Never did I imagine myself drinking an IPA on a white-sand, empty, picturesque Caribbean beach…until I went to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico seems to have all the beautiful things of a Caribbean and Latin American country that you want on vacation-fun waves in clear turquoise waters, island-pace lifestyle, and tasty rum you can drink from a coconut you got off the tree you are sitting under. It also seems to have the perks of the U.S. that you tend to miss while you’re away for an extended period of time- cute coffee shops with high-speed wifi, clean bathrooms readily available, health food stores, and good beer imported from all over the world.
Sandra and I made a Puerto Rico “research trip” about a month ago in hopes of finding some cute waves, lazy beach time, and exciting nightlife. She needed to warm up after her first winter in New York, and I was stoked to go somewhere I could feel like I was in my own country again. After a couple quick Facebook messages, we bought flights and met up a few weeks later in San Juan. We immediately fell in love with the colonial architecture and colorful buildings of Old San Juan and on our first night, found ourselves dancing to a freestyle rap contest at one of the oldest clubs in the Caribbean. Needless to say, we were stoked.
After a few days in the city, we rented a car and did a whirlwind trip to Isabela, Aguadilla, Rincón, and Boquerón. The beaches were gorgeous with white-sand, palm trees swaying, and warm, clear water. Though, unfortunately, the ocean decided to take a break and be flat the whole time we were there, I saw some awesome point break set-ups with plenty of potential (plus, I’ve seen good waves there on Youtube). The towns were cute and quaint, we chatted with locals and expats from all over the world, and we spent our days lounging in the sun and building palm shade shelters. It reminded me of our beach-bum days growing up in Southern California- when nothing matters but your sunburn situation and what hotel’s jacuzzi would be the best to sneak into that night. Again, we were stoked.
After some time on the west coast of the island, we took turns driving through a massive rainstorm through the cloud-forest highlands, stopped at an organic coffee plantation for some caffienation, and eventually made our way to the ferry headed for Vieques, a smaller island about 45 minutes away. Vieques was amazing. Between a couple near-death experiences on the scooter we rented, watching wild horses cruise around (and fight each other) in bright green fields, and snorkeling and free-diving through underwater castles of life, again we fell in love. We stayed at a beautiful eco-resort at the top of the hill (www.lafinca.com), rode the scooter on muddy dirt roads to secret beaches, and frolicked around in the glassy ocean. Just like my reality here, in Nicaragua, days were slow but the trip went by fast, and before we knew it, we found ourselves bummed about leaving our Caribbean dreamscape.
Tags: Jackie George, Sandra Khalifa, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Caribbean travel