Sharing a recap of our recent Puerto Rico vacation. The beach, pina coladas, exploring El Yunque and relaxing.
It has been such a long since my husband and I took a beach vacation! Travel restrictions and the pandemic did not allow us to take our normal yearly beach getaway. Originally, our plan was to go back to Aruba but unfortunately they required a digital vaccination card when we wanted to book and our state did not provide them. So instead we decided to book a trip to Puerto Rico because could use the vaccination cards we had and it’s considered domestic. Of course about a week or so after booking this vacation everything changed and Aruba was open to us. We will get back to Aruba eventually!
Both my husband and I are not the biggest fans of flying. Between long lines and being crammed like sardines, we haven’t always had the best experiences but we have always flown as cheap as we could. This time we decided to splurge and fly business class. What an experience! I will never fly coach again and I am officially spoiled. When you fly business you are the first group to board the plane. They provided us with a meal and alcohol and even a hot towel. It was amazing! We also are so close to the bathroom and the only person I had to bother to move was my husband. It was a great flying experience for us both.
We had reservations for a car rental in Puerto Rico. So when we landed we went to pick up our rental. I picked the cheapest option because we would only need it for a few times and our resort was about 45 minutes from the airport. All I can say about the car is it was a piece of crap. It felt like it was going to fall apart if we hit a bump. We had issues with the windows working and at one point the air pressure light came on. Thankfully, everything worked out fine but I will do my best in the future to avoid car rentals.
The resort we stayed at was Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort. It is a beautiful resort that is beachfront. Your hotel room can have either views of the ocean or of El Yunque rainforest. We enjoyed the resort but had a rough start. We arrived about 2 hours prior to check in and our room was not ready, plus they were doing a system update so most things were down and being done with paper. Check in time is after 4pm. No big deal though I have never had to wait before. So we hung around for a while. Around 4:15 pm I approached the front desk and asked for an update because I saw so many other people arriving, being given glasses of champagne and then going to their rooms. I was told the room was still not ready and given two voucher for $25 each to be used at any restaurant on the premise. When the women handed them to me she ripped off one side and they essentially said nothing on them (weird). We also realized we weren’t the only ones waiting for so long. We ran into another couple who ended up waiting evening longer than us. So around 5:30 pm are room was ready and we were given wrist bands that are used as door keys (These were actually an awesome concept). We get to our room and the keys don’t work. So we have to trek it all the way back to the main lobby and they have to have security let us in. The system update was causing the problem and they needed to be reprogrammed. So essentially anytime we wanted access to our room we needed to wait on security. Thankfully, the problem was fixed that day so we had no other issues.
By the time we got settled down I was hungry and cranky. So we decided to grab dinner at one of their restaurants Roots Coastal Kitchen. Our waiter was amazing! I ordered the mac & cheese pizza with a glass of prosecco. The mac & cheese pizza was amazing! It was the best meal I had while we were there. My husband and I loved it so much we ended up having it three times during our stay! I tried to use the vouchers and the poor waiter had to run up to the main lobby because they had to verify them since the women who checked us in ripped them in half. Thankfully, that worked out and we were able to use them. We then decided to walk around and explore the area. We stopped at Caicu Bar & Tapas and celebrated our vacation with a bottle of champagne.
We spent the majority of our time on the beach and by the pool. I had no intention of collecting shells but the first full day we walked the beach I found a sand dollar! I couldn’t believe it because I’ve never found one before. I quickly found out that they are all over the beach and in great supply. I collected so many along with a few conch shells. My husband found a conch shell with a sea snail inside that was alive. We decided to throw it back into the ocean. I also spent a lot of time sipping pina coladas. One day we did venture out and visit a local grocery store to purchase some snacks, water, soda and rum. We did this because the resort is so expensive and this helped save some money.
We had two excursions planned for this vacation. One was to visit El Yunque the rain forest and then visit Old San Juan. We ended up only going to the rain forest. I was not upset about this at all because this was our second time visiting Puerto Rico and we have been to both of these locations previously.
Reservations are required to visit certain parts of El Yunque. So I purchased them the day before because you could only do it 24 hours prior. We got there around 8 am and just explored. There are maps available which show the trails. We did a few trails and just took our time exploring the area. The longest trail we walked was to Mt. Britton. It is normally a 45 minute hike but took us longer because the road was closed and we had to walk the road for a while. Mt. Britton was beautiful because you are so high in elevation that you are literally in the clouds.
We both celebrated our birthdays while on vacation by having dinner at Palio restaurant. It was delicious and the wine was amazing.
We had plans to visit Old San Juan but we were enjoying the beach so much that we decided to skip Old San Juan and stay at the beach. We did venture out at one point and attempted to visit the Luquillo Kiosks. It was so busy and over packed when we visited that we just drove through and left because there was no parking.
It was a nice relaxing time and was much needed for me to reset and re-energize. Have you ever been to Puerto Rico? Do you have any summer plans?