Puerto Rico 2019: Day 5

DAY 5: Thursday, January 31, 2019

On Day 5, the four of us took an Uber to Old San Juan to spent part of the day. We split up, and Paul and I headed to walk along the perimeter of Old San Juan, along the wall.

First, we snapped a photo at this fountain. This is an area near where the cruise ships dock.

It was a lovely morning for a walk!

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Puerto Rico 2019: Day 4

DAY 4: Wednesday, January 30, 2019

On Day 4, Paul and I hiked in the El Yunque rainforest! We still had the rental car. Brian and Dottie stayed back and enjoyed a day at the beach.

After a 45-minute drive, we arrived. This national forest boasts over 29,000 acres. We drove the narrow, winding road up into the mountains.

Certain areas of the rainforest were still closed due to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria; nevertheless, we were able to hike plenty to our heart’s content (see map below).

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Puerto Rico 2019: Day 2

DAY 2: Monday, January 28, 2019

After eating a simple breakfast at our Airbnb, we took an Uber to Old San Juan (which cost around $10) for our food tour with Flavors of San Juan.

We all had taken this tour on our prior trips, but the experience was so great that we knew we had to do it again. Paul and I have done many food tours during our trips, but Flavors of San Juan’s tour tops them all.

We were pleased that the tour was a little bit different this time. We got to visit some new-to-us sites in the historic Old San Juan area.

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Puerto Rico 2019: Day 1

Five years ago, Paul and I took our first major vacation together.  We had been tucking away money here-and-there as we could and then took a week-long vacation in Puerto Rico. I documented that trip here.

Now, five years later, we took another trip to Puerto Rico! This trip was prompted by one of my piano students, who invited us to stay with them for one week during their two-week stay. It was an offer almost too good to be true! We were excited at the thought of returning to Puerto Rico and hanging out with them for a week.

More backstory: Brian, my student, and his wife, Dottie, have also been to Puerto Rico before. They are a retired couple who enjoy traveling. When they were looking for recommendations for places to visit for their 2018 trip, I had suggested Puerto Rico and showed them the photos from our trip. I was pleased when they decided to visit for a week. However, when Hurricane Maria hit the island in September of 2017, Puerto Rico was left in devastation. A few weeks before they left on their trip, Brian and Dottie were able to confirm that their accommodations were still standing and had electricity. Maria’s impact on the island is long lasting. But the locals we encountered told us: “Let everyone back home know that Puerto Rico is coming back, and coming back strong!”

Here’s our travel journal.

DAY 1: Sunday, January 27, 2019

We left Bowling Green at 4:00am to drive to the Detroit airport. Unfortunately, the roads were rather snowy and icy. It took us an hour-and-a-half to get there instead of the usual hour, but fortunately we had allowed plenty of time to still make our flight on time.

Before we could take-off, they had to de-ice the plane.

We didn’t let the delay dampen our sprits. 🙂

We had a short layover in Chicago. We landed in Puerto Rico around 3pm local time.


We took a $23 taxi ride from the airport to Brian and Dottie’s Airbnb in Ocean Park (just east of Condado, where Paul and I stayed five years ago). It was a compact 3-bedroom apartment on the second floor. The fixtures and furnishings throughout the apartment had been updated tastefully. I could recognize nearly everything as being from IKEA.

After settling in, our party of four walked down to Calle Luisa (“calle” means “street”) in search of dinner. We stopped into an Irish pub for appetizers, and then ate a full meal at a restaurant called La Coctelera. I ordered pulled pork sliders and Paul had some fancy-looking tuna tacos.

After dinner, we walked back to the apartment and went to bed early. Our 3am wake-up time had gotten to us, and we had a busy day planned for tomorrow!

Stay tuned for Day 2.




January 31 – Day 6

Day 6 was our last full day in Puerto Rico!

It was also the only day that we woke up early in the morning.  We wanted to see the sun rise over the ocean.  It actually wasn’t as spectacular as we had hoped, but I did get a couple of nice photos.



We spent the morning and early afternoon relaxing on the beach again.  In the afternoon, we took a taxi to Old San Juan once again.  I tried to take more photos to capture the streets and colorful buildings that are ubiquitous there.


I love those cobblestone streets and balconies.


…and I love all those bright colors!


We took another stroll on the walkway along the coast.


We encountered many stray cats along the walkway again.


And we took a “selfie” photo together.


For dinner, we ate at Carli’s — the place we visited first during the food tour two days previous.  The dinner we ordered was fantastic and we got to hear Carli play live with his jazz trio.  Can you see him in the background behind Paul in the photo below?


It was bittersweet to return back to the hotel that night!  Our trip was coming to an end. We had a great time.



Travel Journal: Puerto Rico DAY 5

DAY 5 – January 30

Paul and I enjoyed a relaxing beach day for Day 5.  I didn’t take many photos that day because I didn’t want to take my camera near the sand.

On Days 1-4, the weather had been consistently warm (in the 80’s) and breezy.  On Day 5, the weather was much the same — except that we experienced random, sudden patches of rain that would last less than five minutes.  During those five minutes, we rushed to the nearest covered bus stop or a cluster of trees until the torrent stopped.

We walked to have lunch at the Crepe Maker.  It was good food, but wasn’t inherently Puero Rican obviously.

We spent most of the afternoon reading on the beach.  We slathered ourselves with sunscreen and only got burnt wherever we missed with the sunscreen.

When we became hungry for dinner, we walked to a fancy restaurant on the beach called Pamela’s.  We ordered Pina Coladas with our entrees.  Paul ordered battered cod with mango chutney and risotto (rice) on the side.  These photos may not look very appealing (it was dark in the restaurant), but I assure you: the food was fantastic!


I ordered port tenderloin (best I’ve ever tasted!) with a tropical chutney and a creamy risotto on the side.  This was definitely the best restaurant meal I have ever had!


We walked back to the hotel in the moonlight.  (Everyone eats late in Puerto Rico.)  We sought out the deck chairs on the hotel roof and read our books until we got tired enough to sleep.  What a life!  😉



Travel Journal: Puerto Rico DAY 4

DAY 4 – January 29

On Day 4, we rented a car and drove over an hour to the El Yunque National Forest.  El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System.


The roads within the National forest are narrow, curvy, and hilly.  At various points along the way, there are stop-off points to park and hike the trails.


First, we parked at the trail for the La Mina waterfalls.  The trails are all paved, and with good reason: without pavement, the trails would no doubt wash away.


We saw a few snails and lizards as we hiked.


After 45 minutes, we arrived at the La Mina Waterfalls.  This is the only waterfall in El Yunque where visitors are allowed to get into the water.


It was beautiful.


We hiked back to the car and drove to another stop: the Yokahú Observation Tower.



Climbing the stairs.


…and here is the view from the top!


We would have loved to hike the trails that lead all the way to the El Yunque peak but due to delays with getting the rental car in the morning, we could not stay in the rainforest as long as we would have liked.


After arriving back at the hotel, we took a stroll on the beach.  Then we enjoyed a nice dinner at an Argentinean Steakhouse.  It was nice to spend the rest of the evening in the hot tub and then reading our books on the balcony of our hotel room.