 blocks away-all in Spanish! BOOM! Who’s the tourist now? To end the night we had beers with a side of live music and dancing at La Mira.
Day 5, up bright and early to grab a rental car and head to Fajardo and El Yunque rainforest for a day of adventure. From Condado take route #26 to #66 to #3 to 955 on the right and follow the signs to the El Yunque visitors center. It is $4 a person to enter but there are fresh bathrooms and detailed maps to get you started. BRING BUG SPRAY and maybe a rain jacket or clothes that dry easily! La Coca Falls is the first small water feature you come upon as it is right on the road. Next sight was Torre Yokahu or Yokahu tower-a little bit of a hike but you can see the beaches from the top of the tower! Next we followed signs to La Mina falls. We picnicked here and went for a swim. The water is freezing but it is a must! Bring a towel and waterproof camera of sorts.
Mount Britton tower is about a 22 minute hike from La Mina falls but was our main goal of the venture. Once you catch your breath from the steep hike, be prepared to lose it when you see the view from the top! Breathtaking! Coming up the steps of the tower there is lush green vegetation but to the right you can begin to make out Luquillo beach. Follow the view around until you can’t make out the beach anymore and you are staring at the peak of El Yunque.As you complete this circle you will see another beach. Now you have seen the whole Northeast side of Puerto Rico! Amazing! Looking deeply into my new husband’s eyes in that moment, we realized we get to do all of this for the rest of our lives and this was just the beginning!
Onward we scurried, down the rain forest and back to the rental. We headed down Luquillo beach to the 60+ kiosks awaiting our dinner plans. We chose #20 for some scrumptious and well-earned Mofongo. After dinner it was straight to Fajardo for night time kayaking on a bio luminescent bay–our favorite part of the trip! We used Pure Adventure and the 2 guides were hilarious. We coupled into our kayak and paddled among the mangroves with 15 other couples to await nightfall. We watched the sunset between palm trees as we were in the middle of the serene bay. WOW! (Sadly the only picture of that amazing view is at the bottom of that bay on my husband’s phone)
Once night fell, we were instructed to run our fingers in the water (I know I was a bit freaked out-but I did it). The water glowed at the touch my hands! This is from the micro organisms that feed in the water. The glow is their way of saying back off! Don’t worry they don’t bite! This is a must if you do not do anything else in Puerto Rico.
As Day 6 approached we were still exhausted from our activities beforehand. We spontaneously kept the car for another day and road tripped the island. We headed South to Ponce and the Coffee farms, through winding mountains, and then west to catch the sunset of Aguadilla on Crash boat beach, before heading back to Condado! Stay on PR-22 coming back; like seriously!
Lots of driving, getting lost, museums, random eats, beer, and quality time-a win in our book.
Day 7-On our last day in PR, we redeemed ourselves in Old San Juan. Previously the rain postponed our Bacardi Plant plans but not today. The sun was shining and we were ready for our rum adventure! The bartenders are wonderful! Grab a mojito as you wait for your golf cart to take you through the plant. At the end of our tour we each had 2 free drink tickets to use. Make friends with the bartenders beforehand because we ended up with 7 free drinks before it was over! While Bacardi is popular in the USA it is NOT the rum choice of Puerto Ricans. Don Q is their jam and they will let you know it! Both are yummy to me. We happily headed back to the mainland and finished exploring El Morro.
What a great place to go on a Saturday because all of the families were picnicking and flying kites together! We felt like the locals.
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Where will you travel to next?⇓ (How about Puerto Rico?)
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