Travel Log: Puerto Rico

I went to Puerto Rico, here’s what I did:

Length of Stay: 8 Days

Locations: San Juan, Condado, Vieques, Cabo Rojo, Rincon, San Sebastian

Mood: Sunny, Salty, Sandy

IMG_2614

Cabo rojo 

IMG_2203-001

Sun Bay, Vieques

Day 1: Had a direct flight from Philly to San Juan which may have been one of the worst flights I’ve yet to experience. Four straight hours of consistent turbulence. I overheard one of the flight attendants make note that all it took was one bad bump and no seatbelt to land yourself head first into the stow away bin. I guess the decision to sacrifice the routine beverage service for safety was legit. There was also this weird thing where free wifi was offered for the entire flight? Unheard of in my logged hours of airtime but I ate it up until my iPad retired for the rest of the evening.

Day 2: I woke up in my co-worker’s (v nice) parent’s house, Matt (my boyfriend) asleep next to me. Sarah grew up in the ‘burbs of San Juan, where her family still holds down the fort. It was kind of awesome to get a glimpse into what her life was like growing up on a tropical island. Her mom fed us a breakfast of strong coffee, ham croquetas, pan sobao toast and pastellios de carne. We chilled by her pool and appreciated the sweat accumulating on our skin. (Mind you we had just escaped the aftermath of snow storm Jonas in Philly…) Hot and full, we made our way to the new Free People store that just opened up in the San Juan mall.

Afternoon Of Day 2 and Day 3: All efforts were mainly focused on throwing the Puerto Rico chapter of our #FPLETSMOVE events. We nightcapped it with a bottle of wine in Old San Juan. The only other thing that really stands out from those days is our lunch at Kamoli Kafe. I’d eat there everyday if I had the option.

IMG_2895

(Blissed Out Pant)

Tropical Treehouse property, Rincon

IMG_2959

Gozalandia Falls, San Sebastian, Puerto Rico

IMG_2364-001

Day 4: We drove from San Juan to Ceiba, about an hour or so south. We ditched our rental car for two seats in a seven-seater plane headed to Vieques, an island only accessible by boat or plane off the east coast of Puerto Rico. Yes, seven. The entire flight was snapchat worthy, all (short) eight minutes of it. We landed and somehow, with no cell phone service, managed to call up the closest Jeep rental place and get ourselves a means of transportation. (Locking down a rental car on Vieques was one part of trip planning that I completely forgot about.)

Day 5: Woke up at the El Blok, then migrated to La Finca. Charged up our camera batteries and drove the Jeep towards the only supermarket on the island. I think we bought plantain chips. Maybe some champagne.

Vieques is only 20 or so miles long; all parts of the island are easily accessible. We were staying in Esperanza, so we explored the old fishing pier and made some pony friends on the shore. With a little help from the locals, we also managed to find the old sugar mill ruins, the 300 year old Ceiba tree, and an abandoned sports stadium, then jumped off some cliffs into crystal clear water, skinny dipped at an uninhabited beach, and kayaked in the largest bioluminescent bay in the world before falling asleep. Vieques is like your pretty best friend; nice to look at and fun to chill with.

Oh I also got accidentally attacked by Matt’s  drone on this day, have a couple scars as proof if you wanna see (on forearm, top right corner).

IMG_1555

La Finca Caribe retreat center, Vieques

IMG_2986

Gozalandia Falls, San Sebastian, Puerto Rico

IMG_9796

Old San Juan

IMG_9741 copy

Old San Juan

IMG_1968

(Making Moves Romper, Wrap Top, Suede Classic Sneaker)

Sugar Mill Ruins, Vieques

IMG_1391

Esperanza Fishing Pier, Vieques

jwattt

(Wrap Top, Soleil Bottom)

Some beach on Vieques

IMG_1325

Esperanza Fishing Pier, Vieques

IMG_2197

Sun Bay, Vieques

IMG_2006

(Making Moves Romper)

Sugar Mill Ruins, Vieques

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0230.

Secret cliff jumping beach on Vieques

IMG_1500

EL BLOK, Vieques

IMG_1494

EL BLOK, Vieques

IMG_2108

300 year old Ceiba Tree, Vieques

IMG_1615

cemetary

IMG_2301

Sunset at La Finca Caribe, Vieques

IMG_2057

Sugar Mill Ruins, Vieques

IMG_2401

Carta Buena, Rincon

Day 6: Said goodbye to Vieques and got back on the mini plane. Returned to Ceiba where we picked up our third and final rental car and drove 3 hours west along the southern coast towards Rincon, the surfing capital of the country. I’ve been to Rincon before, but only for a couple hours. It’s full of tourists, but like, sorry, all travelers are tourists. “Travelers” just sounds better.

Got into town hungry and thirsty, so we asked Siri where the best juice spot was. We found Carta Buena and fueled up on their fresh foods picked from the garden that grows just beyond the truck. We went back again on our last day (shoutout to the girl who gave me a free juice, sorry I didn’t have cash -_-).

Took a dip at Steps Beach, then met up with Coral, a mutual friend with one of my co-workers. Coral’s mom is Linda. Linda used to chill with my parents back in the day on the New Jersey coast. I had no idea of this until we started talking at our event. Small world connections are sometimes the most beautiful of things.

Coral showed us around Rincon and Linda housed us. Their hospitality was warm.

Day 7: Note to anyone reading this: Wifi is scarce in Puerto Rico. So when you find it, use it wisely.

We started the morning by working at a cafe in town. Here is where I forgot to charge my phone — our only means of GPS. I guess we had a map to reference, but it was crumpled up and halfway ripped, tucked inside one of my backpack pockets. Somehow we found the town of Cabo Rojo on the southwest corner of PR, home to hot pink salt flats and a pretty cool lighthouse. The salt flats are really all that matter though. Go here if you get the chance, totally worth it. We flew the drone and hiked up a cliff with no shoes on. It hurt.

Then we found a bamboo palace back in Rincon.

IMG_2454

Steps Beach, Rincon

Day 8: The last day. I felt like I had been in Puerto Rico for months. The chickens and the tree frogs woke us up. It was raining.

I took a shower outside at Linda’s house. I was surrounded by bamboo and plants. I felt refreshed.

It was 8 am, and we had to be in San Juan by 2 pm to fly back to Philly. Was there time along the drive back east to see the waterfalls in San Sebastian ?

Of course.

IMG_2943

Gozalandia Falls, San Sebastian, Puerto Rico

IMG_2128

IMG_1060

The shores of Condado.

Crossing my fingers I don’t have Zika.

xo,

Jana

Check out more Puerto Rico content here!

Follow Jana on Instagram and Twitter!

Comments

  1. San Sebastian is where my family comes from! It’s so magical there. These photos make me want to go back soon!

  2. All of your photos (and you!) were so beautiful and I’m lowkey trying to plan a trip to Puerto Rico now, since I had no idea it was such a short flight away, but what I really took away from this post is that I love your travel logs and I hope you write more of them. “It’s full of tourists, but like, sorry, all travelers are tourists. “Travelers” just sounds better” is legit gonna be the tag line of my blog at some point.
    xx
    Ella
    http://www.thirteenoctobers.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.