Caribbean Newbie

Published: March 22nd 2015
Edit Blog Post

Travelling always seem to be an intriguing possibility for me, since I never had too much of a chance to do so.

A good friend of mine invited to go travelling with him, and I couldn’t resist the offer. Of course, I had said yes…!

Day 1

Today is the first day we are at Puerto Rico

Touched down a little after noon. We took the cab and came straight to our hotel. We decided to book the Water Club House, by Isla Verde.

We checked in the hotel, dropped our stuff and went up to the roof top. There’s the hotel bar called The Mist, and the view from the bar was phenomenal. We were overlooking the beach and the ocean , with thousand of people sun-bathing , and playing in the ocean. The mood was superb. The sun was strong, and the energy was great! We stayed a little while by the roof top, and we made our way to the beach, which was literally 50 steps from the entrance of the hotel. Ok…maybe 70 steps…the point is, it was right in front of us. Amazing! We stayed at the beach for a little while, and got some sun.

We walked around to look for car rental places. We stumbled upon Enterprise Car Rental at the El San Juan Resort and Casino. Went in there and inquired about the availability of cars. They had a few and we got the Jeep, but it wasn’t going to be ready until Wednesday. As we can’t really move around elsewhere, we both decided to just hang out locally, and stayed close by the beach. The slight waves rolling inwards was music to the ears. My friend played with his phone the whole time while lazing on the beach, and later fell asleep, which was nothing too difficult to do, since the sea breeze made it too comfortable. I had ended up reading, and basking under the scorching sun. Time moved swiftly , and before we realized, it was night fall!

Since it was our first day, we didn’t know where to go for dinner. We decided to have it at the hotel’s restaurant called The Zest. I have say this! OMG!!!! The food was incredible! A must try on their Popcorn soup. Holy cow…that was the foodgasm of the island. It not only
“Our Beach” “Our Beach” “Our Beach”

Still trying to find a pet name for this lovely piece of property!
opens your palette for more to come, but it prepares you in great anticipation on the next meal. We also had the Yuca Ricotta Gnocchi and the Chicken Fricase Croquettes. That was delicious as well. Our main dish was miso glazed sea bass, and braised short ribs. Oh yummy!!!! 😊

Tomorrow is another day. Can’t wait to explore the island.

Day 2

Second day. Woke up, and decided to hit the beach. Apart from being desperate for a car, we had to fill our belly first…so we went looking for a place to have breakfast. Since the hotel is strategically located in the city, it wasn’t difficult to find our way around the area. Our favourite place is the Bajuice, which serves breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. It’s a great place if you’re looking for fresh cold pressed juices, and smoothies. The service is great, though we have had to wait for about 20 mins before we get our food. The server was friendly, and always smiling. This is not place where you can expect an air-conditioned room. It’s humid, and muggy and a fan on the shelf , placed with a hope it’ll spew cool air once in 3 hours! There’s probably 5 tables in the shop, and 2 tables outside. But its the caribbean….so it’s all good 😊 The El-Yunque smoothie is my favourite, and since this is the only place I can find oatmeal…man, I felt so blessed! LOL ok…I did order something else, apart from oatmeal, during my stay here. My partner in crime ordered the Calypso smoothie and the Mananero wrap, which clearly turns out to be his staple for the whole week we are here. Creature of habit! lol

The sun set early today, or so it seemed. We got ready , and hailed a cab to Old San Juan to have at a place called Greengos Caribbean Cantina. The restaurant ambience was lively and loud, since it’s like a sports bar/ grill place. They serve good Margaritas and the deco is inviting, and cultural. I loved it! After dinner, we both took a walk around Old San Juan, and checked out the night scenes there.

Day 3

Day 3….! Woohoo!! Time to get our car rental!. We quickly had brunch, and went back to the El San Juan Resort to grab our Red Jeep from the Enterprise Car Rental. We love this vehicle! It was eye catching, and half convertible. Perfect for being on the road with it! We took a scenic route towards Luquillo where the ride was fun, and ever so entertaining. Lots of laughter and music blaring tastefully from the car. We even started singing in the car…maybe not like we were trying to get into “ The American Idol” 😊

We passed many sea- facing roads where we caught glimpse of waves rolling in continuously hitting the shore, and we can smell the ocean. It was intoxicating! The joy of being in the car riding around, and exploring different parts of Puerto Rico was something both my travel partner and I loved. After a while of driving around, and passing villages and food stalls, we stumbled upon a quiet, almost secluded beach. We claimed it “ours” immediately! I mean “Hello?!", it’s not like everyday we can say “this is our beach”, let’s get real! So we parked under a tall coconut tree, and went sun bathing there. Seconds, minutes, and hours passed, and finally it was close to sun set. We started to pack up and decided to head back to the hotel. We took the same scenic route back to the hotel, and we were so lucky to have caught the sun setting! It was beautiful, and unforgettable! OK...*Mental note*- always carry insect repellent when in the Caribbean! (Walgreen run alert for tomorrow AM!- Note to self!).

