Hi all! It’s Jamie, Life:Styled’s lovely intern here. I recently had the awesome opportunity to take a week away from reality and spend some time on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Horrible, right?! I had a great time soaking up the sun and exploring during my week away. SO, today I am sharing my experience on the island with you so that you can have just as much fun as I did when travelling to this slice of Caribbean paradise.
Now, we all know that Southern California has some great weather and is pretty tame during the winter season, but I was definitely ready to leave this 50 degree weather (yes, I do think that constitutes as almost freezing ;)) to go someplace much warmer and tropical…Puerto Rico! When Puerto Rico comes to mind, thoughts of tropical beaches and lush plants tend to appear. And let me just say, this place did not disappoint! The soft sand, clear turquoise water, 80 degree weather, and beach bars just steps away from the water, I’m sure you can understand why I did not want to leave.
The first stop of our trip was to the Ritz Carlton in San Juan.
This hotel is just beautiful! The crystal chandeliers and tropical floral arrangements that are placed throughout the hotel give a very romantic setting. Once you walk outside, you are greeted by a large pool surrounded by palm trees that give the perfect amount of shade. Walk a little further and you are right on the beach! Should you get thirsty for a yummy rum cocktail (who wouldn’t!?) or need some food to refuel, there is a great bar and restaurant right next to the pool.
Our next stop sort of happened by chance.
On our very important mission to find a Starbucks, we stumbled into an absolutely gorgeous hotel called El San Juan Resort & Casino. Not only does it have a Starbucks (!), but it also has a large pool and beach area that you will never want to leave. As a plus for those night owls who are adapting to the time change, there is a nightclub on property that offers room for dancing along with a more laidback upstairs lounge. This hotel has such a regal air to it that you will walk around feeling like royalty here.
Throughout the trip we of course spent time to lounge at several different beaches.
Crash Boat in Aguadilla: This beach is full of life with tourists, locals, food trucks/carts, and a beach bar. Perfect for lounging on the sand and swimming. I recommend that you also take a walk down the narrow pier, where locals like to jump off of, to take in the gorgeous view.
Jobo’s Beach in Isabela: This is now my favorite beach in the world! The calm waters near the shore make it perfect for hanging out waist deep in the water on little sand bars. Head out a little further from the shore and surfers can catch waves of all sorts of sizes. Sticking out into the ocean is a rocky jetty where waves sprout up from. This makes for such a cool effect! For the slightly adventurous people, I recommend walking along the jetty for a spectacular, up close view of surfers riding the waves. For those who do, you will want hard sole shoes because the jetty is made of super sharp rocks!
Steps Beach in Rincon: This beach is made for snorkeling! We heard of people catching glimpses of seahorses, rays, coral, and lots of different types of fish. Thanks to our GoPro we managed to capture a picture of some of the colorful fish you can find here.
Sandy Beach in Rincon: On the other side of Rincon (which happens to be my favorite area of the island), we found this great swimming, surfing, and body-boarding beach. This seemed to be a good place for beginners wanting to surf. Perfectly located near popular hotels and restaurants in the area, this beach is a must!
To end the trip we went back to the area we began our trip in and walked along the charming cobblestone streets in Old San Juan. We came just in time to experience the city setting up for their San Sebastian Festival (the annual festival that celebrates the feast day of San Sebastian). This festival has also been called the Puerto Rican version of Mardi Gras, so for those party animals this would be a fun experience! We opted out of the craziness that the festival can bring to the city, but had a great time roaming the streets before it all really started.
There is no denying that Puerto Rico is an island full of beautiful scenery and warm, tropical weather. I suggest visiting during the winter when the temperatures are a perfect high of 80 and low of 70’s. Also, if you want to explore a large part of the island like we did, renting a car is a must! Just know that the driving is very different from in the states. Also, don’t forget to brush up on basic Spanish. While the majority of the locals are bilingual in English, Spanish is the native language there. Finally (and huge pluses for U.S. travelers!), you do not need a passport or currency exchanged in order to travel here since this island is U.S. territory.
If you want to experience the Caribbean in Puerto Rico, give us a call or send us an email and we will help you plan your tropical vacation!