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!
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!
Hooray for easy access to COVID vaccinations! Now that we and the larger majority of the people we know have gotten their shot, we’re starting to feel comfortable hanging out and going places again.
Last weekend we sojourned out into the wilds of civilization again for dinner at La Casona, a Spanish restaurant in Santurce. Our local friends Eddie’s and Emma’s nephew was in town with his girlfriend, so we joined some of our neighbors for a celebratory meal.
Highlights included delicious charcuterie, a roving guitarist, and my personal favorite, parrots!
The grounds are absolutely sprawling; we barely skimmed the surface, but we did get to check out the wine cellar.
Here’s hoping we collectively kick COVID to the curb for good and can go on more adventures!
I’ve found a new running trail! It (mostly) hugs the beach all through Piñones, and features some pretty sweet views of the ocean and sometimes even the mountains.
I tried to take a video during my last long run during my favorite portion of the trail. I can’t say it turned out great, per se, in that it a bit herky-jerky and I didn’t always control the camera as well as I would’ve liked. In my defense I was also partially concentrating on not tripping and falling on my face.
All the same, this video will give you the gist, and Pat doctored it nicely and added some music (Nellie McKay’s “Caribbean Time,” since you asked). It doesn’t do the trail justice but it’ll have to tide you over until you can come visit.
We snuck one more trip in under the wire before COVID-19 shut everything down. Follow us on a visit to Culebra!
Culebra is an island off the east coast of Puerto Rico; you take a ferry from Ceiba to get there. Pat’s surfing buddy Raymar is a native, and we spent a lovely weekend with him and his family.
A lot of it our trip was surfing-based, of course, with various members of the party engaging in surfing shenanigans whereas various others preferred, say, drinking prosecco on the beach. Also there were some abandoned tanks from the army (parts of Flamenco used to be a bombing range).
We also met Raymar’s extended family’s 4 dogs, which I obviously loved, plus some wild – or possibly escaped – horses, one of which tried to break into our bungalow.
Also also, we went off-roading in Jeeps to Playa Brava, which was so much like an amusement park ride that my dopamine levels soared accordingly, and as usual Pat and friends went surfing.
Add to that an incredible meal at the Dinghy Dock (grilled tuna FTW!) and a late-night dip in a hot tub (cue that dopamine), and it was a very satisfying trip indeed. We’ll definitely be back!
Last weekend Pat and I took an initial trip to El Yunque, just to get an idea of what trails and such are available. Now when all you intrepid explorers extraordinaire visit, we can offer a little guidance.
We’ve found views:
And the tops of trails (we haven’t done the trails yet; we’re waiting for you, so hurry up and get here):
Last weekend we took another trip west. Highlights from the trip include:
We stopped at a scenic overlook!
Lunch at Kai’s at Playa Jobos in Isabela where Pat bought a new board (not at Kai’s but a surfshop down the road)!
We drove up and down (repeatedly) a terrifyingly steep and narrow road to our Airbnb in Rincón! (This photo doesn’t do it justice; to fully comprehend the horror it helps to remember that it is NOT a one way street.)
We frequented Friends Cafe, admired the holiday decorations because Christmas ain’t over ’til it’s over around here, and poked around the Sunday flea market!
We watched big wave surfers tackle Tres Palmas surf break!
Pat took his new board out at the Little Malibu surf break and we drank Don Q and Cokes!
That everything’s fine in Puerto Rico And aside from some power loss we weren’t really affected Forgive us We didn’t anticipate Any concern
With apologies to William Carlos Williams, whose estate is hopefully not litigious
No, but in all seriousness, I’m not even in Puerto Rico right now, and Pat reports that power has returned to our apartment and everything’s a-okay. The epicenter of the earthquake was pretty far from where we live. No cause for concern! We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled hijinks as soon as I return from Walt Disney World (unless I refuse to leave, which is always a possibility). Stay tuned!
Last weekend we checked off one of our PR must-do items – scuba diving. (Thank you to Brian, Grecia, and Elizabeth for their generous wedding contributions to this activity!)
Aqua Adventures operates out of the Hilton Caribe just outside Viejo San Juan. We ended up having a private lesson with Luis, our dive master, who kitted us out with masks, fins, and oxygen tanks before taking us to the hotel pool. There we ran through the scuba basics – things like clearing your mask, adjusting your vest inflation, and relocating your regulator if it gets knocked out of your mouth.
With that out of the way, it was off to the lagoon! The area is sheltered from the ocean but accessible to hotel guests; we saw occasional people swimming at random above us. More to the point, though, was the variety of wildlife we were able to encounter: fish, fish, and, well, more fish. But it was definitely a highlight swimming through a school and having them surround you.
After our diving adventure, we grabbed lunch at the hotel pool bar and then poked around some nearby fort ruins. I was crowned queen of the iguanas and then had myself cloned, so that was fun.
Finally we headed over to the La Ocho surf break so that Pat could get some waves in, next to the big rock in the above picture. Diving was cool and all, but we know Pat’s priorities!
Last weekend Pat and I took a quick trip to Rincón, a town on the west side of the island that boasts numerous surf breaks.
Unfortunately Pat was unable to try out any surf breaks, and here’s why.
So that was less than ideal for surfing purposes. Luckily, though, the weather cleared in the afternoon, and we were able to take advantage of one of our hotel’s amenities: the swim-up bar. Life goal = check!
In the evening we headed across the street to GastroPark@115, a little food truck court offering everything from hot dogs to sushi.
And that was our Rincón resort experience. Next time we plan to stay in the town proper, where all the little shops and restaurants live. Until next time!