One week later, and I finally get to recap. I've been going back and forth. Trying to pick the perfect pictures and amazing words to do this trip justice. Not easy. But here it is, doing the best I can, with the quality camera/iphone I had. From daytime travels full of history, to nights out in the city full of reggaeton and one too many drinks, I can honestly say this is it. Puerto Rico, you are exactly what I needed.
I bought my first pair of sneakers, not for the beautiful island, but actually for work. Turned out to be the best investment I ever made. We hiked through El Yunque without a tour or knowledge of where it would lead us, but the trails, rocks, and streams were beautiful hints of what was to come. Something that I was able to share with so many different people. We were all there to see and experience what El Yunque had to offer.
If you ever get the chance, please go... and RENT A CAR. Uber is not so accepted yet, and taxi situations could be better. We relied on questionable rides from strangers, which turned out to be pretty interesting. It actually forced us to bond with the locals, all with different backgrounds and stories to tell.
Las Cuevas del Indio was also an amazing sight. Probably the only place that actually charged to get in, but for five dollars, you get every penny worth. The water colors, currents, and views were everything but ordinary. Probably the most out of my comfort zone, I walked and sat on cliffs, experienced amazing heights, and looked further into the ocean than ever before. Oh, and I saw bats. A family of them. And I watched them fly right above me as I climbed up rocks and over streams. FYI, that was never on my agenda.
The. Food. If you are going to another foreign country/land, take advantage of the culture. I mainly mean food wise. I am of Puerto Rican decent and pretty knowledgeable of the cuisine, so it wasn't so much exploring the food, but enjoying every bite of it. The authentic shit. From rice and beans, mofongo, and comida criolla, I was in all my glory.
If you can get out of the main city, and deep into the island, do it. I had the opportunity to get aquatinted with someone who was able to take me THERE. To that spot of real puerto rican street food. It was very much so nostalgic. When I used to visit my own grandparents on the island, where alcapurrias and empanadas were more common then any mofongo. It was greasy. It was delicious.
From the beginning, I was surrounded by so many adventurous, food loving, understanding beings. It may sound super corny, but I say it firmly and proudly. They helped me get to amazing beautiful places, kept me company, and kept me smiling. Even on my own, I felt at ease. Nothing was more insightful than walking the streets of Old San Juan alone. Nothing was more calming than just reading a book under the tropical skies.
Puerto Rico is a beauty. I think I got to experience it on a whole other level than my previous visits. Not only was it my first solo trip, but one that I was able to explore from a different perspective. One that is open, accepting, and ready for whatever may or may not come my way. Like every place and experience, there is the good, there is the bad. I wouldn't have it any other way. It actually encouraged me to see the amazement right here. That everyday adventure in right now.