Hi Everyone! Welcome back to our blog. Today we are excited to share with you our trip to one of our top favorite places to visit: Puerto Rico! We have traveled to Puerto Rico a number of times now and have developed a pretty good understanding of what this beautiful island has to offer. So let's dive right in! :)
Where to Stay:
When traveling to Puerto Rico we like to stay at a number of different places. However, after going there more than 6 times now, we can definitely say that we've narrowed down to our top 3 favorites!
When staying in Old San Juan there are two wonderful hotels that we highly recommend: Hotel El Convento and CasaBlanca Hotel.
Hotel El Convento is located right in the heart of Old San Juan. Fun fact: It was built in 1646 and is located on old monastery adjoining the San Juan Cathedral square. The cathedral is the second-oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere. How cool!
This hotel is absolutely stunning and I completely understand why it is not only 4 stars, but also rated one of the top hotels in all of San Juan on Tripadvisor. Old world charm meets contemporary comfort and luxury here and trust us, this is definitely a place you'd want to stay if you're looking for that elegant, upscale vacation in the heart of Old San Juan.
Amenities include: access to their Beach Club, fitness center, pool, and a nightly complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres reception.
Now on to a more moderately priced hotel, the CasaBlanca Hotel is also nestled right in middle of beautiful Old San Juan. Just steps from historic landmarks and nightlife, the CasaBlanca Hotel is the perfect place to stay when visiting Puerto Rico. We stayed there for two nights on our last trip to Puerto Rico and we were more than comfortable staying there.
This romantic boutique style hotel offers a choice of 32 beautifully decorated rooms. Each room is filled with restored antique furnishings, local art, moroccan accents, and much more. We were lucky enough to land a Balcony Queen room, which is ideal for travelers who love to have view overlooking the bustling city streets. We were able to sit out on our balcony every single day and enjoy the buzz of the city with a glass of wine and appreciate the beauty of Old San Juan. We truly felt as if we were in an Indiana Jones movie or something!
Amenities include: Rooftop Terrace, In-Room Tablet Valet Services, Free Room Wi-Fi, Daily housekeeping, and a delicious Café.
Now if you are like us then you definitely need a little adventure in your life, there is nothing more that screams adventure than a tropical rainforest! If you are wanting to stay close to the stunning El Yunque National Rainforest then look no further than the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa.
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar is located just 15 minutes from the rainforest (yes, 15!), and about a 40 minute drive from Old San Juan. Side note: Whenever we travel to Puerto Rico we like to book a rental car. This allows us to have the freedom to explore the island at our own leisure and stay at different ends of the island as well.
Dave has stayed at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar over 7 times now and it's definitely like a second home to him. This hotel is bordered by El Yunque Rainforest’s scenic mountains, the Mameyes River, and the beautiful turquoise Atlantic Ocean. I mean, what more could you ask for? Besides all that, it offers two championship golf courses, a 7,000-square-foot spa, a full casino, and even tennis lesson packages for all you sports lovers out there. This hotel truly has it all! Whenever we come to Puerto Rico, Wyndham Grand Rio Mar is a must-stay for us and will continue to be years to come.
Traventuring/ What to do:
Now on to the fun part: Activities! There are so many things to do and places to see in Puerto Rico that you may be asking yourself... where do I start? Well and here you go! This is a list of our top favorite things to do visiting this beautiful island.
1. Explore El Yunque National Rainforest:
As explained above, Puerto Rico is home to the El Yunque National Rainforest and is the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forestry. It's located on the slopes of the Sierra de Luquillo mountains, encompassing 28,000 acres of land, making it the largest block of public land in Puerto Rico. Two of our favorite things to do while visiting the rainforest is (1) enjoying the beauty of La Mina and Cocoa Falls and (2) climbing the steps of Yokahú Tower. The Yokahú Tower is one of the two observation towers located in the park and is widely considered the better of the two for it's magnificent vistas.
Take a look for yourself!