Something worth mentioning ( at least to me ) is the availability of pharmacy. Seriously, I can’t imagine anywhere without a pharmacy! There’s the Walgreen pharmacy maybe 1/2 block away from the hotel. So that was good and handy since they sell everything from basic needs fulfillment to beauty products. I was in need for water, and other basic commodities like screen protector, chocolates, etc… I can’t complain.We had an AWESOME time today!!!! Woke up in the AM, got ready to head out. Stopped by our trusted Bajuice, and ordered our norm. Stuffed our face to glory, and drove out towards Luquillo direction again. We had signed up and paid for some quad car activity, and the experience was unbeatable! This is the highlight of the whole trip ( so far!) It was held at the Carabali Rain Forest Park. They offered all sorts of activities, including horse back riding, go- karting, mountain biking, etc… The tour guides were great and extremely informative. They keep things light and easy, and fun! The tour was 2 hours, and it costs us $85/pp. Part of the tour includes a stop by the river, and you can swim in there, if you like. My friend did that! Before and after the tour, we had had something to eat at a restaurant there. It’s called Carabali Bar and Grill, and oh my goodness, do they not have THE best skirt steak on this planet?! It was so damn good!! Man, I’m blogging now, and I can feel myself salivating thinking about that piece of meat, and how it tasted! Mmmmmmm!!!!!! Must try if you’re there!!!

We drove back to our hotel, and got ready for dinner at this great place called Meat Market Miami, nested in the El San Juan Resort and Casino. The food we had was beautifully prepped, and absolutely drool-worthy! If any of you ever want to dine there, it’s highly recommended! After dinner, we hopped over to the casino, and spend most of the night there.

Day 4

I think because we had had so much of fun yesterday, we both decided to take it easy today. Well, during the day I mean, since we had purchased 2 tickets to the Bio Luminescent Tour tonight, which departs at 7:30PM. We woke up and had breakfast at the Bajuice ( of course! ). Got done with it and decided to drive to “our beach”. Half way through, we thought, maybe we should drive a little further-. And we did….! we stopped to have a quick bite under a tree- Subway sandwiches! We didn’t waste time dining around because we wanted to explore places. We stopped at the Luquillo beach. It was pretty undisturbed, though there are a number of locals lazing around sipping coconut water (directly from the fruit). We spent about 3 hours there, and drove back to the hotel when dusk crept around. We quickly showered and got ready for our Bio Luminescent Tour bus to pick us up at our hotel. The journey to Fajardo took about 2 hours one way, and I pretty much slept through it. In fact both of us were tired. (Note to self: Make sure we have a rain jacket or a wind breaker handy because it can get pretty windy in the night by the waters!).

We arrived at Fajardo around 10 PM. Got off the bus, and gathered around the tour guide. He speaks fast, and knows his stuff. Shortly after the prep talk, we all got into our kayaks, and paddled towards the waiting area in the waters, passed a docked few boats. Here is where it got interesting! (Note to self: MUST improve on coordination skills!!!) I had no idea what happened. It’s like I’ve lost all ability to maneuver with a paddle, when I didn’t have any issues kayaking during most summers at the Sleepy Hollow! Luckily for me, my partner in crime had muscles galore, since we were going against the current, and was somewhat patient with my lost of neurone transmission from brain to limbs! God bless him! If the roles were reversed, I’d have lost my mind, and threw a fit! (Ok…maybe not bad….I”m being dramatic now! 😊 😊 ) Anyway…the tour was a bit unnerving for the both of us at the beginning, as we had to make our way in the dark (pitch black, not even a spark of firefly in sight kind-of-dark) into a narrow passage through a mangrove. As we were paddling our way into the mangrove, the tour guide was offering some interesting facts about these red mangroves, and how it got to Puerto Rico. There were about 20 kayaks in file, bumping into each other, trying to make our way out of that place as swiftly , and with great coordination skills as possible, since we can only see these luminescent planktons after we exit the mangrove, into the lagoon. It was very challenging for all of us because it was utterly impossible to see anything. At that point in time, man….I had never been more grateful and blessed for my ability to see well (actually to see anything {period!}, albeit my having to wear glasses, and contact lenses. Coupled that with my lost of paddling ability… was disastrous for me! I was so frustrated I don’t even know how to describe my frustration!

