One of my favorite vacation destinations to date is Puerto Rico. It was me and my husband's (boyfriend at the time) first trip together so I had some high expectations... and it did not disappoint.
We flew into San Juan (super easy flight from DFW) and cabbed it into Old Town San Juan for a couple of nights. I was amazed at the colors and how beautiful the old district was as we made our way to where we were staying. We stumbled into a funny story that we now laugh about right off the bat. If you have not been to San Juan just know that it can be hot and VERY humid. Now I grew up in Houston so I thought I knew humid but this was something else, ha. I've experienced a lot traveling over the years and never regret trying new things even if I end up telling myself that I wouldn't do it again. One of those things would be staying at a hostel on the 3rd floor in San Juan, PR. Why you ask? Well I for one have never traveled lightly and when we arrived at the building that the hostel was in we had to climb 3 flights of non-air conditioned stairs with heavy suitcases (well... my husband had to carry my heavy suitcase that is.)
Soaking wet from sweat we dropped our stuff off in a very humid room where they suggested you only turn on your AC while occupying the room. Well we didn't listen to that rule, that's for sure. Bring on the beautiful A/C! After drying and cooling off, we hit the town. Again, not sure if I was feeling adventurous or what but we ended up getting some pretty entertaining stories from that place so the experience was definitely worth it in the end. If you're traveling a little less budget conscious, there are plenty of awesome places to stay in Old San Juan, such as The Gallery Inn and Hotel El Convento.
There is so much to explore, with great restaurants, bars and live music. And oh so many pictures to take. Every turn is the perfect instagram shot.
We then rented a car and headed out for our drive around the Island. Next stop: Rincon, PR. This is a pretty big surfing community with lots of yummy seafood and beaches. We decided to make this our next stop because I found a tree house I wanted us to stay in. We drove up the coast, stopping in several little towns to eat their street food and explore their pristine beaches.
And of course, Puerto Rico's Pork Highway, more incredible food. Definitely recommend renting a car so you have the ability to explore everything! We made our way to Rincon and find our Tree House just before the sun set. We stopped in at a local grocery store to pick up some more beer and wine (of course) and some small eats for a tapas style meal in our tree. Figured we wouldn't want to leave once we got out there. We pull up to this little spot where we hear a guy playing a guitar and he comes out shoe less to greet us and walk us to our bungalow in the sky for the night. It felt very Swiss Family Robinson. We have a 3 story tree house that they have built and there is a shower off to the side (open air obviously), a kitchen on the 2nd floor and our sleeping bunk full of mosquito nets, incredible views... and our booze cooler of course. We sat up there, listened to music and ate our dinner.
Only issue. PR is a pretty humid place and we were sleeping outside. Needless to say, we were both up by probably 5am ready to get back in the car with AC.
Next stop: Vieques. Not going to lie, this is the reason we came to PR. We headed back to the airport and hopped on a puddle jumper plane and were in Vieques in under 20 minutes. You can also take a ferry over there if little planes aren't your thing...they're not mine either, but much better than a 2 hour ferry ride in my opinion. Worth it.
We stayed at a boutique hotel, Hacienda Tamarindo and were so happy with our choice. We rented a jeep to explore the island (highly suggest doing that). The island is pretty big and there are a ton of places you'll need a jeep to access!
Our bungalow on Vieques had a patio with a view of all the wild horses galloping by. Tons of them on the island.
Every morning started with an amazing breakfast with passion fruit juice. If you ever get that option for fresh passion fruit juice, don't look back. Get it.
We aren't huge explorers, not going to lie. Lots of beach time. And there were so many beaches to try out and a lot of them we had all to ourselves. Pretty incredible. We of course would bring our cooler with us and our.. ahem..my snacks for the afternoon, blue tooth speaker and hang out in the sun for the day.
If you want to ride horses in the ocean, scuba dive, snorkel, all of those things, that's there too...we just liked the hang out. Every night we tried different places to eat and were never disappointed. There's a little "downtown" where there are several restaurants, food stands and bars you can try. Tons of amazing seafood.
There are quite a few people that live here from the states, most being retirees...which is very understandable. If you're looking for a party town, this is not it. But if you're looking for a quiet, beautiful place to explore and relax, you've got to add this to your vacation list.