I’m just now getting around to writing about our trip to Puerto Rico in April. It was a last minute trip and we needed a break after everything we’d been through at the first of the year.
We had a great time — were able to go away to a resort for a few days, went to Ciales to see Erick’s family, visited with some of our friends, went to Old San Juan, etc.
La Concha Hotel
For our first night there, we decided to go to La Concha, which is a special place for us. La Concha is a hotel that used to have a discotheque that we frequently went to when we first met. Later, the hotel closed down and just recently opened back up after extensive renovation. It is beautiful!!! They have a really nice “lobby” bar that opens up to the bottom pool deck. They had music playing, and later had a really good band. The pool is absolutely gorgeous at night with palms tree flanking it and bright-colored lights. Very swanky. We got drinks and just sat by the pool and enjoyed ourselves. Then, we went down the the beach area. It was a great time for a fun “grown-up” night out, without being chaotic or packed. Just perfect.
We went to visit Erick’s Abuela and other family in Ciales. We were able to see Tio Quique, Rosa, Raquel, Lily, etc. We went to our favorite restaurant there, Arturo Santiago, which is on top of the mountain with a sweeping view of the rivers and countryside. It’s the most amazing place…very casual, sort of a hole in the wall type of place. The food is delicious and dirt cheap and the view is spectacular. They usually have music playing and I get my usual rum and coke, and all is well in the world.
We also went to the coffee museum in Ciales and bought the best smelling coffee ever. They had just brought it over from Jayuya and then ground the beans for us. The car smelled heavenly the rest of the day.
Fajardo & El Conquistador
We always try to go and stay in a hotel for a couple of days while we’re visiting and I wanted to go to Tres Sirenas in Rincon, but they require a minimum of 4 nights. So, we decided to go to El Conquistador, to enjoy the beautiful private island.
The private beach here is absolutely amazing…truly one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico. The others would be in Culebra & Vieques in my opinion. It’s really a perfect combination because you get the sweeping ocean view from the hotel with it being perched on the side of the mountain and you get the beautiful beach, too. However, the service left a lot to be desired. But, really, we are more small inn, boutique hotel type of people. The huge resort scene isn’t really our thing…I like to experience the culture of a place and usually you can’t do that at mega resorts. Read my Trip Advisor review of El Conquistador here.
It was so much fun just to sit in the water like this.
We really wanted to get portraits taken while we were there, as we have never had that done. Photographers were too expensive so I emailed a local photography professor and finally found a student interested in freelance work. It turned out to be a crazy day that started at 4:30 am!! The photographer wanted to meet at 6am for the sunrise. We arrived at 6 am and he was 40 minutes late. I was pretty peeved, but proud of myself that I did not blow up. Since I was on vacation, I was trying to keep myself worry free. He finally showed and we got started on the beach.
This part of the shoot was a disaster. We went to Ocean Park and it was hot, humid, salty, and did I mention humid? My hair wasn’t looking so hot. But, the real problem was that it was so WINDY. My hair either was completely in my face or I looked like Medusa with it sticking straight up and all around. And, my dress was puffing up from the wind, so it looked like I had a fat suit on. (I swear.) I did not like any of the photos, and so we decided to move locations. We finally got a half decent one up against the wall, protected from the wind a little.
We went to the Condado lagoon next and that was much better, except that the sun was high overhead at that point, so we had a hard time keeping our eyes open.
Then, we went to the Luiz Muñoz Marin park and that was even better – shady and cool.
We decided to break for lunch for a few hours and meet back up in Old San Juan later in the afternoon. I was so sweaty that we went home and took another shower and a nap.
We met back up in Old San Juan and were able to take some good pictures for several hours. This took a whole day of our vacation, but I think it was worth it to get some good photos.
In front of El Convento.
In front of El Morro
None of these pictures are the absolute greatest, but we hired a student, so I think they’re pretty decent. I also discovered that I’m not the most comfortable in front of the camera. I would much rather be behind it.
A Chance to See Friends
We were able to meet up with our good friends Enid and Franco while we were there. They took us to “La Placita” in Santurce. We had always heard this was fun, but had never been. It really was a lot of fun. It’s a building that’s a market by day, but surrounded by bars at night. There’s different types of music (mainly salsa) on every corner. It was a really fun atmosphere. You can get a drink and just walk around the plaza with it.
We also got to meet up with other good friends, Ramon and Eledy. They took us to a Mexican restaurant called Auroritas. It was really good and truly the best margarita I’ve ever had. Here is a photo of them with their adorable son, Davi.
And, finally we stopped by the Departamento de Estado (State Department) to see if by chance our old friend and my old boss, Eduardo Rey was around. We lucked out – he was! It was so good to see him and we were able to exchange information, so that we can remain in contact.