Jenn and I finally got ourselves out of San Juan and took a quick trip over to Luquillo, the sleepy little beach town to the east of us. We only stayed two days but overall had a pretty good time.
We frequented a fun beachside bar and restaurant called Boardriders.
While there we had a chance to meet up with one of my coworkers and his wife, George and Aida. They recently bought a condo to spend weekends in Luquillo and invited us over for some wine and snacks. Jenn of course was mostly infatuated with their dog, Apolo.
The next day I went for a surf in what I hope was mostly sediment the rains brought down from the mountains and later we had plans to go out to lunch with George, Aida, and Apolo. Unfortunately, in typical Puerto Rican fashion the owners of the establishment we planned to dine at were out on vacation. After our lunch failure we parted ways and went back to San Juan. I’m sure we’ll be back for another round sometime soon.
In case you were wondering, we coincidentally happened to be vacationing on the Outer Banks during the whole Hurricane Fiona thing and thus bore no deprivation from it whatsoever. The electricity was on when we came home and everything. Spare a thought for the southwest part of the island, though; they were hit much harder.
And spare a thought for the lizard that chose, upon confronted with the eldritch horror that was Pat’s hand, chose to sprint into the open freezer and hide there. Is he still there? Is he dead, frozen? Is he dormant? Did he escape? We don’t know. But it haunts us.
Last week Pat attended an architecture convention at the El Conquistador Resort, and I tagged along. El Conquistador is in Fajardo in the northeast of the island, and pretty much the quintessential beach vacation hotel.
We found our room to be only okay for the price, but you really can’t beat the amenities. They’ve got like 87,000 pools and hot tubs, including one with a swim up bar, which leads us to…
the required fruity drinks.
They also have a full-on water park…
And my personal favorite, the funicular!
Of course it’s all oceanside, because how could it not be.
If it’s your first time in PR, I wouldn’t recommend this over, say, exploring Old San Juan or El Yunque, but for a second or third trip you could certainly do worse. Any place with a lazy river is okay by me.
Last weekend we headed to arguably Pat’s favorite place on the island, Rincon, to celebrate the birthday of arguably my favorite person on Earth, Pat. We were mostly there because of a good swell coming through, and he got several surfing sessions in. But we did other stuff too!
We drank watermelon juice…
Visited the ruins of the lighthouse…
Visited the not-ruins of a lighthouse…
And had a poolside birthday brunch.
I also tried to feed some horses mints, but they weren’t interested. 😦
We also went to the Rincon Art Walk, which is a kind of arts and crafts fair that happens there every Thursday. He found a nifty artist he really liked and walked away with a t-shirt.
Overall a great completion to the Pat-year, some big waves and good drinks!
After at least one deferred trip thanks to COVID, we finally made it out to Vieques! Similar to Culebra, Vieques is an island on the southeast coast of Puerto Rico. It is larger and more populous than Culebra, and a surprisingly popular American mainland tourist destination. It does not presently have a hospital, though, so please stand 6 feet apart.
Our primary goal on this particular excursion was to cash in on my birthday present: horseback riding! With real live horses and everything! + Cute dog!
Vieques also boasts any number of wild horses, after the fashion of Assateague Island. Unlike Assateague Island, however, there are no park rangers or posted signs admonishing you to stay away from them. You can catch one if you want. (Pat wouldn’t let me.)
(Yes, we rented a golf cart. Yes, you should be jealous.)
Aside from riding, we spent our 3-day weekend in traditional island style: with fun drinks…
Breakfast sandwiches (of champions!) from a really awesome place called Rising Roost…
The world’s most free-range chickens, which local chefs’ actions suggest probably-to-definitely end up in your dinner…
And of course, making sweater-thief kitty friends. Always!
Hello and welcome to the description of my favorite location in Puerto Rico so far! It’s called Isabela, it’s along the north coast about two hours west of San Juan, and Pat wanted to go because there are a lot of good surf breaks. Because there are a lot of good surf breaks, a resort town sprang up in the area, with the associated shops and restaurants and the like. This is not an uncommon story.
So, what makes Isabela so special? THEY HAVE A RUNNING PATH.
And lots of surfing. We stayed in an Airbnb practically on top of Jobos, where Pat surfed.
AND I RAN!
There was a restaurant literally right next to our rental. It served pretty decent food and even breakfast. One morning Pat and I got breakfast AFTER I WENT FOR A RUN!
A few weeks ago we went on a mini overnight adventure with some buddies. Our first stop was Guavate, aka La Ruta de Lechon, so called because of the many, many pig roast food stalls that populate the area.
Our friend Tim insisted that Lechonera Los Pinos is the best, so we stopped there. We did get some roasted pork but the ribs were the tastiest!
Next up: Charco Azul, a little pond/stream/bathing pool area that requires a brief hike through the rainforest to reach. No waterfalls, alas, but it was still cute.
Finally, we bunked for the night at Finca Corsica, an Airbnb/glamping/camping area by the ocean. There was direct beach access and a pool, but personally I (Jenn) was most excited by the cows!
This is our friend Tim’s band. They are called, as you might have surmised, Los Diamantes. We caught them at an outdoor food truck spot a couple weeks ago. We’re inoculated but still cautious, so right now outdoors is where it’s at.
We are such incredible VIPs we got to hang with the band between sets. The fun never stops when you’re vaccinated!
This past Wednesday was Noche de San Juan, obviously named for the patron saint of the city – well, island really. Interesting side note, the island used to be called San Juan and the city was called Puerto Rico… which actually makes more sense. I don’t remember why it got flipped but here we are.
Every June 23rd, the residents celebrate by going to the beach, partying, and then at midnight “dunking” themselves in the ocean 3 or 7… or 11 times. No one seems to agree on the correct number but the important part is you face backwards and jump into the waves some prime number of times. I’m pretty sure the result of this ritual is that you have good luck for the year or your negativity rinsed off, something like that.
Unfortunately, since this all takes place at night it was tough to get any good pictures but imagine the below image with more people and at night.
Since I’m currently working night shift (which is terrible and I hate), things were a bit easier in hanging out at the beach at midnight during a Wednesday. Anyway it was a fun little experience to take in. One thing I’ve definitely learned while being here is that Boricua never miss a chance to have a good time.