Pandemic Travels: San Juan, Puerto Rico

2020 was a wild ride for everyone, including myself, because I had just moved to New York at the end of January and shortly after – COVID 19 was all over the news and the world had shut down. The New York I grew to love was no more and a so called ‘normal life’ was non-existent. Many emotions were running through me, mostly sadness and anxiety, but I had hope. Hope that it wasn’t going to be like this forever and I made the best decision for myself at the time. With all that being said, a shy of 15 months later, New York is getting back on track and in the right direction of opening everything back up.

I know everyone has their own opinions of traveling last year, but sitting in one spot for an extended amount of time was doing a toll on my mental health. I didn’t have a job until August (which was part time) so most of my time was still spent at home because of quarantine restrictions. My introverted self loved it, but on the other hand, I didn’t migrate my life from the South to be isolated at home unless I made the choice to. After leaving New York for two months and spending time with my roommates, my friends and I decided to finally book a trip to Puerto Rico since airline tickets were the cheapest I’ve ever seen.


Day One

San Juan is the location we chose to go because none of us had been, to Puerto Rico in general, and they were taking the proper precautions when it came to COVID. You had to show a negative result in advance before your departure date to enter and masks were required everywhere you go. At the time, there was a curfew at 9PM so that’s where our nights ended. We booked our Airbnb near a strip of bars, restaurants, beaches, and grocery stores just so we had access to everything we needed.

 
Photos from the street of the Airbnb.
Day one was a long one because it was a travel day and the process was overall exhausting. From landing, getting through the airport, obtaining the rental car, and making it to the Airbnb took longer than expected. I was also taking all of my classes remotely and had a presentation the day we landed which made it a little difficult because, of course, wifi was not on my side. By the time we got to our stay for the next couple of days, it was pitch black (outside and inside) because there was a power outage on the block. A great way to start the trip, huh?

Photos of the Airbnb.


Day Two

Our first full day was in action and we had plans for every hour of the day. First thing on the agenda was brunch at a spot walking distance from the Airbnb called Tostado where I had got an omelette and iced chai latte. Shortly after we had to take about a 45 min drive for horseback riding through the jungle at Carabali Rainforest Adventure Park. This was a great start to the day because it didn’t require too much energy and was just overall relaxing. The entire experience, with history lessons and quiet sounds of nature, was an hour long and then grabbed inexpensive margaritas at the bar to wine down before our next item on the itinerary.

Next up, we headed to El Yunque Rainforest for the infamous waterfall, but we were unaware that you had to make reservations beforehand and weren’t able to enter. As the rain started to pour, we were told of a trail called Angelito Trail that was similar to the waterfall but less crowded because it is kind of a trek to get to. We didn’t realize how much the rainforest covered, so I was driving on roads with many sharp turns to find this trail. Once we parked, we walked for about 15-20 minutes until we reached the lake filled with small fish and rocks. Right when we thought the rain had stopped, it came pouring back down to where I didn’t care if my hair got wet or not. I took a full dive in and enjoyed the company of my friends.

 
After being out all day non-stop, we finally made our way back to the Airbnb to relax for a couple of hours before heading back out to grab something to eat. Since it was swiftly approaching curfew, we found a few places to grab drinks and ended the night with Asian cuisine at Ujeong korean bbq that was walking distance. We stayed until they closed and also got a few recommendations for the next day from our lovely waitress. (shout out to you)


Day Three

Since this was our last full day in Puerto Rico, we also filled this itinerary up to the brim with heading to Old San Juan first thing. It is definitely a crowded/tourist area so finding parking can be a little challenging, but there’s street parking away from the area nearby. Old San Juan is filled many colorful buildings that include gift shops, bars, restaurants, and local shops. Every corner you turn is a picturesque moment and it brightens your mood instantly with music from everywhere. Mr. Weenie Waffles was the first stop, because of a recommendation, and they are penis or vagina shaped waffles with your choice of toppings. A fun activity, and treat, for a girls trip if there’s a major sweet tooth craving. After that, we hit up multiple bars for drinks, a gift shop for gifts, and a local shop where I picked up a vanilla scented oil for 10 bucks.

⇩ outfit details ⇩

bucket hat – uo | bralette – target | shorts – nike (thrifted) | shoes – air max 97


 
And to end our night, and trip, we opted for an Old San Juan Boat Tour aboard the Amazing Grace. Because we had spent more time in Old San Juan than expected, we were rushing trying to find the place and also change clothes in the car. The address online didn’t match where it actually was so we were sent on a wild goose chase to find it. If we didn’t have two people already there waiting for us to find parking, they definitely would have left us. But after all that trouble, it was a nice experience where they offered small horderves and drink pouches that were similar to caprisuns. It was two hours long and then on a whim, we all decided to get tattoos at a shop that was nearby. The artist was very patient with us, since it was last minute, and did a great job! I decided to get a small airplane on my right side and it’s a memory I can hold onto forever.


Overall it was a great trip with great company and it definitely sparked the travel bug in me. I got my passport shortly after this because I wanted to see more outside of the US, which is my comfort zone. Stay tuned for a few more trips I had planned towards the end of last year and as always, thanks for taking the time out to read what I have to say.

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⇩ If you want a visual of everything we did, here is my vlog for the tripッ ⇩

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