Then There Was Puerto Rico …

It’s been exactly a week since I got back from my two week vacation. The second (and sadly) last stop on my trip was San Juan, Puerto Rico. Let me just start by saying that Puerto Rico was BEAUTIFUL.

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Anyways, my friends and I headed out Thursday afternoon (a day before Frenchies birthday). The ride was long but smooth and being that airplanes aren’t my favorite thing in the world, I was very grateful for that.

We got to PR later that night and thankfully we didn’t waste much time because the hotel/apartment complex that we were staying in was less than 10 minutes away from the airport.

Sidebar| We rented an apartment at the ESJ Towers. It was nice. Microwave, stove, fridge, beautiful bathroom and a balcony .. however for the 5 of us it was a bit small in my opinion. However, I did appreciate the location of ESJ Towers. It was in the middle of everything, we had a mini mart, a supermarket, rental car service, taxis and tons of places to get food surrounding us.

Being that we arrived in the evening, we went straight to getting ready to go out for Frenchies birthday. She decided on going to Club Brava which is supposedly a main tourist attraction in the San Juan area. image

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I’ll be honest though, Club Brava wasn’t my favorite. Being that it was my first time in Puerto Rico, I really would have liked to hear more Salsa, Reggaeton, Bachata, etc. but instead we heard EDM, EDM and more EDM. On top of that, I’m all down for drunk people, having a good time but when 80% of the party are belligerent .. it’s kind of annoying.
I knew it was a tourist attraction but online reviews of this club stated that many locals frequented this club as well … although it didn’t seem like it, AT ALL. To top things off, one of my friends and I had drinks spilled on us .. so you know we were OVER IT, lol.

The next day we headed to a Snorkeling and Picnic event in Fajardo. The birthday girl decided not to come and treat herself to a Spa Day and some alone time while the rest of us decided to rent a car and have a mini road trip.

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I had never been snorkeling before so being in the middle of the ocean, looking for fish is not something I was excited about. On top of that the weather wasn’t the best with the on/off again rain but turns out that I had an amazing time and it truly was an amazing experience. Everyone made us feel comfortable, the food was good and there was lots of laughs. Oh! and unlimited Rum Punch, you can’t go wrong with that .. can you?

That night while Bianca and Justine opted to stay in, Zoe, French and I went to La Placita. It was a little neighborhood filled with clubs, bars, stores, people having a good time and tons of nightlife. I definitely enjoyed the club scene more in La Placita than I did at Club Brava. Especially because I heard a variety of music – mission complete! Lol.

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Then it happened. I got sick. Too sick to get out of bed. Yupp, that sick.
So the next day, I was bed ridden while my friends enjoyed Old San Juan and I was jealous.

The following day, I was ecstatic when my friends told me that they enjoyed Old San Juan so much that they had to go back <3. Seems like the day that I was sick, my friends just bar hopped and met some locals which was okay with me because that meant I got to be there when we really explored Old San Juan (yasssss) !

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We visited Plaza de Armas de San Cristobal and basically got a mini history lesson involving the ancient beauty of Puerto Rico. I don’t know about my friends or maybe I’m a special kind of nerd (lol) but I really did enjoy learning about the historical past of PR. Especially learning about their involved with the Panama Canal and the rest of the Caribbean. Good stuff!

Oh, and of course we took 86946840 pictures. Lol

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Following that, I finally got (what felt like) a real taste of Puerto Rican food from a little restaurant and bar called Palmas. Yes! Walking through that alley (which we had to go through to get to the restaurant) filled with people laughing and dancing and just enjoying themselves .. I loved it! I wanted to dance Salsa with abuelo. Lol, I need to become more courageous!
It felt like we were REALLY in Puerto Rico at that very moment. Definitely a trip highlight. Then my friends decided that they wanted to go back to the bar from the previous night aka my sick night (lol) and I was down for the adventure. It was definitely good vibes there too. The name of that bar was Blessed Cafe and it was a Jamaican owned bar .. so you know I was excited, especially when I got there and saw pictures of Bob Marley everywhere!