So…we finally got out into an open space….the lagoon! (Sigh of relieve!) Fresh air…no more feeling of claustrophobia! We continued to follow our guide as closely as possible, fearing we may get loss, since it’s still dark around us. We all placed our hands into the water and swished it around just to see the water under it starts to glow. It was a beautiful sight….phenomenal even! We hung around about 30 minutes longer, and our guide quickly gathered us to bring us back to the starting point. Oh my goodness, I thought. Here goes nothing again! We made our way back through that narrow mangrove of a tunnel. Of course , when we exited it at the end, my friend had a good laugh at me for being a mess. The tour ended, and we all were wet, and cold. Our bus came around shortly after and we all boarded, getting ready to go back to our hotel.

What a night! I mean, we had enjoyed our experience, but nothing topped our ATV tour!

Day 5

No more tours today. Believe me, after yesterday night… all we want to do was veg out by the beach and not wiggle a finger. We had our breakfast, and went to the pharmacy to buy a whole bunch of things to munch in the car. We drove around and ended up at this secluded beach. The lady at the Enterprise Car rental had told us about this
Rough day!Rough day!Rough day!

Wild waves hit the shore the whole day today!
beach. Apparently, that’s her favorite beach. It’s known as the Seven Seas Beach. The sea today was rough, and the waves were wild….nonetheless my friend and I hiked through some jungle and ended up there. Paradise! Serenity! Peace! Tranquility! All the above! We hung around, and sun bathed. After a few hours, we hiked back to the our starting point, and played pool by weather beaten hut/ restaurant. We had something to eat and drink there before we headed back to our hotel.

By the time we got back, it was time for dinner. We tok a walk back to El San Juan Resort, and dined at a restaurant called La Piccola Fontana. Food was delicious, and the service was impeccable! Of course the company was great too! After dinner, we went to the casino, and spend the whole night there playing roulette.

Day 6

This was definitely THE best day of the whole trip! We woke up and decided to do the ATV Tour again later in the day. So we had breakfast , and took the car to “our beach”. We had a great time the last time, and wanted to do it again. What could be better than that?! We played ball. From soccer to some odd racquet game, where the ball kept getting stuck in the net! It was so fun running around, not having to think about anything, acting like kids! We were just living the moment, and the sound of waves crashing in was music to our ears. It wasn’t too long that we packed up and went to Carabali again for the ATV tour. THIS time… the tour was unforgettable! It started to rain when we arrived at the location. So you can imagine, the trail was muddy, and full of puddle of water. We started the tour by selecting the quad car. The tour guide gathered us around, and gave us some stipple about safety, what to do , what not to do…stuff like that. After the talk, we all headed out to the trail. The experience we had this time so far more intense, and dirty than the first one. We had a great laugh, and we even made videos of the ride, when we rode into the water, and got splashed. Wooohoooo!!!!!! Man, that was exhilarating! 2 hours seemed like 2 mins, and time went by so fast. Before we realized, it was over! 😞 We wanted the tour to never end! I even went for a dip in the river! Well..this time , my friend didn’t swim…so it was just me. The water was cold, and crisp. It could have woken up a zombie, trust me!

We started to head back to our hotel close to sunset. We stopped at the same location where we caught the first sunset, and stayed there for a while. This time…we were smarter! 😊 The note I had drafted mentally a few days back came in handy. Insect repellent!!!! Life saver! Those sand flies are vicious! After the sun set, we drove back to the hotel, and got ready for dinner. Since it was the last day at Puerto Rico, we decided to have dinner at The Zest, once again, since the food was phenomenal, and rave worthy! After dinner, we went up to the roof top to grab a drink, and called it a night.

Can’t believe we are leaving tomorrow back to NY!!!!! Ahhh….noooo 😞 😞

Day 7

Morning has broken! Time for us to leave our little island, and go back to the bump and grind of reality in the city. We packed up and returned our sexy red Jeep! Such a bitter sweet feeling we had when we parked that sweet car in her bay. We waved good bye and blew flying kisses to her. We will miss her…our trusted red siren.

It has been a fun and memorable trip for the both of us.

I hope to those of you who are reading this…you will always have a fun and memorable trip too!

Don’t forget to travel!! 😊 😊 😊

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


Tot: 0.089s; Tpl: 0.021s; cc: 6; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0128s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb