Puerto Rico (San Juan)
Recently, a few friends and I took a trip to San Juan, PR. I decided to write a short travel story documenting some of the things I did, a few places I visited and ate at, along with what I wore every day.
So we took off from JFK, which was horrible because a Lyft from New Jersey was $80. But whatever, it's vacation.
LYFT CODE : CHIMEMEKA47530
Of course breakfast at the airport has become more of a tradition, now that I'm traveling almost every other month. I usually go with a bagel from the nearest food spot (where fake eggs and bagels are my only options), but this time I decided to actually eat good. Start the vacation off right, or something like that. I went with the Eggs Mediterranean, which is basically eggs Benedict with smoked salmon instead of Canadian bacon. It was the best breakfast I've ever had, now that I think about it. I had only recently tried eggs Benedict and loved the hollandaise sauce/egg yolk combo. When I saw the smoked salmon on the menu, I was super excited because salmon is probably my 3rd favorite thing to eat (after lobster and steak). For me, smoked salmon is a weird texture at first, but my taste buds warmed up to it and it was gone within minutes. I washed it down with some pineapple juice and boarded my flight
Flying coach always makes you wish you flew first class, doesn't it?
I remember falling asleep, having a full length dream, waking up and only 35 min passed. I was so pissed, I couldn't sleep for the rest of the flight 😹.
I usually fly United , but this time I flew Delta and kind of regret it. It's like I was being punished for betraying United Airlines. My screen in the headrest in front of me didn't work! The only one on the whole plane that was broken 🤔. Then my row is the last row to get drinks, which was literally as we were landing. I swear it was the wildest thing. The flight attendants were basically maneuvering around us 🤔🤔.
So now we land and it's time to head to the Airbnb .
Our 3 bedroom Pent House was incredible. High ceilings, beautiful kitchen, 2 living rooms and an enormous master suite with a 360 view of San Juan. We had wifi, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, the works (even though we weren't planning on being in the apt most of the time). Another huge plus was the helipad on the roof with an even greater view of EVERYTHING.
Besides the normal wear and tear of any apt , it was very well situated. Clean-ish (dishes were not clean), but we ate out all the time, so it didn't matter to us. The one issue we did have was the Jacuzzi in the master suite, which was not operable at all. A heads up would of been nice. Overall, I would give this listing an 8/10 considering price , location, and all of that. All in all, thanks Fernando for the great stay and access to HeliPad (as it's not usually accessible).
Here's the listing, if you ever plan on taking a trip to San Juan : AIRBNB HELIPAD Listing
TOP by Gosha Rubchinskiy ...here
BOTTOMS by Gosha Rubchinskiy ...here
SHOES by Givenchy ...here
WATCH by Apple ...here
Woke up early day 2, after lots of drinking led to an early night for me. HENNESSY IS YOUR FRIEND! All I really remember is eating some amazing skirt steak in the middle of the night. Definitely made a mental note of that. It started to feel like our itinerary was a little overpacked and we didn't factor in having fun (drinking) and recuperation time . We knew something would be left out or moved over, just didn't know what. What I did know was that it couldn't be one of he most amazing rain forests on the planet. My next task was to get everyone else up and in the mood for this hike (which seems like walking half way around the world after all the partying we did the night before). But against all odds, everyone was up and 80% ready to go by 9am, which was good enough.
Ready to start my day hiking up El Yunque National Rainforest. I ended up skipping breakfast. I figured we would get food somewhere on the mountain or near by or something.
When we arrived at the mountain, we realized that El Yunque was waaaayyyy bigger than we thought it would be. Even the two landmarks we wanted to see were pretty far apart from each other. Sadly, we drove up most of the mountain to the Yokahu tower (which ended up having an amazing view of the mountain). It took some time to get up to the top, but it was worth the walk up the stairs.
