Puerto Rico Luquillo Old San Juan and El Yunque National Forest
Here’s your Puerto Rico guide to paradise. Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto! I visited Puerto Rico back in summer 2016 with a few of my friends and it was a trip of a lifetime. This time around, I had won a trip through Instagram thanks to the TripScout App team. How did I get so lucky!?
TripScout is an application that allows you to plan your travels and create an itinerary for your getaway. You can add different excursions onto your itinerary, and it offers different articles to helps you find things to do in the area where you’re traveling to. It’s a great traveling tool!
I was lucky enough to win a getaway to Puerto Rico; accommodations and flights covered for two guests by the incredible TripScout team. I decided to visit the San Juan area as well as Luquillo, which offers beach front accommodations. Luquillo is close to major attractions, including El Yunque National Forest and Fajardo Beach. I had planned a short getaway; Wednesday night to Sunday morning.
OLD SAN JUAN
We arrived in San Juan around midnight (our flight was delayed), and we checked into the Hotel Plaza de Armas in Old San Juan. We wanted to spend a night here to be able to explore the area in the morning. Even though this hotel is in the perfect location, I’d only suggest it for a night or two since it’s fairly small, but location, location, location!
We awoke the next morning to walk around Old San Juan and visit the two historical castillos, Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal. The weather was exquisite, clear blue skies and an ocean breeze. We were able to walk around San Juan and had some local appetizers before heading off to Casa Bacardi.
Casa Bacardi is a renowned rum distillery that offers a history tour on the property to learn all about the Bacardi family and how Bacardi rum came to be. We had booked a Casa Bacardi Mixology Class Tour through TripAdvisor, which was so fun! Through the mixology class, we created iconic drinks like the Mojito, the Cuba Libre and a delicious Daiquiri. I bought a rum bottle of my own and had the chance to personalize it with an engraving. We spent the rest of the evening exploring the rest of Casa Bacardi. You can grab a drink at their outdoor patio area and play a few games, like giant Jenga.
After a few hours, we drove to Luquillo to check into the Luquillo Sunrise Beach Inn. This quaint hotel had the friendliest staff, so willing to help with anything you needed. It was a beach front property, just a few steps award from the beach. It was also near great restaurants, including a local spot called Restaurante Pasta y Pueblo. The restaurant had the best home-made pasta.
At Luquillo Sunrise Beach Inn, we had an ocean view with a balcony! The hotel included complimentary breakfast every morning as well. After checking in, we ate dinner near by and went to sleep to get up bright and early for our Friday morning excursion to Playa Culebra.
Culebra is a small island and surrounding group of cays off the east coast of Puerto Rico where you can visit awe-inspiring beaches. We booked a Catamaran excursion from Fajardo with the East Island Excursions team for a snorkeling adventure off Culebra and to visit Flamenco Beach for the day. The catamaran had friendly staff and delicious drinks! Lunch was also included. We dove into the turquoise waters for some snorkel fun and then were off to Flamenco Beach, which is named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!
Once close to shore, we had to swim to the beach. We spent some time lounging on the soft sand and exploring the island before we had to re-board. Once back in Fajardo, we said goodbye to the East Island Adventures staff and went back to our inn in Luquillo to rest before continuing our PR adventures.
EL YUNQUE NATIONAL FOREST
The next day, we took a short 20-minute drive to El Yunque National Forest, a place I love so much. The first time I went to El Yunque, we visited La Mina Falls. This time around we were unable to since the trail to the falls was closed off after Hurricane Maria impacted the Island a few years ago. Thankfully, they are scheduled to re-open in 2021.
We explored other areas of El Yunque and had a yummy lunch immersed in the forest at one of their restaurants before heading back to Luquillo. We spent the rest of the day lounging by the beach and enjoying the ocean. Our final dinner of the trip was at another locally known restaurant called Ernesto’s, where we had stuffed mofongo, a Puerto Rican dish. Delicious!
The next day, we had to head back to the airport, drop off our rental car and board our plane back home. I truly love Puerto Rico! The people, culture and views. Can’t wait to go back again real soon. Here’s a short snippet of my time there.