A beautiful island destination that does not resemble anything like US but still a part of USA (either in the metric system, food, or traffic rules). Puerto Rico is a destination for a perfect vacation at a minimal budget.
My 3 day trip to Puerto Rico was not enough to cover its marvels yet I tried to make it to some of the beautiful places in Puerto Rico.
- El Yunque Rainforest
- Flamenco Beach
- La Pared Beach
- Mar Chiquita Beach
- San Juan
- Old San Juan
El Yunque National Forest:
An escape into the enchanted forest filled with fog-covered hills with trees all over, muddy paths, and waterfalls in between.
A van picked us up to the remotely located forest. As we walked our way into the forest, we were surrounded by lush green trees, gushing sounds of water from far around, and chirps of birds.
Of all the things that El Yunque is famous for, rope jump and dive into the lagoon are its specialties. Geared up for our rope jump, we wore our life jackets, tied our shoes, and started our hike into the forest. We had to walk through the muddy trails in between the trees without anything to hold except each other. In some places of the forest, we had to walk on bamboo shafts, and trying to keep our balance on the bamboos was a challenge in itself.
After half an hour hike in the forest, in the wet mud, and through the natural trials of water, we reached a place where we can do jump rope into the water. Being a non-swimmer, I was confused if I should make the jump yet with the help of our guide, I made my first rope jump into the water. Lifejacket definitely added to my confidence. After our rope jump, I relaxed in the mineral water lagoon floating around with my life jacket and enjoying the landscape.
Another interesting thing in El Yunque are the natural water-slides that end in a lagoon. The water-slides look like a natural tiny waterfall dropping into the lagoon. All you have to do is lie down and slide your way through like a kid! If you are an adventure junkie, you can do a deep dive from a depth of 20 feet into the water or if you are more adventurous, you can take a 40 feet jump!
Later, that evening we went to “Plaza Publica Barcelaneta” and enjoyed the nightlife, shook our legs for some Salsa, and enjoyed local live music.
Coral reefs, aquamarine water, perfect temperatures, and an amazing place for snorkeling!
We took a catamaran ride from ‘Puerto Del Rey Marina’ to Flamenco beach. Our first stop was Culebra island. It was an hour boat trip to Culebra island and I could see El Yunque forest in the background. Culebra island was our first stop for snorkeling.
This was my first snorkel experience. I grabbed my snorkel gear, fins, life jacket, and got down into the water. The water was clear blue and with snorkel gear on, I could see every inch of water filled with colorful fishes and a variety of coral reefs. Videos hardly did justice to what I saw in real. I swam around and enjoyed snorkeling for a good hour and then headed back to the boat for a nice afternoon lunch.
Later, our boat started to Flamenco beach. The water was all shades of beautiful blue. Azure skies, bluish-green waters, and boats parked. Our boat stopped in the water and we had to swim to the shore. We made little mermaids in the sand, drenched in azure waters, and relaxed in the sun & sand getting ourselves tanned. It’s all these little things that make our lives beautiful, isn’t it?
La Pared beach:
To the contrast of Flamenco beach is the La Pared beach. If Flamenco was filled with different shades of blue, La Pared beach was filled with glitters of gold. I visited this beach in the sunset time and whoa! A view to die for! The sand was so soft as if it were melting gold. I walked across the line of the beach with water touching my feet every now and then.
After the beach walk, I went to the “Boardriders” surf bar & grill. This shack offers perfect views of the beach, great food, awesome music, and needless to say A-ma-zing Pinacoladas. Also, don’t forget to try their french fries and ask them for some peri peri to spice up the fries. Trust me you are gonna love it!
Mar Chiquita beach:
Famously known as the mushroom beach and was at a walkable distance from our place of stay. Read all about it in my blog https://pinchofmysoul.com/mar-chiquita-beach-puerto-rico/
Kiosko El Boricua:
A local Puerto Rican shack on the beachside. A perfect place to enjoy the native Puerto Rican food which includes fried, steamed bananas, etc.
I tried my hands at authentic dishes like Alcapurria, Arepas, Arroz Con Jues. Since I am a vegetarian, I preferred options that served with corn. Believe me, this particular restaurant is very famous and has a waiting line.
Old San Juan:
Old San Juan is a place that transcends you to historic ages. An old fort with a view of the beach reminding of the European countryside welcomes you. Sunset and sunrise are a sight to behold when you visit the fort. You can sit along the edges of the fort and enjoy the stunning views of the sea.
On the other side are the colorful buildings by the cobbled streets lined with clubs and beautiful restaurants. I walked my evening strolling along the colorful streets, sipping on the famous Pinacoladas, taking some instaworthy pictures, and ended up at the fort for the beautiful sunset views.
A little stroll on the streets takes you to a local flea market which looks like a state fair with local live music, thrifty stores, and cotton candies. Also, I stopped at “I love PR” statue and took many pictures for the memories.
P.S: FAQ – Do US citizens or US visa holders need a separate visa to visit Puerto Rico?
Answer is “NO”. Your ID should be sufficient. It is just like travelling to any other state of USA.