Sunday, November 6, 2011

PUERTO RICO...the rich port

I'm so excited about my best friend Kai's 2012 wedding...and now that the days are short and cold, I'm super excited about her upcoming bachelorette party (still 4 months away, but a girl can dream, right?!). We've been tossing around a few locations, with San Juan, PR being the front runner. I loooooveeeeee San Juan, like FOR REAL. Let me just list a few reasons why you should consider SJU when you're looking for a quick getaway this winter.
photo by D.Jamaal
1) You don't need a passport....Now tsk tsk if you haven't at least started on your passport application, but in the event you haven't no worries here...Puerto Rico is a US Territory, therefore as a U.S citizen, all you need is your drivers license to get there!

2) Getting to P.R is not terribly expensive...I would even say "cheap". I've never spent more than $250 on a ticket to San Juan (and that was from NY). Delta and AirTran seem to always have $99 one way deals to SJU (so make sure to set up those email alerts). I've spent the same amount going to Miami and let's face it, San Juan has better beaches and lacks the "suspect" crowd you can sometimes find in Miami (think Memorial Day Weekend...blegh).

3) El Yunque National Rainforest! I've probably mentioned that I'm not really the "outdoorsy" type, but El Yunque makes me feel like I'm at one with nature. This 28,000 acre rainforest is filled with trails, waterfalls, rivers and lush foliage. El Yunque is a me...this from a girl allergic to scared of all things outdoors.
photo by D.Jamaal

photo by D.Jamaal
4) The FOOD;-) Heavily influenced by the Tainos, Spanish and the Africans, the Puerto Rican cuisine is filled with yummyness. Mofongo, Arepas and Bacalaitos are amongst my PuertoRican faves, but there is definitely something for everyone. My last time in San Juan, an American expat clued my group and I into a neighborhood called Pinones. We were warned to only go in the day because the neighborhood is "rough", but being the bad asses we are (plus we had guys: one giant and one military) we took our chances. Soooo happy we did!!! There were stalls on the street side filled with fried some points I didn't even know what I was eating. After 15 minutes of intense gluttony, we moved on to a sit down restaurant named Soleil Beach Club. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! We pretty much ate in silence, besides the occasional slurp and burp ;-) Whether it's street food or fancy are sure to be satisfied.
photo by D.Jamaal
Pinones - photo by D.Jamaal
5) Rum ;-) Subway, the freaking sandwich spot, sells Pina Coladas. There is absolutely no shortage of rum in P.R and you'll soon find that there really is NOTHING wrong with starting your morning off with a rum concoction! You can NOT go to San Juan without hitting up the Bacardi Factory. If you've ever been on the World of Coke tour in Atlanta...picture the grown up version. The tour takes you through the process of making rum and the history of the Bacardi family, but for me, the highlight is the two cocktails you get at the end of the tour #DontJudgeMe!

6) The Beach...If you're a water sign like me (Cancers RULE)'re totally at home at the beach. I recommend Luquillo Beach for families or groups that want to veg out or even picnic on the white sand. Luquillo is about 20 minutes from San Juan city center so you'll definitely need a car, but it's sooo worth it. For those that want to flex those bikini bods, Isla Verde is your spot. Filled with the "pretty people" and backyard to the nicer hotels and nightclubs...Isla Verde is definitely not the beach for the "t-shirt over bathing suit" look (and shame on you if you do that anywhere). Aviators, iPod, Pina Colada in hand and a spf4/shea butter mix to get that perfect tan...nuff said!
Hopefully, I gave you enough reasons to start your research. Per LeVar Burton, don't take my word for it. For the sake of time (sorry "fall back" time change is killing me), my list only glossed over San Juan, but know that the attractions are endless. You can go out to west PR for some of the best beaches for surfing, party at the best reggaeton and salsa clubs, take a day trip to The U.S Virgin Islands, or even spend a few days on the rustic low key outer island, Vieques. With your girls or a boo, either way Puerto Rico is a goooood look ;-)


Expatriate Tax Return said...

Looked like you had a great time! I love San Juan! The fort there is just amazing!

Natty Boom-Boom said...

Nice! Too bad my trip fell through. Must try again soon