Views from San Juan, Puerto Rico

This year I decided to visit Puerto Rico for the 15th anniversary of my 21st Birthday. #foreveryoung #forever21 With this decision there were a few things I wanted to do while I was there but I wasn’t going to compose an “itinerary” because I don’t like to commit to things. Some would call me a free spirit others a commitment phobe. But who cares what other people think?

So my best friend, “Baby Oprah” and I decided to stay at the Hyatt Place San Juan/Bayamon. I don’t think I realized that this hotel was as far away from the beach as it was until we arrived at the airport in San Juan and our cab ride which was suppose to be twenty five minutes away turned into a forty five minute drive, in rush hour traffic, which cost $38. It didn’t help that our cab driver drove like a bat out of hell, whose engine light was on and anytime he stopped in traffic he had to put his car in neutral. WTF!

When we arrived at the hotel, we checked in and was informed instead of the two queen bed guest room we booked they were only able to accommodate us with a king bed guest room which had a queen size pull out couch. You know we were FURIOUS! Well, my best friend was more mad than I was and she let the Hotel clerk have IT. What is it you ask? It was every angry thought Baby Oprah could muster up in a professional no-nense manner to get the Hotel clerk to understand that she “fudged” up. The hotel clerk immediately tried to “please the customer”. She did everything she could to resolve the situation or make us believe she could resolve the situation. For example, she offered us free parking, she exaggerated about the free breakfast the hotel offered and let us know EVERYTHING we needed to know about the area we stayed in. She promised she would do as much as she could to make our stay pleasurable so we sucked it up and made the best of it.

The first evening, we walked to a local restaurant called El Aposento and enjoyed a delicious Puerto Rican style meal. I had a bacon wrapped chicken breast stuffed with sweet plantains in guava sauce with rice and beans, salad and Sangria. Mmm! Baby Oprah had a cornish hen with rice and beans and sweet plantains. Let’s just say afterward, I felt stuffed and it was well worth it.  Later that evening, we hung out at La Placita Santurce which was an area with bars and clubs which played a variety of music. We were able to meet up with some Baylor friends who were also vacationing in San Juan. And when we found a place that played hip hop, had good drinks at a good price, we danced until we were tired.

Bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breast with sweet plantains

The next morning, Baby Oprah and I decided to rent a car because we had already spent $116 for cab service. We went down to the concierge who recommended a company called Target rent a car. They charged us less than $150 total to rent a mid size car, pick us up from the hotel and provided shuttle service to to the airport when we left. #winning

We were not excited to have to drive ourselves around while on vacation but we weren’t crazy enough to continue to pay those exorbitant prices. Later that day, we journeyed to Old San Juan. We enjoyed a meal at Cafe Puerto Rico where I had a slightly salty fried pork chop and Baby Oprah had some mofongo with chicken. We also bought some souvenirs and ventured to Isla Verde beach. And because we had a little energy left we found ourselves at Tropical Casino later that evening which was adjacent to our hotel.

Haitian Art Gallery in Old San Juan

Hanging in Old San Juan

The next day was my actual birthday and we woke up to go to Condado Beach. In case you didn’t know the beach is my happy place! All I need in life is a beach with white sand, blue water, a nice breeze, good adult beverage, some music or a good book and I am good to go. And this beach offered just that! But of course we had a voyage to take to get there.

The ditch we had to walk in and the wall we had to scale to get to the beach

When we found free parking on the street and saw a Caucasian family walking towards the beach we figured it wasn’t that far away and we would take a short cut. What we failed to realize was we had to walk in an alley on rocks, scale a wall, cross a stream all while trying not to “bust our head to the white meat” in flip flops with beach bags. When we arrived at the promise land, we found us the perfect place on the beach which provided us everything we needed. I was in my element and you couldn’t tell me nothing!!!

Taking in Paradise
Drinking Pina Colada 

Baby Oprah and I

When we finally got hungry we found us a little place to grab a bite, went back to the hotel to change our clothes and headed to my second favorite place, THE MALL!! We did a little shopping and had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. I truly enjoyed the entire day!

On our last full day we skipped breakfast and headed to do some more sightseeing at Casa Bacardi. In case you don’t know, Casa Bacardi is the distillery where Bacardi is manufactured. We took a tour and was given a tasty beverage before the tour began. We learned about the history of Bacardi and even got to taste some Bacardi 8 at the end of the tour.

Casa Bacardi
Casa Bacardi

After the tour, we went to  Castillo San Cristobal, a fort built by Spain which was created to protect San Juan from being attacked. And it was HUGE! It was also hot so I think I became two shades darker after our visit. I was able to learn some history about the fort’s importance and take some great pictures. When we left, there was a wedding taking place right next to the fort which I wanted to crash but was unable to because of the event planner standing by the entrance. So all I could do was take this picture below.

Random Wedding

When we left we had some less than delightful caribbean food at Blessed Cafe in Old San Juan and went back to Condado Beach. All in all, my experience was memorable. And in case you didn’t know Puerto Rico is a US territory which also happens to be in the Caribbean, where no passport is required. From the aggressive, horrible driving to the natives speaking Spanish to me and me saying, “no habla espanol,” to the flavorful delicious native cuisine of Puerto Rico, I would recommend you visit at least once.  Until next time….

Outside of Casa Bacardi Museum

Sisters for Life!

Scenic view
Cute restaurant in Old San Juan
Castillo San Cristobal
View from the top of Castillo San Cristobal
Castillo San Cristobal
View from the side of Castillo San Cristobal
Whose short now?
Happy ending!

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