La isla del encanto…
Now my mother is of Puerto Rican descent, so I have been to the island several times throughout my life but my most recent trip was so much more impacting because I traveled to this remarkable staple in the Caribbean on my own as an adult. Before I get into the details, let me just tell you readers that if you have ever heard someone tell you that Puerto Rico is not worth it because it has become americanized, you should distance yourself from them. You don’t need that kind of friend that holds you back from having the time of your life.
Puerto Rico is a small island with BIG flavor, culture and history. We didn’t stay in San Juan as most people do when they visit because we stayed at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar about 20 minutes from San Juan in Rio Grande and it was W O N D E R F U L. Yes I took the time to capitalize and space each word so you really took me serious. The resort is not enormous but very spacious and filled with different areas to relax or soak in the sun. There is a private beach and large swimming pool areas, the food and drinks at the tiki hut served great snacks and lunch.
Because most of the top attractions are not close to Rio Grande, rent a car or schedule transportation ahead of time. It was cool to travel through the island on our own, no tour guide, no exact plans, just searching for some thrills. One thing you must must must do when visiting is head to EL YUNQUE rainforest. You can find hike up to the top where you’re greeted with a hidden waterfall, La Mina, then take a dip in the crisp fresh water. You will get a killer workout while getting to the top but it will be worth every bit once you reach the end for the unparalleled views of the island. The water feels heavenly, it is quite an experience. We didn’t want to travel too far for lunch after all the climbing and walking and climbing and walking. It was intense. So on the way down from the top of Mina Falls, we found a small food stand with some picnic tables. We ate here of course and got the best home cooked Puerto Rican meal we could have dreamed of. Arroz con gandules, pollo, platano maduro y alcapurrias. Plus a malta, my absolute favorite drink from the Island. Eat local if you’re venturing to the rainforest, you won’t be disappointed.
One of the top tourist attractions on the island is El Morro located in Old San Juan. This is the area of the island that is historical, it was built to guard the entrance to San Juan Bay and protect from seaborne enemies. It is very interesting to see whether you care to learn the history of the island or not because they are grounds that were fought on. It holds so many stories and events within it’s stone walls and more breathtaking views.
Shopping is good in Old San Juan and there are sooo many places to stop and eat that you will greatly enjoy. If you want souvenirs or to really get a feel for what it is like to live there, roam around Old San Juan and just go wherever the path leads. You can get lost in Old San Juan, there is a warm feeling, loud laughing, salsa blasting, sun beaming, uplifting aura to this place. It truly is the island of enchantment.