El Conquistador

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.

Feliz Cumplea├▒os a Pat

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. ­čśŽ

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!

Puntas con Gatitas

So we took the cats out West to an area of Rinc├│n called Puntas this week. It was a bit of a mixed bag if you were to ask Minx and Ruffian.

The car ride over was horrific but the ocean front naps were top notch.
Jenn and Minx getting in on the nap action.
Exciting new climbing nooks were explored.

As usual, beachfront cocktails were had.

Potentially too many cocktails were had for some…

I, of course, mostly made the voyage to get some fun surfing in and the waves definitely didn’t disappoint.

Not a bad view. If you zoom in to the left of the palm tree you can see a surfer out there and get a sense of the scale. It was big.

The surf was fun but left me battered and bruised. At least I still caught some fun ones.

I think the board won the exchange but neither of us left unscathed.
Me getting into one; thanks Surfline camera for the picture.

Overall I’d say it was a success, even if the 2.5 hour car ride was the worst thing that has ever happened to the kitties. Maybe they’ll join us for more adventures… screaming all the way.

Finalmente Fuimos a Vieques

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!

Correr y Surfear en Isabela

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!

ON THE RUNNING TRAIL!!!!!!

ISABELA IS MY FAVORITE!

TELL PAT TO ONLY SURF HERE FROM NOW ON!

Guavate y Finca Corsica

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!

Noche de San Juan

Lovely Night for a Swim

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.

Cenamos en La Casona

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!