Puerto Rico: The Hidden Gem You Need To Visit
Since as young as I can remember, traveling has made finding hidden gems an innate part of my lifestyle. My mother was taking me to the Philippines to visit relatives and immersed me in raw local culture in the provinces, and I visited Central America as a very young girl to see some of the cultures of my biological father.
Knowing planes, the beauty of different dialects, finding the best spot for live music, the richness of colored buildings, clothing, spices and culture, the smell of a fantastic dish from the hole in the wall, cart on the side of the road or a hospitable new friend, finding the best nightlife spots, and all the local secrets has been something I've learned to adore. When I visited Puerto Rico for the first time, I kept asking myself, "How is it possible that out of the hundreds of trips I've taken worldwide, I've never been to Puerto Rico? And you don't even need a passport as a US citizen!" I instantly fell in love, and here's why I know you will too:
The convenience of traveling to Puerto Rico is unbeatable. You will never have an issue finding flights; you do not need a passport as a US citizen, and even for me coming from Seattle, I only ever find flights where I need to make one stop and for usually only 1-2 hours. I'm a red-eye kind of gal with my Puerto Rico flight patterns. It allows me to wake up and typically get to PR by about 10 am, gives me plenty of time to check in to my Airbnb and hit the beach. Probably my most favorite thing about traveling to PR is that you're most likely to stay in the San Juan area, which is a 10 minute or less Uber drive! Come on! Seriously such a traveler's luxury to be so close to the airport. Uber is popular and accessible there as well, so don't worry about safe and efficient transportation. The locals also mostly speak English and Spanish, so you won't be entirely out of your element if you can't speak any Spanish; although, fun to learn!
The food is incredible. If you dream of empanadas, seafood paella, alcapurrias, ceviche, delicious coffee, excellent baked goods, and mofongo, you will be in your food lover's dream. If you have no idea what some of those things are, now would be a great time to look them up, and you'll need no more convincing. Puerto Rican food is bursting with island flavor, a mix of herbed and salty flavors, meats, vegetable sauces, and sofrito. Although, don't worry if you are more of a health-conscious eater. Puerto Rico is up to date with food trends, and you'll easily be able to find something you love.
The beaches, history, and sights are vibrant. The water is the light turquoise blue we all dream of. The sand is fine and perfect for some beach paddle ball, volleyball, yoga, or even some salsa! There are amble beach parks you can go to, and the weather is gorgeous. The buildings in Old San Juan or flying kites at the park are an Instagram dream with bright colors. The streets of cobblestone have endless restaurants and bars to check off your list and a ton of local shopping to tend to. The historic district is filled with gorgeous old city walls, fortresses, and culture. And you will never get enough of the music that fills the alleyways.
Whether you are someone who wants to relax on the beach all day, find adventurous excursions, immerse in history, get your foodie fix by finding all the island's best restaurants and hidden gems, or shop, Puerto Rico is your next tack destination on your map. I promise you. You will wonder why you haven't gone sooner! It's your perfect getaway.