Experiencing the Only Tropical Rainforest in the USA: Puerto Rico

Oh boy! Let’s talk Puerto Rico!

Puerto Rico is a beautiful country with lots of vibrancy and authenticity. If you’re looking for a country to chill back at and put your feet up, especially on a budget, I would definitely recommend Puerto Rico.

You’ll find what you need in Puerto Rico, from the bodega right around the corner to the musical vibrations. And, of course the stunning beaches complimented by the warmth of the sun.

  • Tickets:

$81.30 RT on Jetblue from Fort Lauderdale to Aguadilla.

How I caught that deal only God knows! I was randomly browsing flights on Jetblue in December of 2016 and saw that super-duper cheap deal, for travels only in August 2017. I could not let it slip away so easily.

  • Rental:

I would highly recommend renting a car in Puerto Rico. We got our vehicle with Alamo for around $100.

Tip: It’s the more convenient way of getting around. There’s also taxis, buses, a ferry, and a train.

  • Accommodations:

I stayed at an Airbnb in Aguadilla. First and foremost, lets just say I haven’t had a great experience with booking with Airbnb as others have. I don’t know why, but it is what it is.

Due to the fact that I would be arriving into Aguadilla around 2am, I figured that my cousin and I would be better off staying closer to the airport that we were coming into and leaving from, and drive to any neighboring cities thereafter. We got to see both the real day-to-day Puerto Rican lifestyle while staying in Isabela, Aguadilla.

The dilemma with this arrangement: I contacted our host 2 weeks before booking our stay to let her know all details about our arrangement.  We would be coming in way before her check-in time, possibly around 4am the latest. Now, technically speaking, that is now a new day. She confirmed and said that would be fine, and left instructions on how she would accompany our arrangements.

Long story, short. When we arrived to her home, the instructions that she had given us didn’t fall through on her part. After calling numerous times, she finally answered and told me that she didn’t think I was coming in when I did. She admitted to misunderstanding our original agreement and thought that we would be coming in on the following day instead. She tried to hold a debate but it didn’t make any sort of sense to me at the time, but at 4am in a country and area that you’re not common with, there would be absolutely no other options other than sleeping in our rental car and figuring something else out when the sun comes up. But, none of that was an option for me at the moment. I wanted to take a shower and sleep comfortably. She eventually called her father, Joe, to let us in and all else was history!

Big up to Joe though! He was awesome!

DAY 1:

11am: Finally woke up after ignoring my alarm clock for the hundredth time.

1pm-3pm: En route to San Juan. While headed to the gorgeous city, listening to some “bruk out yuh body” dancehall music, we caught a random flat tire. Knowing that we drove the SUV for about 5 hours in total since picking it up, we knew that it had to be an overinflated tire problem that eventually lead to a highway blow out. We used that window of opportunity to take photos on the side of the highway until roadside assistance came. After about under an hour, the towing compan arrived and took us to the nearest Alamo location to pick up a new rental, and guess where that was? In San Juan! That’s a win/win in my book; a handsfree ride to San Juan, a first time experience in a tow-truck, and a new rental.

3pm: Old San Juan.  According to Yelp, this is the number one thing, to do when visiting Puerto Rico. Grab your camera and capture the beautiful scenery, colorful walls, and cobblestoned streets filled with restaurants, bars, and shops.

Note: There’s not a bunch of activities to do in Old San Juan, or Puerto Rico in a whole, so don’t rush your days there. Take it easyyyy.

6pm: We started to get hungry so we headed over to La Placita to get some food.

Tip: If you want to party and mingle, head over to La Placita after around 9pm. It’s known to be the place where people come out to have a few drinks and enjoy themselves.

8pm: Back to Isabella. We tried not to stay out too late because our drive back to our Airbnb took about an hour from San Juan.

Day 2:

11am-4pm: El Yunque National Forest.

Note: You won’t have any service when you get closer to the rainforest so you’ll need to map out the routes before going there. My cousin and I got lost a couple of times before reaching the falls (and still to this day, I’m pretty sure we didn’t go to the right one).

Tip: Ask around. When you drive up the hills, you’ll see people parking or entering for different areas. It’s a pretty decent drive up, so make sure to stop and ask questions, or stop and look at the maps.

We also took the wrong exit when heading out and ended up on another route. It was one hell of a walk. The sun was just about to set, and the rain started to mist and trickle over us and our pathway. In those moments  We had no clue how far up we were but when we finally saw our car, we literally were ecstatic. It was a small event to remember, but without a doubt, one of the most euphoric and gleeful moment I’ve ever experienced in a country.

4pm-7: Eat at La Cueva Del Mar. Tip: Try their fish tacos!

Day 3:

11pm: Check out

12pm-4pm: Beach

4-7pm: Lunch at ChocoBar De Casa Cortes

7-9pm: Walk around the area and purchase souvenirs

10-11pm: Aguadilla Airport

Tips and Notes:

  • Read more about where I ate here
  • Puerto Rico uses US Dollars
  • Rent a car
  • Eat local foods. It’s only right! It tastes so good and it’s inexpensive
  • Use your Maps app on your phone to get around
  • I spent less than $130 during my whole time spent
  • Use my link to sign up for Airbnb and receive $40 off your first reservation

 

 

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2 comments so far.

2 responses to “Experiencing the Only Tropical Rainforest in the USA: Puerto Rico”

  1. Lucienne says:

    Wow! Puerto Rico is beautiful! Would definitely like to visit one day 🙂

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