Today I felt like writing a different sort of post about my travels around the beautiful Caribbean! It was around this time last year we were laying out numerous potential cruise outfits and stocking up on factor thirty sunblock! We decided to bite the bullet and go on our first ever cruise! To cut a long story short my Mum doesn’t particularly like travelling long haul and she really doesn’t enjoy being on the sea so it was somewhat a controversial move flying half way around the world then being on the sea for ten days! BUT we did it and she loved every single moment of it! As you can see Puerto Rico was our first stop! Well actually it was New York but I shall save that for another day! I feel the need to explain that getting to beautiful Puerto Rico was indeed tricky, fairly costly and time consuming!
We had to first fly from the Channel Islands to London Gatwick before getting into a private taxi to take us to London Heathrow airport where we stayed in a hotel before jetting off to New York (JFK airport!) We didn’t stay in New York but I did manage to capture some amazing skyline shots of the buildings as we were coming into land! So technically we’ve been to New York! I’ve got an approved customs stamp welcoming me to NYC so let’s just pretend that counts! We then had to navigate our way around John F Kennedy Airport (you’d think such a large and international airport would be well sign posted.. but it was not! Us and the other cruise passengers were aimlessly wondering around the airport to check in for our connecting flight to San Juan with American airlines! We also had a wee bit of drama as my Dad managed to lose his passport in JFK airport! Thank goodness for the kind American security man for shouting out my Dads name and reunited them both for the next leg of our journey! The flight to New York was around 7 hours and the flight from New York to Puerto rico was around 4.5 hrs-5hrs! We eventually arrived in Puerto Rico at around 7pm local time (but it felt more like the early hours of the morning due to the fact we’d been travelling for around 36 hours!)
Puerto Rico is most definitely a hidden gem! I never thought it would be so beautiful and tropical! We stayed in a hotel for a few days before boarding our cruise and here are a few shots of beautiful Puerto Rico! The hotel we stayed in was a five star and it had it’s own beach, botanical garden and shopping plaza! It had such a laid back welcoming vibe and as soon as you set foot in the open plan tropical hotel you instantly had the sense you were on a rather delightful holiday! The rooms are extremely modern and really aids the whole experience and the added touches of Puerto Rican coffee really made a difference! I had never really thought about what Puerto Rico would look like but there was quite a contrast with the high rise buildings and the traditional Puerto Rican buildings! It was elegant and pleasing to the eye! I just absolutely fell in love with San Juan! I highly recommend visiting Puerto Rico! It is surprisingly lush with the greenest of grass and tall towering palm trees which gently remind you that you are in the Caribbean! The sea was incredibly clear and warm and I could have spent hours just sitting in that ‘warm bath’. It really felt un-ruined by tourists and it didn’t have a ‘package holiday’ ambience!
I would definitely love to go back there and just spend a week sat by the pool, exploring the botanical garden and trying more of the local cuisine! There is also a cheese cake factory in San Juan and I was somewhat gutted we didn’t have the opportunity to try out some of the cheese cake goodness it offered! Another reason why I must go back and visit some day!
As part of the holiday experience I love to discover the history behind the country and to not be an ignorant tourist who requests British food and doesn’t step our of their comfort zone to try local cuisine! I most definitely embrace the culture and love trying new food and visiting new places! So before we flew I googled the historical history of Puerto Rico to discover whether it was part of the United States or whether it was an independent state! I’ve taken the following image from google but I wasn’t surprised to hear Puerto Rico wasn’t part of the United States but ‘belongs’ to it never the less!
I’ve always loved learning about the history of places I’ve visited, I personally think it makes the experience more personal and meaningful! The official languages spoken in Puerto Rico are Spanish and English! The average temperature is around 26 degrees! The estimated population in July 2010 was around 3,978,702 people!
The major religions in Puerto Rico are Catholic and protestant and their local currency is USD (the dollar which is used in America! Puerto Rico has a lot to offer from expeditions in the jungle, to sitting on the sandy beaches and trying a variety of fruity alcoholic cocktails by the pool! Admittedly it is a little challenging to get to if you are flying from the UK as you will have to go via a state in the USA to get there but it is so worth it! We flew with British Airways to New York and American Airlines from New York to San Juan and both flights were enjoyable! Puerto Rico is a popular destination for cruise goers as many Caribbean cruises depart from either Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Puerto Rico! I felt it had a slight Miami vibe to it (the below picture)
The high rise luxury flats, sporty cars and speed boats just instantly screamed Miami!! But that may just be my personal opinion! The photo below was taken once we had boarded the cruise ship in case you were wondering! I hope this has given you a little taster to what beautiful Puerto Rico has to offer!!! It’s well worth the flight(s) and I can assure you it’s definitely worth a visit! I will leave you with a few more holiday snaps!
(The hotels beautiful private beach)
(Some of Puerto Rico’s traditional architecture)