The Yokahú Tower is the lower of the 2 observation towers in El Yunque. Built in 1963, this one is said to have the better view, so we saved ourselves the 2 hour hike to the Mount Britton Tower. Our trip consisted of: driving up the mountain , parking in the parking lot , having an experience and walking back to the car. The views were truly amazing and the air felt way cleaner than it does here on the east coast. From the top you can see the tip of El Yunque, which looked discouragingly far.
Now the real journey to the waterfall begins. Staff at the park said it was about 35 min walk through the forest. We spotted a lemonade stand at the entrance to the trail and got some fresh squeezed lemonade for the trip. The lemonade was actually very good , perfect sweet/ sour combo. Only complaint , way too many seeds!
Ok, now everyone's game, so we start walking. There were tons of posts with obvious facts about the trees and leaves in the forest, which didn't really distract me from the heat. It was about 90 degrees in the shade, literally. We took multiple water breaks on our 30 min hike (embarrassing, I know) and admire lots of nature. I didn't get bit or stung one time. I was one with nature 🤔.
Finally, we reach the waterfall 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾. There's a bunch of people swimming, so it was very hard to get a good low shutter speed shot of the waterfall, but I got it. La Mina Falls is just about at the end of La Mina trail, which follows the Alamo a river at El Yunque. This is one of 2 trails that lead to the falls.
We hung out and chilled at the waterfall for about an hour before deciding to head back and get food. No joke, the walk back was 5 min.
We stopped at a small burger joint, called Mi Vida Café & Burger, on the way back to grab some food. The food was delicious. I, personally, grabbed some baked empanadas and a Sam Adams. Beef of course! Everything that was ordered was made to perfection. This is definitely one of the spots you want to try if you're near El Yunque.
Later that night, we went into the city to go party and gamble a little. We chose a casino some where in Condado. One hell of a night. HENNESSY IS YOUR FRIEND !!
HAT by Black Fist ...here
TOP by Off White ...here
BOTTOMS by John Elliot Co ...here
SHOES by Nike ...here
WATCH by Apple ...here
By this time, I'm pretty much beat. Our dreams to go to Camuy Caves were shattered. We decided to take it easy and just hit the beach for a little to relax. The beach, Isla Verde, was right down the street and very accessible to us. Best idea I've had so far ! Have you guys ever tried Coco Friyo ? Not a fan , but maybe I was drinking it wrong 🤔
The water was perfect , at least for me anyway. I hate freezing cold water and the water in PR was the perfect temperature.
I tested my iPhone out underwater and it worked pretty well . #IPhone7PlusOnly
Later that evening, we head to Old San Juan and grab some street food and some drinks . We took it easy, night 3, to get ready for some sight seeing on day 4. HENNESSY IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.
TOP by Off White ...here
TEE by Off Wholite ...here
BOTTOMS by Pierre Balmain ...here
SHOES by Fear Of God ...here
WATCH by Apple ...here
On our last full day, we wanted to see a few malls and places to shop (i.e. sneaker boutiques). Unfortunately, with the election right around the corner, almost every company in Puerto Rico was closed down. The mall of San Juan was a massive mall, that looked like every major mall near me back in the states had absolutely no stores to shop. The only store I was interested in was the Vans store, located on the first floor of the mall.
The mall had about 5 floors and was filled with different things, including an outside food court overlooking the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge. We ate at a place called Burger & Beer Joint and I had a massive burger with 1/2 lb of beef, fried Onions , grilled Shrimp, avocado and a fried egg. You know how I feel about a good burger. This burger may have been one of the best, if not the best, burger I have ever eaten. If you guys understand the concept of the "itis", then you get how I was feeling. (if not, catch up on season 1 of "The Boondocks")
Our last and final spot of the trip was the San Juan National Historic Site.
I really enjoyed this monument in PR. The view and general backstory (to the purpose of this place) were amazing.
This was probably my best stay away from home. I had an amazing trip to San Juan and hopefully I can head back soon to see the things I missed. Until next time, Puerto Rico ✌🏽️.