My San Juan Bucket List

Day 1 in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico (12/27/21):

-The castillos can be seen in a day easily. It’s not a long or hard trail.
-Old San Juan is about as touristy as it gets. I ended up speaking more English than Spanish here.
-There’s not nearly as much hustle and bustle here as you’d expect from a historical district.
-I must’ve seen a half dozen restaurants with lines out the door because Old San Juan does not boast an absurd amount of eateries or bars like might be assumed from a historical district.
-There are a lot of stray cats by the castillos, who seem cared for, as well as iguanas and hermit crabs.

Day 2 in La Perla, Puerto Rico (12/28/21):

-The weather in PR is just as bipolar as Florida. Beautiful, rains for 20 minutes, back to beautiful, rinse and repeat.
-La Perla has gone from a barrio to a tourist trap. Advertising being the home of Despacito and being full of street food and beer stall vendors. The reality is tourism pays more than crime. Plus it’s legal.
-PR is super dog and cat friendly and I love it.
-Prices in San Juan are cheaper than the US but not by much. Maybe 10-20%. Expect to spend around $15 for an entrée in San Juan.

Days 3-5 in Old San Juan, La Perla, & Ocean Park, Puerto Rico (12/28/21-12/31/21):

-You can damn near eat anywhere in San Juan and not be disappointed. The food here is superb.
-Most people wear masks in the street and I find it a bit silly although there is logic to it.
-La Perla comes off to me as the place to party and score drugs at night. Come with respect and common sense and you’ll be fine.
-I agree with everyone who says staying in just San Juan is a mistake when visiting PR. It’s as touristy as it gets and traffic is a nightmare. It’s more so a weekend getaway than a whole vacation.

Day 6 & 7 in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1/1/22-1/2/22):

-Beaches here are in a league of their own I’ve decided. Clean, uncrowded, pet friendly, and beautiful.
-One of my favorite things to do is go to a gas station and just get a bunch of random local items to try.
-PR is full of skaters.
-Don’t be surprised if you see random chickens while taking a stroll outside.
-My hostel has a dog named Harper and we have became the best of friends over some chicharron.

Day 8 in Soroco, Puerto Rico (1/3/22):

-COVID has crippled PR. Everywhere is understaffed from bars to hotels to airlines. Expect long waits, underwhelming service, and shorter business and reception hours as a result.
-Tip in PR. If you’re one of those people who are against tipping then please don’t visit. No one cares if it’s not a thing in your European country.
-Restrictions are constantly changing for PR, U.S. territories, and the Caribbean as a whole. It’s really not worth it to travel right now in my opinion.
-I’ve had a weird moment of clarity where I feel like I’ve outgrown who I was a year or two ago. All I want to do is teach, rescue animals, and become a healthier, happier version of myself. It’s turned me into a bit of a hermit but I care far more about my peace than being liked.
-Locals here are arguably the friendliest people I’ve met in all of my travels.
-I cannot emphasize enough how good the food is here. If I got quarantined here and just had to order delivery everyday I wouldn’t even be mad, just fat and happy.
-La Factoría is the bar where Despacito was filmed in Old San Juan. It’s pretty cool and a good place to party but is filled with tourists.
-The bioluminescent bays are worth the visit here but not what I expected. You kayak a mile or so to a bay, cover yourself with a tarp, and splash your hand in the water. The microorganisms sparkle as a defense mechanism and your arm basically lights up. It’s almost like dipping your arm into the ink from a highlighter. They won’t be visible if you try to take a photo or video so the ones you see online are definitely photoshopped.

Day 9 in Culebra, PR (1/4/22):

-Culebra is a paradise. Crystal clear water albeit filled with dead coral.
-The ferry ride here was surprisingly organized and blissful.
-I thought I found an awesome conch to bring home to my mom, but turns out it was still living.
-There is a restaurant here called the Dinghy Dock that feeds their leftovers to neighboring tarpons.

Day 10 in Culebra, Puerto Rico (1/5/21):

-Flamenco Beach is picture perfect in every way.
-Rent a golf cart if you come to Culebra.

-The mosquitoes here are ruthless.

-Potholes are everywhere here and drivers are ridiculous. Swerving in-between lanes, speeding for no reason, and never using a turn signal.

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