Caribbean Island Vacation- Puerto Rico
Updated: May 26, 2020
One of the few Caribbean islands that you can visit without a US passport.
An easy escape to the Caribbean. Unique experience for first time goers, but it might not be everything you want in an island escape.
What can you experience in Puerto Rico? Cruise terminal, ancient forts, Puerto Rican flair.
Solo adventure or quick disembark?
Puerto Rico offers a lot of flair for such a small area. Recently Puerto Rico has had natural disasters hit the island causing a minor disruption in the tourist business. I haven’t been back after the disasters and can only attest to my experiences prior.
When arriving in Puerto Rico you instantly feel the humidity. This is a similar experience to most Caribbean Islands but something to think about when traveling (especially during winter months). The island has a minor impoverished sense and some places on the island are not what someone looks for while vacationing.
The food of the island is a southern esq. type feel- fried food, fish, and the national dish mofongo.
What is Mofongo?
Monfongo is fried plantains mashed together to form an odd structure and then served with a bean and meat side. The monfongo that we ate was bland, had a sticky (not pleasurable) texture, and didn’t live up to the hype that the locals jawed on about. (See the Eat section of the blog to see where to eat while in Puerto Rico)
Puerto Rico is one of the cheaper islands to visit and does offer a lot of landmarks.
San Cristobal fort
Castillo San Felipe del Morro San Juan
Both are two historic (and highly televised and photographed (for the Istagrammer in your life)) areas to visit.
Where to Stay
When staying in Puerto Rico try staying in La Puntilla or Mercado area near the cruise ship port. This area of the city is well maintained, due to the high traffic of tourists on and off the ships, has a safer feel, and offers the most amount of restaurants and shopping in the nearby area.
Should I rent a car? For one day we decided to rent a car in order to explore and visit more exotic restaurants. The road signage and information in Puerto Rico is in Spanish, so brush up prior to arriving. The predominate language is Spanish but you can make due with English in the touristy areas.
When we got the rental car, we were told that at night stop signs are more of yield than a full stop. This is due to a high amount of carjackings in the less touristy areas.
Off the beaten path but a must try
If you are looking to go off the beaten path to a fantastic restaurant you MUST try La Casita Blanca. The unassuming restaurant is in a residential area and has a security guard there watching over your car. At the restaurant the waiters brings you a chalk board of the food that is being served that day. This is Puerto Rican food at it’s finest in a relaxed environment. Make reservations for dinner if you want a seat, this is a small historic house converted into a restaurant. It is an open air restaurant so apply your bug repellent before heading out.
Our overall impression of Puerto Rico did leave much to our imagination. We stayed for 4 days prior to a cruise departure and determined this was well sufficient stay on the island. If only there for a cruise lay over you will be able to enjoy Puerto Rico sufficiently in the area around San Juan and La Puntilla.
Overall rating 5 out of 10. Worth a visit, but not worth your week long vacation.