Last Memorial weekend we traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Despite the sad fact that it’s the last time K and C will be together before Christmas, we were able to enjoy beautiful Puerto Rico for 4 days.
We stayed at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, across from the Convention Center. The hotel was about a 20 minute walk from the beach so we were glad to get some exercise in! It’s always good to be active even when you’re on vacation.
The first thing we did after getting to the hotel was walk to Condado Beach.
We enjoyed some appetizers at Di Parma and then just relaxed. We totally deserved it after how crazy our jobs have been!
Later that night we had dinner at El Alambique in Isla Verde. We tried the famous mofongo with shrimp. It was delicious but huge and quite filling. We did our best but it was impossible to eat it all.
We then went to Club Brava, also in Isla Verde. The club is probably one the trendiest touristy places to go out. The music was amazing and included a mix of latin and old school hip hop. We danced the whole night until we couldn’t stand anymore!
The next day it was time to get more adventurous. First, we decided to get lost in the tiny streets of Old San Juan.
We then stopped at The Mezzanine for brunch. It’s a speakeasy bar with a really cool vibe and the brunch is tapas style with bottomless mimosas. What else could you possibly want to start your day?!
After a couple of hours we went to Ocean Park beach to chill for a while and also found a really nice tiki bar with delicious cocktails.
Later, it was time for a more extreme adventure in El Yunque rainforest. We got there quite late so we didn’t get to spend much time hiking and exploring. However, it was enough to understand how gorgeous and huge it is. We’ve to go back for sure and follow some of the trails!
In the evening, we went back to Old San Juan to enjoy some delicious tapas at Toro Salao. The waitress was really nice and helped us with recommendations. We made a rookie mistake: everything we ordered was fried so we were ridiculously full in no time. In general the food was great but we would recommend mixing the fried items with some lighter options to make the experience more enjoyable.
On Memorial Day, we went to the beach in Isla Verde. It literally started pouring 5 minutes after we laid down so we had no choice but to run into the first bar/restaurant we could find. We had a couple of drinks and appetizers and met a lovely lady from California, Talya, who had been in Puerto Rico since April 1st spending some quality time by herself. For a 54-year-old she’s quite adventurous and warmed our hearts with her stories. She told us one about a summer back in the early sixties, when she was in France with her mom and met a young Portuguese man who invited her to come along with him to Portugal… in the back of his motorcycle! Most people would have said no but arrangements were made between both families and a few days later Talya met his family in the North of our lovely Portugal and had an amazing time she will never forget. We shared a couple other stories before the storm calmed down. It was definitely a pleasant afternoon and we’re grateful we got to meet such an amazing human being! Hopefully, we’ll meet again someday.
Later on we went to get a cab in front of El Alambique but the waiter who served us two nights earlier for dinner invited us to stay for a drink so we decided to stay a little longer. The ambiance was totally different as there were pretty much only locals this time. We sat at the bar and started requesting some latin songs and talking to a few locals. Everyone was having a blast and some boricuos actually started singing out loud and dancing!!!
After all this fun, we started walking back to the hotel just to digest for a little bit. It was ok in the beginning. We stopped by a Venezuelan Arepa place and had an amazing cachapa con queso.
As we were full again, we kept walking for a while. Before we noticed, we were walking into the ghetto. Everything was fine but later that night even locals told us we shouldn’t have done that. We ended up walking for 5 miles back to the hotel. Fortunately, it resumed to nearly 3 hours of good but crazy exercise.
At night we wanted to explore Santurce, which is where locals go out. It was very unfortunate that La Placita was closed and most of the restaurants looked like they didn’t even open for the day because of Memorial Day. We were a bit disappointed but we finally found Los Pinos Cafe and had some food (including vegetarian mofongo) before going to the club.
Apparently on Mondays La Respuesta is the place to be! The club is in an old warehouse with a very hipster decor. The walls are covered in amazing art. We saw a few tourists but the crowd is mostly composed by locals. The music scene was awesome as well as some of the dancing skills of the crowd.
It was a veeery long day followed by a super fun night so we decided to sleep in the next morning and just relax by the hotel pool before going to the airport.
Right when we thought our adventures were over, there was a massive transportation strike so there were no means of transportation to go to the airport. We needed to be at work the following day so we just had to find a way to get us to the airport. Thankfully, we’re both very resourceful, so we just stopped every single car leaving the hotel. Of course we ended up in an airport shuttle with pilots!!! The driver told us to be quiet the whole trip so we were dying laughing inside. Those 15 minutes to the airport felt like an hour. We had so much to input to add to the conversation that it was a real struggle hahaha.
All in all it was a great trip to Puerto Rico. We just feel that there’s a lot more to explore in the island, especially outside San Juan. Great excuse to come back! Also, it is worth noting that locals were amazing throughout our short stay. It only took a smile or a greeting to have them reciprocating with a kind gesture that made our stay more enjoyable… and the feeling that came along with those gestures was priceless!
– K & C