It has been a long and rainy winter here in the city of Nueva York. This means we sit behind our desks googling every and any place with just a little bit of sunlight. Somewhere along my google search I found a cheap and sunny get away….one cocktail and several clicks later, Ben and I were committed to a long weekend in San Juan.
Day 1 – Cafi, Cultura and Cabs
Upon landing we quickly realize that the country is colluding against us – our quaint little boutique hotel is exactly one mile from the airport (to their credit you never hear the planes in this little beachy and wonderful inlet of Isla Verde) but the fare was about $20. The first thing to know is that San Juan functions by “zones” with fixed flat fares….unless, as we found out later you just call someone on yelp – the fixed flat fare drops by about two dollars ha.
We woke up early and headed into old San Juan the first morning and did a little run through of Fort San Cristobal
Wanting a quick cool down we wandered into town and stopped by Caficultura. I spotted this little gem on foodspotting and foursquare and was definitely not dissapointed. We munched on mallorcas (ham + cheese with powdered sugar #omnomnom) and the most amazing cups of coffee.
Afterwards we did some wandering down by the water and of course stopped by Barrachina “The Birthplace of the Pina Colada”. I thought this was going to be an annoying tourist trap but pleasantly surprised to say it was the most delicious drink, I highly recommend it! More wandering later we made our way back to the hotel.At this point we decided paying for cabs was upsetting so we walked along the beach, stopped for a drink at La Playita. The food there was okay but very overpriced, this is the opposite for drinks so we highly recommend you get the Coco Loco. Everything should be drunk from a coconut.
It was at this point we went on a hike down Calle Loiza…probably a terrible idea especially at night but honestly the first time we actually saw Puerto Rico. We had more fun there than all day in San Juan. We walked all the way to Tresbes, maybe my favorite place we ate at the whole time…kind of Williamsburg-y in its storage container/wood deck set up but delcious food. Below are the tostones and tacos we devoured.
One quick stop to the best grocery store and four miles later, we finally went home for a good nights sleep.
Day 2 – The Oasis in the Dessert and Other Perilous Adventures
We woke up very early per our jobs having programmed us to and spent the morning at the beach. We went to a local bakery and grabbed some food and sunned all morning. The beach. was. beautiful.
Afterwards we decided last night’s adventure was so fun we would embark on another one! What is another four mile walk when we already did one last night? Well……turns out going through the highway and more was not quite as fun. With the sun beating down on us we decided to take a quick
Per the google map below, we walked from Isla Verde down to about Monteflores. It was less than ideal, we then hopped on the metro which was beautiful and new and took it to La Plaza De Americas (the largest mall in the Carribean!) it was great but had a lot of American brands. I usually like going to malls in foreign countries to see their versions of Forever 21 and food courts.
We made our way back to old San Juan for dinner at Raices. This was Ben’s favorite. The waiter showcased the food to the detriment of my face being in the actual photo…so we retook it. Ha.
Day 3 – Ain’t No Forest Like The Rain Forest
Good Morning Beach! More beach time later we got back to the hotel in time for our excursion through Yokahu tours. I try and pick and choose tours when I travel but with transportation included this couldn’t be beat.
First stop – El Yunque Rainforest. We trekked through the rainforest and hiked our way to a waterfall where of course we jumped in to cool off.
After another stop to a second waterfall we stopped by what could be best equated to a road side Puerto Rican food court.
My favorite part and where I’d like to end this post is when we went kayaking in the bio-luminescent bay. We kayaked through a dark creepy channel and soon the water began to glow with water creatures. The best way to describe this is a combination of the It’s a Small World ride at Disney World and the scene from Life of Pi. We couldn’t take pictures being in the kayaks but here are a few snaps from the site.
Goodbye Puerto Rico! See you soonnnnn