Hey, girlfriends! I feel like it’s been forever since my last post. I really appreciate you all keeping up with me on Instagram in my absence here. As you saw, I spent a week in Puerto Rico with my husband and parents. We got back on late Monday night, so the past few days I’ve spent catching up on work and getting my life together. You know how that goes!
So quick backstory for you. Both of my parents are of Puerto Rican descent. They were both born here, my dad being the first of his siblings to be born on US soil. Throughout their lives, they both moved back and forth between the US and PR. So, naturally, I’ve always wanted to explore the island with them and see all of their favorite spots. You know, just hear about the good old days. That was supposed to happen back when I was in high school, then my grandpa who lived there got sick and my parents had to take an emergency trip alone. After that, the opportunity to go together just never arose (I went with my husband’s family back in 2009). Finally, this year we just committed. I couldn’t be more thrilled that we made it happen.
|Posing with my parents in Ponce, Puerto Rico.|
I got to see family members that I hadn’t seen since I was a child. I got to hug family members that I had heard about, but had never met. I walked the streets that my parents did, ate their favorite foods (and PLENTY of them – I was a fan of passion fruit drinks and all of the seafood), and even got to visit my 92 year old great aunt at her convent (well, it was more of a retirement home for nuns, but similar). I think my biggest highlight as far as walking down memory lane goes was visiting the church that my mom’s parents got married in back in 1948.
|A photo of my grandparents on their wedding day in front of the church they married in back in 1948.|
Anyways, I did do a lot of “touristy” stuff since my parents hadn’t been to the island in quite a few years. That said, I figured I’d highlight some of the places we stayed, sites we saw and activities we did for all of you. If you have a specific question, please leave it in the comments! I’ll be sure to get back to you.
1. Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa
The resort had several pools and beach access. The pools included a swim-up bar, water slide and there was even one dedicated for adults only. It also had a full service spa and fitness room. The property itself sat next to other resorts and a golf course, so we walked/ran outside, too, to get in some extra sun. I’m not one for being inside when it’s 85 and sunny, but I like getting in my workouts on vacation.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this resort if you want to spend some time by the pool, but also get offsite to see some attractions. There wasn’t much to do on the resort property itself, but it’s a quick drive from the rainforest, several nice beaches, good food and even some shopping.
|A view of El Yunque National Forrest from our hotel balcony.|
|Got lots of questions about this bathing suit top that I posted on Instagram! It’s from Hollister.|
2. Bioluminescent Tour – Fajardo, Puerto Rico
If you haven’t heard of the bioluminescent phenomenon – look it up! You’ll find tons of pictures of glowing water, which occurs from disturbing these living organisms. I won’t get into the details, but you can only experience it at night, and in very few places around the world. There are three spots in PR you can see it, so we did the kayak tour in Fajardo. While I thought it was well worth the money, the “glowing” of the water was nothing like what was advertised. I was told what they advertise can actually be seen in Vieques, Puerto Rico, so next time I will definitely try to do the tour from there. Regardless, I still had a lot of fun, and the kayak ride was still very scenic. We went through a long canal to a big lagoon and back. I would have paid the money just to do that, so the bioluminescent aspect was just an added bonus.
3. The Old City of San Juan
The city of Old San Juan is colorful and enchanting. There are a ton of little shops and restaurants to pop in an out of as well as historical spots like El Morro – a huge fort that was used to protect the city from intruders. If you’re in Puerto Rico, it’s one of those places you just have to spend a few hours walking around. The vibrant colors and brick streets are just so picturesque and unlike any place I’ve ever been. It’s also a great spot to get unique, affordable souvenirs, as people set up little kiosks to sell their goods in addition to all of the shops. In walking around we noticed a ton of lock boxes on houses, which made it seem like there were a lot of Airbnb properties (or something similar). If that’s the case, next time we will definitely be spending a few nights in Old San Juan so we can have more time to explore it. With all of the vivid colors and scenic views, it’s a bloggers/photographers dream, haha!