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That entire night was good vibes. We laughed, joked around, drank and hung out with the locals that my friends met the night before. We even took a trip into the ‘ghetto’ and of course I have no pictures of that lol – not when we were warned not to take our phones out >_<.

That day/night was my favorite.

The last day was pretty chilled. We spent the day joking around and listening to music by the pool we had just discovered. Yea, we stayed there for days without knowing they had a pool, lol. But it was well worth the wait, because I did enjoy the simplicity of that day.

Then before we knew it …. the day turned to night and back to day .. specifically 5:30 am and we had to get up and head back to New York lol.

And just like that our time on the beautiful island was over .. and when we got back to New York it was 60 degrees and raining. Fun right?

Nevertheless, Puerto Rico was breathtaking … literally a breath of fresh air and I can’t wait to visit again!

xoxo
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Keep up with me:
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P.S I kind of vlogged my entire vacation .. it’s just a matter of editing it, which won’t happen until I get my new computer but when that happens I can’t wait to share my footage with all of you ❀

 

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I Dipped My Toes In The Pacific Ocean … on the Coast of Panama …

although, I don’t like the ocean too much. Go figure, right?

DSC_1570Needless to say, it was a short vacation but a much much much needed one. A time that I got to relax, have some quality time with myself and soak in the environment of somewhere other than the busy life of New York City. Let’s just say, I miss Panama.

My best friend and I stayed at the RIU Playa Blanca Hotel in Provincia de Cocle in Panama. We arrived June 18th at Tocumen DSC_1455Airport and because we didn’t have a shuttle bus awaiting our arrival, the taxi to the hotel was 100 dollars (which for two broke college students was very expensive). However, I’ll say that the inexperience of traveling is why this happened. Next time, I’ll definitely research the actual location of the hotel in reference to the airport and definitely get shuttle bus service lol.

When we got to the hotel we noticed that it was very secluded. It was a bit disheartening because we did want to go out an explore the city. However, after a day or two we started to enjoy the seclusion because it gave us time to just be. (Next time though, we plan to stay in the city! lol). Actually, if you are going with a significant other or a big group/family, I think you might appreciate the seclusion. So for location I would give this hotel 3.5/5 stars.

Needless to say, the hotel was very nice. The best part for me was the staff and entertainment crew, they were very sweet (although their English, accompanied by our Spanish was a fail) and they made us feel very welcomed. I would give them 5/5 stars.

DSC_1445And the entertainment ! Was just GREAT! They had a show every night and the dancers were the sweetest people ever. (From left to right, Noel, Justine(my best friend) and George) Noel and George were our favorites. George is my new best friend and I don’t think he knows it. They had dancing, karaoke and friendly competitions DSC_1672that involved the crowd. It was great. Entertainment would absolutely be a 5/5 stars and they had entertainment for children as well.

What left me disappointed, however was the lack of authenticity of the food. I’ve stayed at RIU Negril in Jamaica and had the same reaction in regards to the food but the disappointment still occurred this time around. The hotel really didn’t cater to the natives of Panama and didn’t offer any real Panamanian food to those who came to experience the culture … I mean where were the Carimanolas, the Hojaldras .. the Arroz con Pollo. I’ll tell you one thing .. they weren’t there. Lol. Food was a solid 2/5 stars. My friend and I literally had to take a taxi to the nearest town just to get some authentic Pana food.

Despite that one mishap, I had a blast. I spent most of my time by the pool, enjoying the drinks and thinking to myself “Yupp, I need to learn Spanish”. Lol. Anyways, this trip was amazing and I’m already planning my next one.



Here are some pics from my vacation! DSC_1395 DSC_1456 DSC_1478 DSC_1486 DSC_1488Β Β  DSC_1537 DSC_1642 DSC_1590 DSC_1607DSC_1543

xoxo Cielo.