If you’re feeling the winter blues, like I am, today’s destination post is sure to bring warm, tropical, blissful thoughts to mind! Sarah Culver of Sarah Culver Photography vacationed in Puerto Rico for a second honeymoon with her husband, and she shared these photos from her trip along with some tips when visiting.
“Around Valentine’s day a few years ago my husband and I wanted to take a ‘second honeymoon’ and we chose Puerto Rico. It ended up being the perfect choice for us because it was extremely convenient, a short half day of travel, the same time zone, we could use US Dollars, everyone spoke English, yet it still felt very exotic and foreign, the quintessential Caribbean island.”
“The weather in February was perfect, 70’s with a breeze, a few rainy bouts, and no mosquitos. It was everything we hoped for and more. Our travel style involves a lot of exploring and we love staying in unique accommodations, but if that sounds like too much work there are many all inclusive resorts as well. First we stayed in Old San Juan, one of the most idyllic places I’ve ever been. The colorful colonial buildings on cobblestone streets are straight out of a movie, and there are beuatiful cafes and restaurants with patios everywhere. We didn’t need a car for Old San Juan since everything is a beautiful walk away.”
“After a day or so in San Juan we flew to the island of Vieques using a local airline. The plane was a tiny Cessna 208b with room for 7 passengers, and I got to ride in the copilot seat. It was definitely the highlight of the trip, possibly the decade for me. The view was otherworldly.”
“Vieques is a wonderful little island with beautiful beaches and a world famous bioluminescent bay. We loved Next Course Restaurant, Secret Beach (which was not too secret but still stunning) and running into wild ponies as we roamed the island in our rented Jeep. We stayed at an incredible modern guest house called Villa Venti. It is perched on a high hill with a view of the island and the sea beyond. Our room was completely open to the fresh breeze, including an open air shower and we had a rooftop deck to ourselves. The main house had a pool for us to enjoy and the whole situation would be amazing for an intimate elopement or the most romantic honeymoon ever.”
“Back on the mainland we stayed at a quaint guesthouse near the entrance to the El Yunque rainforest. The owner made us delicious traditional Puerto Rican food every day using ingredients from his organic gardens. At the crack of dawn Valentine’s morning we packed a picnic and hiked to an abandoned watchtower at the very top of the El Yunque. Our host said that his brother eloped at sunrise at that very tower, and I kept imagining the most romantic foggy morning wedding on that spot. Many people know about this tower so we were happily surprised that a sunrise hike meant we encountered absolutely no one and had the foggy heights all to ourselves. As we came back down the crowds were beginning their hike up. Our host had told us about a secret swimming hole on a river in the El Yunque, and I’m sorry that I promised I wouldn’t repeat where it is. But you can probably find one of your own if you see a river and just pull off the road, and maybe hike up a bit.”
“We ended Valentine’s night with dinner at a local restaurant, trying the many versions of fritters that the island is famous for. Many stands along the road also carry these meat or plantain filled fritters and they are worth a try. They weren’t my thing in the end but definitely the most ubiquitous local food. A few other wonderful things about Puerto Rico, there are iguanas everywehre, big ones, just look up into the trees! Someone told us that iguanas are great at climbing trees but can’t figure out how to get down, so when they’re ready to get on the move they just kind of drop down from the trees. This never happened to us but it made me laugh and keep an eye out. We rented cars since we had several different destinations, but the roads are narrow and full of potholes and people drive fast. My poor husband, the driver, said this part of the trip really stressed him out. If you can figure out taxis or other modes of transportation that might be best. As far as budgeting I would say that prices are pretty equivalent to the US, so don’t expect $2 meals. My last piece of advice that I have a hard time remembering is to reapply sunscreen twice as many times as you think you need it, nothing ruins a vacation (and damages your skin) like a bad sunburn!”