Nick and I have been married for 10 years. It’s hard to believe since I just graduated from college a couple years ago.
Wait, that doesn’t add up…?
Oh yeah, I guess I graduated 19 years ago, and I basically have one foot in the grave. *insert weeping tears emoji*
NEVERTHELESS. We wanted to plan a trip to celebrate these 10 wonderful years together, and we chose the sunny island of Puerto Rico before we even knew WHAT AN AWFUL WINTER it would be in the Midwest. So packing our bags and heading to the beach was absolutely a good choice.
We’re very close with my brother Tim and his wife Carrie, and they got married just a couple months after us. So since we we’re all celebrating 10 years, we decided to take this trip together! And it was SO so so so fun.
I was just going to share a post with pics from our trip as a ‘scrapbook’ for myself and our family. But there are so many amazing things we experienced, it would be selfish not to break it down and tell you what we loved and what YOU should do when you visit Puerto Rico!
An island with adventure AND quiet/sandy beaches seems too good to be true, right?
We stayed in an AirBNB condo in Rio Grande, which is about halfway between San Juan and Fajardo. It was a darling condo with a balcony that overlooked the ocean. The pic above is our walk to the beach!
We loved having a homey places to stay, but we really just thought of it more as our ‘home-base’ since we spent most of our time adventuring out at the beach. But it sure is nice ending the day with a cold drink and listening to the waves crash in the dark before going to bed. The 4 of us had the best conversations!
The first full day that we were in Puerto Rico, we went on a snorkeling excursion with East Island Excursions. I highly recommend! Being out boating, drinking, snorkeling, and getting the most fabulous sunburn of my life was one of my best memories of our whole trip. And seeing the fish underwater was amazing!
We also went exploring in the El Yunque National Rain Forest, and I surprisingly didn’t get sick on the curvy roads with my brother’s aggressive driving skills. The views were breathtaking, and all of it made my plant-loving heart sing.
SPEAKING OF PLANTS.
I was so shocked to see Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees, Variegated Monstera Deliciosa, and Elephant Ear plants just growing wild everywhere. And not just in the rainforest. They were everywhere… in the towns, growing like weeds, taking over palm trees. Look at this Monstera that was growing up a palm tree next to a gas station.
After sharing that we went to Puerto Rico on Instagram, I got a lot of questions about how the island has recovered since Hurricaine Maria. It’s hard to say since I hadn’t been to Puerto Rico pre-hurricaine to know what it was like before. But I will tell you that it’s a gorgeous island with such kind people and fun things to do. Yes, you would occasionally see a building in complete disrepair that had obviously been ravaged by the storm. And honestly it reminded me a lot of our own little town that is still recovering from a massive tornado. Nature is no joke!
We took a ferry out of Fajardo, and went over to the island of Culebra for 2 days. It was so fun to be on a tiny island and get to know the culture and meet the locals. This island is known for it’s gorgeous beaches and crystal clear water. And it did NOT disappoint! We played like kids in the ocean for hours!
I managed to find some plant nurseries and was IN HEAVEN. There were so many plants that are really hard to find in the the states, and some tropical plants I had never seen in person before. #idie
We went to LOTS of fabulous restaurants that I would highly recommend. A staple food in Puerto Rico is ‘Plantains’ (which is like a large, less flavorful banana) that grow locally. They use it as a base for other foods, almost acting as mashed potatoes. And they also fry them to be served as sweet OR salty! My favorite plantain dish is called Mofongo. YUM.
Some of our favorite restaurants were:
- Don Pepe (Rio Grande)
- The Treehouse (El Yunque)
- Blac Flamingo Coffee (Culebra)
- Dingy Dock (Culebra)
- Limbers Ice Cream (Rio Grande)
- Ocean Lab Brewing Co (Carolina)
- Himalaya Ice Co (Old San Juan)
- Nono’s (Old San Juan)
I know it might sound cheesy, but my favorite part of the whole trip was walking on the beach with my boo, and collecting shells and sand dollars. Feeling the salty waves wash past our feet, and listening to the gulls chirp… it’s just one of those amazing moments where you realize you want to bottle it up and save it forever.
On the last day of our trip, we went to explore Old San Juan and allll the history and beautiful buildings there! It was a pretty cloudy day, and it even rained a little. But we were there for it.
The streets in Old San Juan were made of blue brick called Adoquin. They were brought over on Spanish ships as ballasts, and the blue comes from age and moisture. It was SO beautiful.
The people of Puerto Rico were SO KIND and went out of their way to make our stay fun and memorable. This sweet island exceeded our expectations, and we absolutely plan to go back someday!
Nick and I both agreed that we want to bring the girls with us next time. They would love so many things about it. And many of the adventures were totally kid-friendly. And THE BEACH… I mean.
We brought home our collection of shells, and let the girls each pick one. And it was so special!
Tell me, what was your absolute favorite vacation? We want to start traveling more, and would love your suggestions!
Thanks for pinning!