2. Enjoy the colorful streets of Old San Juan:
You cannot visit Puerto Rico without getting lost in the colorful streets of Old San Juan. This was by far one of our favorite days during the trip. We seriously just wandered around the streets all day taking in all of this historic city's beauty. Dave was snapping pictures left and right as there isn't a bad photo spot in all of Old San In case you are worried about getting lost, you can pick up a map at the Tourism Center located at: La Princesa Bldg. #2 Paseo La Princesa Old San Juan, P.R. 00902.
3. Castillo San Felipe del Morro/San Juan National Historic Site:
Before boarding our flight home, We decided to take a walk up to the historic Castillo San Felipe del Morro, and let's just say, we were happy that we did. Not only is this historic site very picturesque, it's also a place of education and learning. Built from 1539 to 1787, this impressive piece of Spanish colonial defense served as Spain’s control point over most of the Caribbean. Over the centuries, it has suffered attacks from the English, Dutch, and Americans, but still stands as a symbol of pride for Puerto Rico. We recommend taking a few hours to explore this fortress as it is a very important piece of history to this country.
4. Wine and Dine:
You cannot go on vacation without doing some wining and dining. I mean, isn't that what vacation is all about anyways?! Okay, so there are a number places to indulge in great food in Puerto Rico. However, below are our top favorite food/drink spots that we continue to go back to year after year:
- Roots Coastal Kitchen: Even though this restaurant is pretty new to the home of Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, we just loved it so much that we had to add it to our list! This restaurant brings elevated comfort food to a whole new level. Dave ordered the fried chicken, yes I said fried chicken, about 3 times during our stay at Wyndham and he still claims that it's the best chicken he has ever had!
- Richie's Restaurant: Located at PR 968 k.m 2.0, 00745, Puerto Rico, Richie's is a great little spot to grab a drink or indulge in some mofongo. This restaurant is only about a two minute drive from the resort (and has exceptional views of the as well!) and in our opinion the ultimate authentic Puerto Rican experience.
- Pirilo: Located right in the midst of Old San Juan, Pirilo is one of our favorite spots for tapas and happy hour! We recommend ordering their hummus and pita; it is out of this world! We went back to this restaurant about 2 or 3 times while staying in the city because we just couldn't get enough of it! Lol! Definitely a go-to spot if you are looking for some authentic good eats!
- Mi Vida Café & Burger: Located at Cll Principal, Río Grande, 00745, Puerto Rico, Mi Vida Café & Burger is also another place right down the street from the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Resort. This café is the perfect place to grab a quick lunch or a even a delicious cocktail. They make my all-time favorite drink: a pineapple mojito, and let me tell you, they make it to perfection by crushing the pineapple with ice down at the bottom. I have actually never had a better mojito in my life and we always go back to this cute little spot just so I can get one! Also try their empanadas, they are amazing as well!
Best beach destinations:
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Resort and Spa has an excellent beach right on property. We love just spending the day on this beach sunbathing and relaxing. Here are some pictures to check it out for yourself!
Luquillo Beach: By far our favorite beach in all of Puerto Rico, Luquillo Beach is something right out of a painting! This huge plantation of majestic coconut palm trees shade more than a mile of fine, shimmering sand. It is one of the most popular public beaches in all of Puerto Rico and has the most tranquil, calming waters I have ever seen. Definitely check this beautiful beach out; you will not regret it!
Culebra: A small, sparsely populated island, surrounded by a group of islands off the east coast of Puerto Rico, Culebra is a place to put on your list while touring the country Puerto Rico. Culebra is somewhat of the anti-tourist destination, harboring no large hotels or flashy vacation bells and whistles. The beaches are beyond stunning and are perfect for tanning, windsurfing, snorkeling, and diving. They say that the culture and architecture are just as colorful as the waters of the bright blue sea. Even though Dave and I have actually never been there, we definitely plan on going to Culebra on our next trip!
Hope you guys enjoyed this blog post on Puerto Rico! If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. We will see you all on our next Traventure! :)
Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Instagram @TheTraventures