I was craving a vacation! I’d been having a stretch of “bad” days and weeks and just needed a getaway. I had been planning one for weeks but those plans just kept falling apart. So when I was called on to take a business trip to Miami for a week, I quickly went into travel agent mode and decided to tack vacation right on to that. Where could I get to easily, quickly and yes, cheaply, right from Miami? It didn’t take me too long to come across some amazingly priced tickets to Puerto Rico. It was a no brainer for me; a 2.5 hour direct flight, I didn’t have to change the U.S. currency I already had, a popular vacation destination, beaches, sunny weather and Caribbean?! I was immediately sold and booked my tickets for summer vacation 2015! Puerto Rico provided the perfect rejuvenation, boost and revitalization I’d been craving! Read on to find out the pieces of Puerto Rico I took with me!
Where we stayed – The O:live Boutique was one of two choices when we narrowed the hotels down. Upon comparing the the two, I was immediately drawn to the old school, vintage, romantic feel of the boutique hotel through the photos I saw online. I could tell they had a knack for detail, a desire to please their customers and something so special that I know I would never find anywhere else. After our flight was delayed three times, I was cranky and annoyed, but the minute we arrived in Puerto Rico we headed straight to what would be our home for the week, and that put me at peace. O:live Boutique surpassed my expectations a million times over. From the amazingly friendly and accommodating staff, to the plush, luxurious ambiance, the intimate details and special touches on all aspects of the hotel; I’d never stayed in a place so magical as this. With just three floors, 15 rooms, a rooftop area with bar, pool and patio deck overlooking the lagoon, as well as a small restaurant downstairs, O:live boutique is the cutest little spot sitting in a cul-de-sac through Aguadilla Calle in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Just a little background, the owners’ have photos of their Mediterranean honeymoon framed and posted throughout the boutique.
What we ate – What didn’t we eat??!! OMG! I totally fell in love with Spanish food all over again on this trip. I thought my trip to Barcelona was heavy on the Spanish food, but Puerto Rico treated my belly to some deliciousness. From multiple dishes of paella, to empanadas, mofongo, various types of churassco, pureed plantains, mero fish (bass) ceviche, linguine with squid ink and crab meat (one of my fave dishes the entire trip!). We also had everyday favorites like burger sliders, calamari, lamb chops, steak, pumpkin soup and the creamiest pistachio cake at a local spot in old San Juan. Our favorite spots to eat at were (in no particular order); Oceano (where we ate twice), Asere (in La Placita), Santaella (also in La Placita), Barrachina (in Old San Juan) and Pikayo (in the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel). We also found some amazing food at Urbano Mercado, an outdoor urban market, set up festival style that is hosted the first and last Sunday of each month.
What we did, what we saw – As you could see by now, we went to many dinners but we also partied in a local club, went hiking up the mountains in El Yunque Rainforest, took a boat ride over to the private island Culebra, toured war forts in Old San Juan, salsa danced to live bands in La Placita, a social and cultural melting pot, toured the biggest Bacardi factory in the world (I got my mixologist certification!) and gambled in the casinos. Puerto Rico is absolutely beautiful! The mountainous terrains, sky blue beaches and colorful architecture everyday was a visual treat. I’ll let the photos do the talking here.
Check out more of my Puerto Rican adventures here.