A little less than a month ago, my husband William and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in Puerto Rico. We had an amazing time and did a fair amount of activities that in the end, left us delighted with the trip and with the way we spent our time in Puerto Rico. That feeling of accomplishment has motivated me to share our experiences on the blog, so here it goes.
First, my perception of Puerto Rico: I personally think that PR is very underrated as a tourist destination, especially by US citizen. I might be wrong, but places like Hawaii, Las Vegas, Los Angeles or Miami are always higher on the list. For me, Puerto Rico really is a “hidden” gem, and God, I’m happy I was able to visit! Long story short, this place is like nowhere else in the United States, full of Latin culture (like the real culture!), Hispanic history, Caribbean vibes and AMAZING FOOD. Next time you are planning a vacation do yourself a favor and consider Puerto Rico.
Now, some things you might want to know:
- Puerto Rico is USA territory. If you live in the United States you don’t need a passport to visit – just your Driver’s License or ID.
- Compared to other destinations in the US, Puerto Rico is very affordable. Here’s an example (based on our experience): while in Hawaii renting a jet sky for half an hour can cost in average $150 USD, in Puerto Rico you can rent one for the same amount of time for approximately $80 USD. Another example: renting a beach chair for the entire day is only $4 USD. Food is also more affordable, as well as transportation (we took Uber all the time).
- The areas that we visited were very safe and a lot of people speak English.
- Yelp is not that popular in Puerto Rico so many businesses aren’t listed there. If you go, keep that in mind so you are not stuck thinking that there’s only one restaurant close by.
WHERE WE STAYED:
When we booked this trip we had no idea about anything. We have a time share so our hotel options were limited. Luckily enough, the hotel we picked was located in what’s consider one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico: Isla Verde in Carolina. The water was beautiful and the sand super soft. Besides that, location wise it was very convenient because there were a lot of restaurants, bars and drug stores within walking distance. Definitely a HIT 😊 .
WHAT WE ATE:
Guys, I’m going to be very direct here. If you go to Puerto Rico you are going to eat a lot and well! Mofongo is probably the most popular Puerto Rican dish and it is a must for every visitor. I fell in love with the chicken mofongo at Alambique Beach Lounge. Their food in general is delicious and the beach vibe of the place is very cool!
Another place that I want to recommend is Punto de Vista, a beautiful roof top restaurant located in Old San Juan. Their specialty: authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. I ordered the Ropa Boricua with Arroz con Gandules, and William the pork mofongo. Everything was exquisite. We finished our lunch with their tres leches cake – William’s favorite!
Now, this is not Puerto Rican food but I have to mention this place because it’s just one of God’s greatest gifts. Los Chamos Arepas is all about Venezuelan fast food. Do you know that classic movie scene where the person is in prison, ready to be executed and the guards bring him/her their last meal? Well, my choice would be Los Chamos Arepas. We had the pork arepas and the empanada sampler… both life changing. I could’ve eaten three arepas and two empanada samplers by myself, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of my husband LOL. Oh, and their mango juice is an elixir of life.
Last but not least, I can’t post this without mentioning Oceano, in Condado. We had our one-year anniversary dinner at this place and everything was perfect. The restaurant is located by the beach, so a beautiful view is guaranteed. The service is excellent and the food simply amazing. My personal recommendation: order the churrasco eggrolls for appetizers. Those eggrolls are in my top five of best things I’ve ever eaten.
WHAT WE DRANK:
This is easy: If you drink alcohol, please, choose cocktails over beer! I’m definitely a beer person, but there’s something about the way cocktails are made in Puerto Rico that makes them just ridiculously delicious. Anything that has passion fruit or guava in it is a must! Also, as you probably know, Rum is the most popular alcohol in Puerto Rico so… no excuses.
WHAT WE DID:
Snorkeling at Culebra: this is a trip that’s pretty much mandatory to book. The island is located east to Puerto Rico and it hosts one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world (literally) – Flamenco Beach. We booked the Culebra Day Trip by catamaran with Viator and it was perfect. The tour included transportation, open bar, lunch, snacks and the snorkeling equipment. The boat was clean and spacious, and the crew provided an excellent service. I wont spoil the amazing experience, but the only thing i’ll say is don’t leave Puerto Rico without visiting Culebra.
Zip Lining at El Yunque National forest: El Yunque is the only tropical forest in the United States. It’s highly recommended to hike in this forest, but we decided to do zip lining instead (just to change it up from other trips we’ve done). It was a very fun experience and we got to see a lot of Puerto Rico’s beautiful nature. We zipped lined at Yunque Zip Lining and we had a great time! The experience included a short hike, some rappelling and of course, the zip lining. The crew was very friendly and professional; they taught us a lot about the forest and the fauna that lives there. I highly recommend the experience, especially for families with kids!
Old San Juan: this was probably my favorite part of the trip. First, we visited San Felipe del Morro Castle. There’s no better way to learn the history of Puerto Rico than walking through this structure. The architecture is amazing and the view is nothing I can describe with words. After that, we walked Old San Juan, which has a very Hispanic colonial look, full of color and good vibes. It’s a beautiful place to spend the afternoon taking pictures and enjoying the island’s authentic food. Definitely a MUST.
La Placita de Santurce: this is something you probably won’t find if you google “things to do in Puerto Rico”. We actually found out about La Placita thanks to an Uber driver who suggested it during the classic “what else should we do in PR” conversation. Basically, La Placita is the best way to experience authentic Puerto Rican night life. Picture an entire street block full of people having fun, dancing salsa, having local beer and eating Puerto Rican street food. The only two things you need to know are: best days to visit are Thursdays to Sundays after 6:30 pm, and no kids allowed.
Beach and Pool days: we spent our “days off” hanging out at the pool of our hotel and the beach. As I mentioned before, Puerto Rico is relatively inexpensive, so you might want to take advantage of that and do activities in the ocean like jet skying, parasailing, paddle boarding or even, riding the banana boat LOL.
My husband put together a clip with some footage that we recorded while being in Puerto Rico. If you are interested in seeing more of our experience, click below.
Thank you for reading!
Side note: none of the business mentions are sponsored or paid. This is a very personal post and I’m recommending based on my experience.