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The Diva Chronicles : Puerto Rico

alt textLuquillo Beach, Puerto Rico

In May 2007, we visited lovely San Juan, Puerto Rico for 5 days/4 nights. Instead of traveling during Memorial Day weekend, we started our trip right after the holiday. This enabled us to get better airfare rates and hotel availability than if we had traveled during the busy holiday weekend. Ebonee found a great deal through American Airlines’ AAVacations program.

We stayed at the San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino in the Condado Beach area of San Juan. The hotel was close to the airport, and even better…right on the beach! One of my favorite features of the hotel was its open lobby/lounge, which I discovered at night turned into one of the best salsa clubs in Condado!

Although the island of Puerto Rico is considered to be small in size (100 by 35 miles), it’s big on things to do. After devoting some time to much needed relaxation on the beautiful beach, we rented a car (GPS is the best!) and ventured out to take in more Puerto Rican sights.
Our first stop was the absolutely beautiful and lush El Yunque National Rain Forest

alt textYou can either hike up the mountains of El Yunque to get this spectacular view or make the winding drive up….we chose Option 2.
alt textOld San Juan

Next, we headed to Old San Juan.
This historic area of the city is known for its colonial-style pastel buildings, as well as its majestic fort, El Morro.

alt textEl Morro

Casa Bacardi The next day, we saved the best for last… We caught a taxi and made a visit to the Casa Bacardi, home of Bacardi Rum. You can take a free tour of the Bacardi Distillery and learn its history, but make sure you get your two complimentary drinks, it makes the tour much more fun!

After drinking the Bacardi…learning about Bacardi…even be given a demonstration on how to properly serve and order Bacardi at the bar….you will ultimately be led to the gift shop to make grand purchases of Bacardi. Who would have guessed! Was this tour really free??

Okay, we’ve talked about the beach, the rainforest, the fort, and the Bacardi…what about the food? Puerto Rico is definitely filled with a diverse and delicious blend of cuisine fit for virtually any palate. From Puerto Rican to Italian to Mexican to Fuddruckers. It you want it, they’ve got it!

Here are some of my favorites.
Danny’s International. Location: 1351 Ashford Ave., Condado, San Juan. Cost: under $8.
Delicious and inexpensive. Good pancakes and eggs. Wish we had found it sooner!
Tiajuana’s Bar & Grill Mexican..Puerto Rican style!
Cana (formerly Cafe Bohemia). In Old San Juan. Good drinks. Check out the melted candle ‘sculpture’ on the back wall.
Via Appia. This Italian spot seems to be a Condado favorite, because it is very busy on Sunday evenings as everyone starts to wind down from a day at the beach. If you go on this day, be patient. If you don’t have patience…order a pitcher of Sangria, and you will slowly start to get some.
Authentic Puerto Rican cuisine:
Luquillo Beach Restaurant Row. On our way back from El Yunque and Luquillo Beach, we found this little ‘food court’ along the roadside with a number of vendors selling their home-style fare to the locals.
For more dining choices, Escape to Puerto Rico.

Of course, we’ve got the map…so now it’s time to Go to Puerto Rico!

Coming soon… The Diva Chronicles : Italy


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