Just as I have been lazy writing here at Young is the new black, you too can become lazy with your wandering in Puerto Rico.
Too often you can get stuck in a San Juan rut. While there are days worth of adventures in San Juan alone, not to mention delish dishes, I encourage you to venture away from San Juan. Below are some past places I visited that I hope inspire you to venture from “La Ciudad Amurallada.”
As a popular resort area, there are some large hotels in Dorado; but on my most recent trip we rented a beach house. It was just steps away from gorgeous sand and was not as touristy as some of the beaches near San Juan, which I loved. We were there with family so it was nice to have a beach house with food and space. There are some great beach house options at VRBO, so check there first before booking a hotel.
One of the places you’ll have to stop at in Dorado is the restaurant Made in Puerto Rico. First, be warned that you’ll want to go for the fun ambiance but the food is mediocre. The restaurant is modeled after a Puerto Rican neighborhood in the 50s. What does that mean? Old TV shows are playing in the waiting area and the hostesses wear nightgowns, slippers and hair rollers.
The dinning area looks as if you’re in the middle of a street, with tin roofs and power lines hanging over. You’ll also hear a waiter randomly yell something every few minutes. He is “selling” lottery tickets. Once you’re done eating, head over to the outside bar for some ice-cold Medalla.
The weirdest thing about Dorado, though : Every night of the week there is a mile-long line at the Krispy Kreme drive through. I wish I was kidding. The bizarre phenomenon is worthy of an anthropologist’s attention.
Cavernas del Rio Camuy
Caves. I know what you’re thinking… boring. But there is something about these caves that makes the trip worth it.
When you arrive you’ll get a numbered tickets and get called for a tour on a first-come, first-serve basis. Depending on what time of day you arrive, you may have to wait a while to actually start the tour and the only thing to entertain you is a mediocre gift shop.
When it’s time for your tour, you’ll watch a movie and board a trolley that will take you through the lush greenery of the park. Once you arrive at the caves you’ll be assigned a tour guide. Our guide was pretty enthusiastic and gave us cool facts. What kind of facts? They say there is a colony of half a million bats in the cave system. True story. My favorite part was their own version of the fountain of youth, a natural spring you can drink from. I obviously tried it, as I can’t depend on my La Mer face cream for everything!
Caves not your thing? How about a celebration complete with live music, dancing in the streets and pork?
I highly recommend you visit the pig heaven that is Guavate. The party takes place every weekend and I suggest you visit this place with only your nearest and dearest friends or loved ones. Why, you ask? Because you will eat more than you ever have in your entire life and it’s not pretty.
I have no idea how to get there, so you’ll have to go somewhere else for that information. All you need to remember about Guavate is go there – in stretchy pants.
Luquillo & Rio Grande
Luquillo is just minutes away from El Yunque so make sure you swing by here once you are done hiking, They have miles of beautiful beaches and kioskos galore so you really cannot go wrong. Rio Grande is right next to Loquillo and is a great vacation town with major resorts, super clean beaches and golf.
Rincon is known for one major thing – surfing, hence the name “Pueblo del Surfing.” But don’t head there expecting wide-open beaches. The beaches here are small, intimate and in some places rocky.
Also keep in mind if you are the surfing type, the waves are best in the winter months, from October to April. When I went in the summer months I actually did not spot a single person in the water!
If you like lighthouses, and who doesn’t, you’ll also want to check out the Punta Higuero Lighthouse. The lighthouse is still in use but is unmanned. There are some gorgeous views and you can even see Desecheo Island. What’s neat about Desecheo is the island was used by smugglers, pirates and bandits during the 18th century. How cool is that? In 1983 it was designated a National Wildlife Refuge and is uninhabited today.
So I know I have missed a few great spots. Do you recommend any for future trips?