Brian and I had the luxury of taking a much-needed vacation to Puerto Rico and St. Croix recently. We literally booked the trip about 10 days out (which didn’t allow for the most direct travel route – more about that later) due to some last minute work schedules, but I am so glad we were able to make it work! I was in NJ with my family for my cousin’s wedding (SO MUCH FUN!), then flew from NYC to San Juan on Sunday evening. I didn’t get to our hotel in Old San Juan until super late, but we were only there for two nights so we decided to make the most of it.
We started out with a quick visit to the casino in our hotel. We are not really casino people, because neither of us likes to gamble, probably because we always tend to lose money! However, we had a couple vouchers from the hotel, so Brian hit the black jack table and I hit the penny slots. Yes, the penny slots, where I put in a dollar and it took me all of 5 minutes to make about 8 cents profit. YAHOO! Brian broke even at black jack, so we claimed my $1.08 and decided it was time for a drink.
By that point it was about midnight, so we just walked to the closest bar, which just so happened to be Senor Frogs. For those who aren’t familiar with it – it happens to be the oh-so-popular Spring Break destination where you can usually find scantily clad college kids downing shots and then throwing up in the bathroom. Thankfully, it was Sunday, so the bar was dead. We each enjoyed a frozen rum beverage and shut the place down by 1 am.
The next day, we rented a car and headed off to the El Yunque Rainforest. When we were researching things to do in Puerto Rico, a visit to El Yunque caught our attention, since neither of us has ever been to a rainforest before. It was about an hour drive from our hotel and we took in the Puerto Rico scenery as we drove. Everything is in Spanish, so you feel like you’re in a foreign country, but then everyone speaks English and is super friendly.
We stopped off at the El Yunque Visitor’s Center to get a map (not sure if it was worth the $8 for entry) and we were on our way. We made a couple stops on the drive through the rainforest to check out a waterfall and a couple great views. Then we made it to the point where you get out and hike about two miles to the waterfall where you can go swimming. We didn’t exactly bring sneakers, so off we went in our flippy floppies with our beach bag of stuff. We also picked up a cheap beach towel at one of the tourist shops along the way since we forgot to swipe some towels from the hotel. [Side note: We tend to “borrow” towels from hotels when we head out on adventures because who really wants to pack bulky beach towels or buy overpriced ones as souvenirs? I refuse to take up precious space in my roller board for either!]
The hike wasn’t exactly strenuous, but we were ready for a break by the time we made it to the falls. As we passed by people, we got some stares since we were clearly dressed like we were headed to the beach, not on a hike to a waterfall. The waterfall was pretty and all, but it was PACKED with tourists. A mix of spring break teens who were hogging the falls and some older people who were hanging back around the edge. We didn’t want to get our stuff stolen on day 1 of vacation, (we’re a little paranoid) so we took turns taking a dip in the water, which worked out well for picture-taking.
On the way back down the mountain from the falls, we stopped off for a lunch full of fried-goodness and pina coladas. I have no idea what we ate, but everything was pretty delicious. So much for giving up fried foods for Lent.
After lunch, we drove over to the beach at Isla Verde. It was touted as the best swimming beach on Trip Advisor. However, as nice as it was, the airport is literally right next door, so as I tried to nap on the beach, I kept hearing planes taking off and landing – no bueno. Before heading out for the day, we walked over to one of the hotels on the beach and enjoyed a couple frozen beverages. There is NOTHING like sitting in a hammock enjoying a frozen rum drink on the beach – perfection!
After showering up, we decided on an authentic Puerto Rican place near our hotel (Punto de Vista) for dinner. We arrived around 8 pm and there was an hour and a half wait. But, we were on vacation so who cared? We put our name in and walked around the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan. [Side note: You may recall that the RHOBH spent a day shopping in Old San Juan on their trip to PR this past season.]
We grabbed a couple apps and a drink at another cute restaurant to tide us over until dinner. In hindsight, our entrees were ginormous, so we probably should have just waiting for dinner, but oh well. What is vacation for, if you can’t indulge a little?!
We called it a night after enjoying a delicious dinner and a couple mojitos as we watched the cruise ships sail out of the harbor. We had to wake up at the crack.of.dawn. the next morning to catch our flight to STX, so no senor frogs night for us 🙂 More on the rest of our trip in STX to come!