4. Visit a New Country

So for those of you who know me, you know that traveling has played a huge part of helping me develop into the person I am now. As a kid I had the privilege of being a Student Ambassador so I got to travel the world at a young age. Since that time I think I have left the country twice, once to the Bahamas and once to Canada. I think in recent years I have let myself use money and time as an excuse as to why I wasn’t traveling much. I’ve gone a few places in the country to attend conferences but that’s not the same as going on a vacation. So now that I have finished my first year of teaching, time and money no longer worked as excuses so it was time to make some moves!

So my darling line sister Goetti and I decided to venture to Puerto Rico. Aside from the whole being on vacation thing, something that I was really excited about was learning more about Puerto Rico. The families of many of my students are from Puerto Rico so it’s cool to visit and talk to them about it.

But any who…
Our journey to San Juan began on a Wednesday morning. The flight was only 4 hours but some how it felt like the longest flight ever lol (This is coming from some one who has traveled to Australia) I was able to take two naps, read a book, have a snack, listen to music, and work on writing my book all in that four hours it was ridiculous lol.

So when we arrived in PR, we went straight to our hotel, the Condado Vanderbilt, which is by far the most amazing hotel I have EVER stayed at. Their attention to detail was amazing. As we checked in were offered champagne or water, then they realized that we were staying for a 6 nights but had a room without a view so they upgraded our room for free so we got to wake up to this view each morning: IMG_0001.JPG

This kind of hospitality was basically the theme of our trip. Everyone we encountered was so kind and accommodating. It was such a great experience. But back to the hotel. We had four pools (including an adult only pool and hot tub), 3 restaurants, a convenience store, a gift shop and a beach at the hotel. There were even these sitting pools where there are beach chairs in a few inches of water where you have a view of the ocean (this was one of our favorite hang out spots at night when the water was lit up). Here are a few hotel pics: IMG_0011.JPG

IMG_0068.JPGIMG_0064.JPG

IMG_1367.JPGEven though our hotel was super amazing, we both had a lot that we wanted to see and do while on the island, and that we did! One of the joys of traveling with a fellow planner is you get a lot of stuff done. Its amazing how much we were able to fit into our week. IMG_0004.JPG

We made an effort throughout the week to make sure we were eating at authentic Puerto Rican restaurants, rather than having Italian food, Chinese food, Fast Food, etc. or super touristy places like many of the other people we met during our week. We used Yelp a ton but even more helpful than Yelp were people we met. We asked every Uber driver we had about their favorite restaurants in the area, and well let’s just say they all have great taste! Traveling worries me some times because of food. I am…a selective eater (picky is for children lol). But I absolutely LOVED the food in PR and I will definitely be on the hunt for Puerto Rican restaurants in my town asap.

So what did we do all week?
We went to a few different beaches. In the beginning we were going to the beach near our hotel but one of our Uber drivers told us about a nearby beach that is more beautiful, more locally and has calmer waters. So we ventured there and we were hooked so we went to that beach a few times.
IMG_0238.JPG

We went out a few nights but our hotel also had a bunch of things to do at night time. Including lots of live music which was lovely. We even got to have salsa lessons! It was fun to walk around the hotel at night as well. They had a lot of really nice lighting that just makes you feel happy and calm.IMG_0383.JPG

One of my favorite things (I have many favorites) was our spontaneous trip to Castillo San Felipe del Morro. We had just come back from the gym and breakfast. We went to go back to our room to change but housekeeping was there. So rather than waiting around we decided to venture off to Old San Juan. We explored a little, had some shaved ice, and got lot pictures. The sky was a little funky but thats okay. Our bright pink work out clothes made a fun contrast to the dreary skies.

IMG_0629.JPG

Another excursion that I really loved was snorkeling day. I love snorkeling because it gives me, someone who can’t swim yet, the opportunity to experience the ocean and all that it has to offer in a way that I don’t usually get to do. Shout out to flotation devices! We took a small boat our into the ocean and got to see a reef and many little fish. I even spotted one of those flat fish with its eyes on top of its body that look like the sand which was pretty cool. We also stopped at a small island where we stayed for a while and got to enjoy the beach and some more snorkeling. The water was so clean and clear it was beautiful. IMG_0689.JPG

Fun Fact: Did you know that the first Pina Colada was created in Puerto Rico in 1963? We  not only enjoyed an AMAZING dinner there (24 oz. whole red snappers!) but we got to attend a Flamenco Show as well. The show was just as amazing as the food was.IMG_1021.JPGSo we had many more adventures and did many more things than I am including in this post but I figured I would just include the major highlights. I think in the future it would be cool to have a travel based blog and maybe document some parts of the trip each day. Maybe that will be my adventure between 25 and 30. We shall see.

So our last official adventure was our trip to El Yunque National Forest. El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the national forest system so it was extra special that we got to visit it. During our trip to the rainforest we learned a bunch about the vegetation, the wildlife and Puerto Rico itself thanks to our amazing guide Ramon. On our next trip to PR we definitely want to explore more of the rainforest. We were able to fully explore two trails, including taking a dip in a beautiful waterfall, but there are a total of 13 so we have a lot of exploring left to do. Its amazing how much beauty there is in the world. I can’t wait to explore more and see all of those hidden gems. IMG_1138.JPGOn our final day in PR my heart was crying a little bit lol PR is such a beautiful place with such rich history and culture. I could stay for a month and still probably feel like I hadn’t seen or experienced enough. But since we had a later flight we decided that we really needed to make the best of our final hours. We got up early, had breakfast and headed to the beach for a bit. Then we got our stuff together for our final adventure which was to venture to Old San Juan for like the 4th time lol. But this time was special, not only because it was our last day but also because it was the first time having an extended period to explore in the day light. We had explored during the day for like an hour, and we had explored at night time for an extended period, but never extended day. Another reason this trip was special is we finally found a good area to take pictures with the beautiful, brightly colored buildings of Old San Juan.IMG_1426.JPG

 

This post has left out tons of details, but like I said, no single blog post could capture all the magic that was this trip. Amazing location, amazing food, amazing weather, amazing travel buddy. Everything just went so well! If you’re looking for somewhere to visit soon I definitely suggest taking a trip to PR!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s