Sunday, December 29, 2013

top 5 puerto rico moments

F-stop and I needed a warm winter getaway and a dose of vitamin D, so we flew down to Puerto Rico last week for a few days of R and R. It's a quick, direct flight from Philly – about 3.5 hours.

I must have been a Puertoriqueña in another life; Inexplicably, this Polish chica has always gravitated toward salsa music, salsa dancing, and Puerto Rican food. So, in some ways. the island felt oddly familiar and comfortable to me – the charming, neon-bright houses of old San Juan [a World Heritage site], the tarnished beauty of the streets, the impenetrable El Morro fort, the manatees surfacing like mermaids in the back bay near our hotel, the incessant rainbows appearing out of nowhere. The weather was a bit wonky, a bit of rain, rip tides that kicked up sand making snorkeling impossible, and winds that upturned even the sturdiest of beach umbrellas.But the Friendly people – intentional capital F – meant every day was sunny and every vista gleamed. Seriously. I'm a skeptical, cynical city girl. But people on the streets of San Juan said "hola" just because. Here in Philadelphia, people ignore you, or worse yet, curse at you, just because.

Here are my top 5 Puerto Rico memories in photos.

1. Rainbows, every couple of hours.

2. Bird sanctuary at our hotel. The hotel was "meh," but I loved hanging out with my feathered friends. This mama duck trusted me enough to get thisclose to her brood.

Mama duck and her brood

One of the more colorful guests. The pea-hens were pretty, too

Yes, the Caribe Hilton has a pet turkey. Two, actually. And I think they know how lucky they are.

3. It's easy being vegan or vegetarian. I've heard Puerto Rico horror stories. But I had no problemo.

Massive piña colada at the Piña Colada Club.

Muy bueno vegan burrito at the Piña Colada Club.

Delicious salad at my hotel. Though the phosphorescent green chips were a turn off.

4. Old San Juan. It's a Unesco World Heritage site for a reason. Puerto Rico is a US territory but there's nothing remotely American about these streets, except gringa tourists like me. PR was discovered in 1493, and still has a mostly European look and feel.

Colorful houses

Cafeteria Mallorca 

Awesome graffiti

5. El Morro. To me, the construction of this massive fortification was an architectural feat to rival the Pyramids. Incredible views. I felt privileged to see this slice of history and better understand why Puerto Rico ["rich port"] earned its name as the gateway to the "new world."

Sea view from El Morro

Graffiti in the dungeon at San Cristobal

Plaza, San Cristobal
And of course, we have to end with another rainbow
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Andrea said...

I've never been to Puerto Rico, but you've made it sound very tempting. (Anyplace warm sounds tempting right now.) I love the rainbows, and the double rainbow. They remind me of New Zealand, where we saw rainbows everywhere we went. Magical.

Johanna said...

Thanks for your pics. I really need a vacation, too.

Anonymous said...

Nice and true comments with the exception of the vegetarian piece. It is VERY challenging to be vegetarian anywhere outside San Juan. In San Juan it's fairly simple.

urban vegan said...

Fair point, Anonymouse. I only visited San Juan so I can't speak for the rest of the island.

Lauren said...

You captured such beauty in Puerto Rico! I love all of the rainbow pictures - hope to travel there someday soon! Glad you had somewhat success with vegan food there!

Carrie™ said...

Beautiful photos. Looks like a lovely place. Then you came back to the crappiest weather. :(

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