For a long time I had a longing to go on vacation in Puerto Rico. Although I did not know how soon this would be, I was lucky to win an all paid trip for two to this Island from the purchase of a raffle ticket at one of the local shopping malls that I frequent. Although I was spoilt for choice on whom between my sister and boyfriend would accompany me on the vacation, I settled for my boyfriend because the ticket included a romantic dinner for two.
Puerto Rico is a destination that I would definitely recommend to anyone planning to go there on holiday as it is home to many exotic hideaways, cultural experiences, miles of while sandy beaches, mountains, colonial towns, bars and restaurants, coffee plantations and valleys among other natural splendors. One of the things that I enjoyed when we got to this Caribbean Island is the tropical marine climate that in itself creates a party mood. Whether you are interested in history, nature, nightlife, adventure, sports or culture, you will be impressed with this tropical island that has many surprises and contrasts.
Among the places that we went to while on the Caribbean paradise of Puerto Rico is Isla de Vieques. This is a great destination especially if you prefer beaches as it has over 40 beaches. We first went to the Blue Beach that is by far the most beautiful beach I have ever visited. It is vast with white sand and is great for walks as well as snorkeling. If you would like to go on a picnic by the beach then you would not be disappointed to settle for Blue Beach because the little palm trees offer superb shades. Although the beach is not usually crowded, you will need to get there early in order to reserve a shade spot. My boyfriend and I love snorkeling so we spent some time at it in the crystal clear water where we saw coral and beautiful fish. The truth is you cannot get enough of this beach.
Bioluminescent bay is another great place to visit in Puerto Rico that I recommend to you. In fact, not even the photos we took are good enough evidence of how spectacular this bay is thus you need to go there in person. This bay that is also the world’s brightest biobay due to the high level of dinoflagelares is simply amazing. Swimming is not allowed so we took a private kayak in the company of a guide who was well informed. It is while on this bay that my boyfriend popped the big question in what seemed like an unreal experience.
Far from the beach and bay we went to the Fortin Conde de Mirasol Museum that is a paradise for hidden fun and adventure. An admission fee is not required but you could offer a donation. The museum has a collection of artifacts and art exhibits and there is a curator on standby ready to take you through the island and fort’s history. There is also a gift shop where we picked souvenirs to take back. While here, be sure to capture the panoramic view of Isabel Segundo.
Although we did not intend to do more of beaches, Isla de Vieques has numerous beaches so we made our way to the Black Sand Beach even though it is not an easy find. This beach is amazingly deserted but it feels great to walk on the soft black sand. It is an absolutely great photo location and we did not resist the temptation so we took as any photos. We also managed to spot wild horses roaming on this beach. We also had a good time in Malecon, that is a great strip on the ocean with a number of gift shops, tour companies, restaurants and bars. The five minute walk stretch is relaxed and rustic but pretty busy in the evening as both locals and tourists love to come here for some great music and food. It will be unfair if I fail to say that Malecon also offers the best views of the Chiva Island in Vieques and the water. I recommend taking a stroll on this stretch after a meal because it is quite rewarding.
We also went to Isabel Segunda, the capital of Vieques where we got a feel of what island life is all about. A view of the historic fort and the beautiful plaza is breathtaking. If you love off the beaten path feel then this is a place that you must include in your itinerary of your visit to Puerto Rico. Other things that you will see here include a small restaurants, the post office, a gift shop as well as Roy’s Coffee House. Generally, Isabel has a huge reflection of heritage and culture. The only turn off at this tropical jungle is that the streets are dirty.
We also went to Puerto Rico’s San Juan that also hosts a couple of contrasting attractions like museums, beaches and even beaches. When we got here, we first went to El Viejo San Juan that is also referred to as Old San Juan. This area comprises of close to 400 buildings that are restored from the 16th and 17th century during the Spanish colonial period. There are a lot of things that you can see and do here under the warm, sunny, quaint and touristic atmosphere. The views are simply amazing particularly when the ships are at the port. When going to San Juan, you need to put on a comfy pair of shoes because the pavement is quite stony. Do not forget to try the ice cream and the cocktails as you explore this area that is dotted with numerous museums, historic places, restaurants, open air cafes, gracious homes as well as tree shaded plazas. Ultimately, it is the architectonical peculiarity and old beauty that will attract you to San Juan.
The other great place that I recommend you visit in Puerto Rico’s San Juan is El Morro that is believed to have been constructed to serve as a defense for the San Juan Coastline in the 17th and 18th century. The enchanting and impressive fortress is 140 feet high and makes the San Juan experience worthwhile because of the spectacular views that it offers. The admission fee is affordable and you can visit on any day of the week. The amazing thing about El Morro is that while is it is expected to largely appeal to the lovers of history, it excites everyone including non-history buffs.
Castillo de San Cristobal, a 27 acre series of fortification is yet another interesting place that we visited as it offers amazing aerial views of the coastline. Although we did not come across any literature on the history of this place, it is interesting and worth visiting. The graffiti of ships on the tunnel adds another interesting dimension to the history of this place. In my view this one of the best preserved fortifications from the 18th century. We could not leave San Juan without going to Museo de Las Americas that is very beautiful in every way. This museum promotes the American history but it also plays host to concerts that are held in its courtyard. The exhibits at this museum are of high quality and well displayed. It is interesting to learn the history of the indigenous Americans as well as their influence on the people of Puerto Rico.
We also stopped by the San Juan Cathedral for a short while to take photos. The cathedral is very beautiful and you can simply walk in whenever it is open. Thus, you do not necessarily have to plan a specific visit. We also went to the El Faro Lighthouse that I had been longing to visit for years. This lighthouse houses the maritime museum as well as a magnificent dolphin spotting platform. The view is stunning and it is a great place for relaxing as you watch the ocean on the Atlantic side as it is quiet and clean. Our last stop was the Lazy Parrot Restaurant where we had a romantic dinner for two. This restaurant is fantastic and had everything set up for us in a private area. The food was outstanding while the service was also excellent. The wine too was good and I definitely recommend that you eat here. Overall, although we were not able to visit all the major cities, we enjoyed every moment spent in Puerto Rico and would recommend that you consider it for your next holiday.