Puerto Rico

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Good evening! I have been sharing tidbits of some of my trips over the last few years, but I'd like to make travel posts a permanent feature here on the blog. 

My husband and I love to travel. New sights, new smells, new tastes (I sound like Anthony Bourdain).  We haven't been lucky in the baby department so instead we've focused our attention on each other and traveling the globe. I'm exceedingly thankful to have had these new experiences, this ongoing adventure with my life partner. For the past few weeks I've edited a lot of the pictures from our most recent trip to Central Europe, but I'm not quite done yet. Instead since it's cold and rainy out, I'd like to reminisce about the warmth of the Caribbean. My second visit to what I think is a really under appreciated part of the US; Puerto Rico. 

Isla Verde, Puerto Rico
This time around, we spent a week in Puerto Rico which allowed us to explore the northern half of the island at a relaxed pace. 

We rented a house on the northern coast, in Arecibo. The waves were pretty rough there at that time, thrashing against the rocks so we spent our time at other coastal towns like Isabela and Rincon. 

 Rincon, on the western coast of the island. In an effort to use our snorkeling gear more, we brought it all to PR. Unfortunately we didn't see much (and photographed even less) as there was a lot of churning that day, not the clearest waters.

One of my favorites days was the day we spent at Isabela. This feels so long ago, I see I was still in the vicious cycle of growing out my bangs. Perhaps one of the happiest days I've ever spent in my life. All day and all afternoon splashing in the surf, and on the way home we stopped by Ricomini Bakery (which I would highly recommend) and sampled many treats. 

 My husband and I are big fans of the James Bond films. We spent some time at the Arecibo Radiotelescope Observatory, a place you might recognize if you've seen GoldenEye.

One experience that I would absolutely definitely recommend if you are ever in Puerto Rico is to go to Fajardo or if you're able to, the island of Vierques, and see the spectacular natural phenomena of the bioluminescent bays. Of the seven sites in the world where this occurs, three are in Puerto Rico! It's amazing to behold. We took a sunset kayak trip out to the lagoon in Fajardo, and were dazzled by the waters that would glow as the paddle swirled through tiny glowing plankton. Blue sparks that burst through inky waters -  bucket list stuff. 

 San Juan's cats! Morgan grew rather tired of me stopping to take photos of cats every 20 feet or so.
It would take me quite a while to get through any side street. Similarly, I made many, many new stray dog friends.  There was this sweet pitbull in Fajardo that stole flipflops in the hopes of belly rubs. Judging my by excitement when I spy a dog, you'd think I had never seen a canine before. OH MY GOODNESS, HELLO DOG! I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU!

While we were in El Yunque Rain Forest, we stopped at a small roadside eatery. I don't remember if the pasteles we ate there were good, or if the coconut was refreshing - but I do remember the incredible view, the opening that overlooked lush rain forest. 

A few things: the mosquito ate us up. Over the course of one week, despite DEETing ourselves, Morgan and I collected 30+ bites. Each. 

I loved our time in Puerto Rico. It's now my "happy place" in my mind that I think about when the my day is dreary or difficult. Sometimes for fun, I take a look at real estate listings and picture an island retirement. Just last week I tried to convince my family members to pool our money to buy a giant villa (in this fantasy, I'm impervious to mosquitoes),

A few other recommendations: fill your face with bacalaítos (fried cod fritters) and bring home a suitcase of Bettina nail polishes.  The former can be hand almost immediately once you land - head east on 187 from Luis Muñoz Airport and check out the food stands. The latter can be found at Walgreens in Puerto Rico (and as I understand it, also in Miami?). 

I generally see flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico for under $400 from LAX. This last January, I spied some fares under $200 which made it hard to resist booking tickets and packing impulsively!

Happy travels.

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