La isla del encanto

Published: March 23rd 2015
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In November of 2014, I felt the New Year creeping up on me fast. I wanted to do something different than the traditional countdown at my uncle's house. I wanted to get away, and go somewhere I haven't gone before. And I did just that. Spending the New Year of 2015 in Puerto Rico, has to be my favorite New Year's celebration thus far. I was able to travel with my very own tour guide! My boyfriend, Adrian, born and raised in the island of Puerto Rico, was able to plan our entire trip and help maximize our time there. It was a vacation filled with adventure and love. Meeting many of his family members and being accepted by this loving community of native 'Boriquas'.

Upon our 9am arrival on Dec. 31st, I was welcomed with a full course breakfast, which my stomach was thankful for. We caught up on each others lives and started our day we explored el viejo San Juan (old San Juan) and ate amazing food there after. We soon headed back to Adrian's child hood home. New Year's eve parties were waiting for us in every corner and every household. It was a different experience to be greeted and welcomed into their homes. Needless to say it was a long night! But of course my adventures in P.R don't stop there.

We explored so many different places on this trip:

El Morro (the Hill) is located in Old San Juan. You cannot leave P.R without visiting this landmark! It is a historical fort that still stands with real cannon balls stored in the basements! The fort walls are more than ten feet thick! Try breaking through that! The cost to enter the Museum is $10 a person. It is a self guided walk through and you can explore as much of the fort as you want. There are plenty of staff walking about to answer any questions you may have.

La isla de Culebra (Island of Culbera) which in English means, Island of the Snake- Not that I encountered any. The ocean had the most turquoise waters I ever did see, and the sand was almost as while as snow. There are concession stands on the island offering typical and traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, smoothies and alcoholic drinks. Everthing was delicious and overall just a remarkable experience. There is a ferry to get from Port Fajardo, in the mainland, to the small island off the east coast of P.R. It takes about an hour and it is only $4 a person! There are shuttle services available to transport you to the beach from the ferry port upon your arrival to Culebra. Although they are not complimentray, they are very affordable and some even offer round trip deals! (You can either buy a round trip pass for a day or stay over night in one of the boutique hotels or possibly camping on the beach! We were short on days, so camping wasn't an option, but all the locals advised me to come back and try it!)

Cueva Venta (Window Cave) What extraordinary views! Located by Arecibo, PR. Central North of the island. This self guided tour is only $10 a person, and you are handed a hardhat, and a flash light with your ticket entry. Depending on your group it could last from 20 mins to two hours! Major fitness endurance is not needed. Just watch your step! Unless you have a Go Pro or a professional camera, don't expect to be fully captured on camera inside the cave, you'll see just your silhouette. I suggest you enjoy the views first, and pictures second! Big Tip: Arrive early! Or you will have 10 people in your perfect snap shot!

Cueva del Indio (Indian Cave) This truly made me feel like an explorer! This is also a self guided tour, virtually free! Just the parking fees of $5 and $1 a person. The duration of this tour is entirely up to the explorer. It is a cave inside a cliff, with views form the top and history on the inside! Hold on to your electronics and pull back your hair. The wind is strong on the top of the cliff and there is ocean water within the cave. Very safe for families, but please watch your children, there are holes on top of the cliff, always watch your step! The cave drawings are remarkable and I suggest doing a quick read on Puerto Rican Tainos (Indians). It will just make the experience that much more special.

El Yunque Rainforest located on the North East of the island is more than an all day venture! There is no entrance fee to the forest, unless you are stopping by the visitor's center. Suggestion: Google your itinerary before you leave the hotel, it'll save you time and money. There are many trails and stops to see and explore! As you drive deeper in the forest you start feel the climate change, and mosquito become more persistent. Bring bug spray and a change of clothes, one to hike, and the other to swim! You can actually climb the rocks and touch the waterfall cascading down the mountain side. It's a long walk to almost every site, but it is definitely worth it!

Toro Verde Adventure Park located nearly in the center of the island, in Orocovis, truly lives up to it's name! This park is filled with many heart racing activities! The prices are a little steep, and you'll have to purchase your activity in advance and bring closed toes shoes! However , everything is very organized and secure. My boyfriend and I did zip lining, my second time, his first. So I was excited to see what he thought! He was absolutely in love with the rush and we captured each others plunge to the end of the cable lines on the Go Pro. Must have experience to cross off the bucket list! Tip: If you are under 100 lbs, like me, do not purchase The Beast. You won't be able to ride it. I was heart broken, but the clerks were very accommodating and understanding in issuing a refund.

If you have any questions about Puerto Rico, feel free to comment below!

Stay tuned for more Tips and Suggestions throughout my travels... if I wander it, I'll write it!

Safe Travels!


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