Puerto Rico, while a passport isn't required to visit for U.S. Citizens (no passport stamp for the stamp collectors like myself), it is worth the visit to this island in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017 and they have been rebuilding since. The revenue from tourism will help them boost their economy, read below to see why you should consider "La Isla del Encanto" for your next vacation!
When you buy the Puerto Rico II polish, a portion of the proceeds goes to Chef Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen. They have been helping to feed the people of the island since the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. To learn more about their organization or to donate directly, go to:
El Caribe Hilton.
Puerto Rico’s polish color is inspired by one of their most delicious creations, the piña colada. The hotel’s bar created this famous tropical drink in 1954 and after extensive research, I can guarantee that piña coladas indeed do taste the best in San Juan. Most are made with either Don Q or Bacardi Rum. (You can visit the Bacardi Factory in San Juan for about $50) The hotel is under going renovations due to the hurricane but is accepting reservations for stays after December 21, 2018.
El Hotel San Juan
We visited Puerto Rico for my 30th birthday which coincided with the Noche de San Juan on June 23rd. We spent the day at their gorgeous beach and relaxed by the pool until it was time for the evening’s festivities.
As described by Discovering Puerto Rico, “The evenings celebrations begin with gatherings at local beaches where family and friends enjoy food music and dancing. Then on the stroke of midnight, those gathered at the beach will walk backwards into the sea and fall backwards to immerse themselves in the water. They do this 3 times as traditions says that you will have ‘good luck’ for the rest of the year.” Now we asked several locals how many times you’re supposed to go into the water and we heard answers ranging from 3 to 12, we stuck with 3! You can check out their site for the most up to date parties for Noche de San Juan.
The hotel has a selected number of rooms and services available right now and is also under renovations with plans to open by the end of the year!
If hotels aren’t your thing, there are many great Airb&b’s to stay at. The locals are extremely friendly and helpful so don’t hesitate to book with a local as well.
You can get $40 off of your next reservation by using my code: www.airbnb.com/c/mariona1268
Where to Eat:
Macchiato Coffee Shop
I'm not too big of a coffee drinker, I love the flavor but it usually gives me the jitters. This was not the case with Puerto Rican coffee! I had an iced coffee every morning from Cafe Macchiato CoffeeShop in the Miramar neighborhood of San Juan. Their breakfast was inexpensive and delicious, my friends and I happily went back three days in a row. You can visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/macchiatocoffee/ or their Instagram https://www.instagram.com/macchiatomiramar/?hl=en to see all that they have to offer.
Mofongo, like the iced coffee, I had every single day I was there! This Puerto Rican dish of mashed plantains comes with a variety of toppings including steak, roast pork, chicken, and shrimp. You can find excellent mofongo and other foods at the following restaurants.
Casita Blanca en Santurce
Jibarito en Viejo San Juan, make sure to try their empanadas too!
Other recommendations: Soda en Miramar, Reposteria España, Levis in Isla Verde, Piñones a comer frituras
Placita de San Turce
Playa Flamenco en Culebra.
Bahia Bioluminiscente de Vieques.
Ir a Nuyorican Café en el Viejo San Juan
Castillo San Cristobal
Catedral del Viejo San Juan
*A special thanks to Graciela, who gave me so many recommendations on where to go in her beautiful country for my 30th birthday visit!
The coqui is Puerto Rico’s national animal and you can hear them make the “coqui” noise at night