Puerto Rico is amazing, especially when you get to stay in Palmas del Mar. I thoroughly enjoyed capturing some of the beautiful setting on video, and recommend Pirate’s Cove Beach House to everyone.

http://vimeo.com/sarahwalkerproductions/piratescovebeachhouse

Relaxing at the house was great- (Hammock time! Swimming! Fresh star fruit and coconut- if you are patient enough to throw it against the rocks enough times!) But I also loved the daily adventures to the beach, rainforest, waterfall, Old San Juan, Plaza de las Americas, and the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo. Driving a mini van around with six passengers through rush hour traffic, tiny mountain roads with no line in the middle, tight-cornered cobblestone streets, and flood detours was a little intimidating at first, but I soon (with a lot of prayer) had the confidence of a local. A local who uses a GPS named Jill and ignores her friends in the back seat crying ‘Slow down!’ as she smoothly maneuvers mountain curves at 25 mph.

Local food and culture are some of my favorite things about traveling. Like when we stopped at an empanada place and chatted with the owner and usual customers as he prepared made-to-order shrimp, conch and chicken empanadas. Well, I mostly strained to pick out a few Spanish phrases while my friend talked, but for a moment I got to experience a part of their daily routine. Also worth tasting: mofongo and tostones.

Worth visiting:

As many beaches as possible. Being used to Florida beaches, with sand dunes and opaque water, it’s refreshing to swim in clear water and have the shade of palm trees on the beach in Puerto Rico.

El Yunque- Hike to the peak of the rainforest! And then hike down to the Las Minas waterfalls. Definitely worth getting in the water, even though it’s freezing. It’s exhilerating to be right under the rushing water.

Old San Juan is very historic with its cobblestone streets and old forts. We had fun taking pictures at the fort El Morro.

I was surprised I enjoyed the Plaza de las Americas mall. I don’t know if it’s always like this, but there were¬† a lot of freebies, like getting our nails painted. And what other Bannana Republic serves free sangrias and gives away photo booth pictures?

The bioluminescent kayak tour was amazing. Whenever I threw a handful of water, it was like spreading pixie dust. And hitting the side of the boat made the fish scatter like fireworks.

 

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