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City Guides

A Week in San Juan, Puerto Rico: Your Guide to a Great Adventure

By
Nina Danielle
on
May 11, 2017

Without the need of a passport or a currency change, Puerto Rico is one of our top picks in the Caribbean.

To ring in the New Year, my boyfriend and I went to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for 5 days. San Juan is an amazing destination that offers a lot of variety. Whether you’re looking for a fascinating history, adventures in the great outdoors, or a relaxing day at the beach, San Juan has it all.

Day 1

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A day along the ocean

Castillo de San Cristobal is a remarkable fortress, originally built in the 1600s, when Spain was using Puerto Rico as a warehouse for latin American treasure. 

A week-long entry pass is only $5USD/ person. 

We loved learning the history of the fortress and enjoying beautiful views from the top.

Day 2

On our second day we took a walking tour of Old San Juan, with local author David Rodriguez. 

The trip was $50/ person for a 3 hours, booked through Viator. 

This was a fantastic way to experience Old San Juan. Going on a guided tour provided many insights into the history and architecture of this colorful area that we would have missed exploring on our own. 

Old San Juan is a small, very walkable area so after the tour we went back and revisited areas we found intriguing.

Day 3

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Hike out to the waterfall

In a moment of spontaneity, we took an Uber to El Yunque Rainforest and hiked the Big Tree Trail to La Mina waterfall.

This was one of the highlights of our trip, and going on our own allowed us to experience the rainforest and waterfall at our pace. Many tour groups passed us, moving quickly and loudly along the paths. We held back, keeping our voices down and moving slow, and we were rewarded with many bird sightings. 

Once at the waterfall, we climbed down the rocks a little to get away from the big groups. Many of the tour groups require that people stay in one crowded area near the top, so if you follow the path down further, you come to secluded, quiet areas of the falls.

The Uber app does not work in the rainforest, but texting does, so make sure you arrange for your Uber driver to come back for you later.

Day 4

We took a day to relax, heading to the boardwalk in Condado, the hotel/ tourist area of San Juan. 

There is Ben & Jerry’s there, a lovely boardwalk, and a great beach. 

There is also kayaking and stand-up paddleboard rentals available in the bay nearby. We went to a great walk, and had dinner at Cayo Blanco. 

My $17 Mahi-Mahi tasted 5 star. Exceptional place.

Day 5

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On our final day, we went on a snorkeling tour with Barefoot Cruises. 

They picked us up from San Juan and shuttled us to Fajardo, where we boarded the catamaran. Lunch, snacks, and all snorkeling equipment was included. With transport, the excursion was $130/ person. 

The day was divided in two parts, first with the boat docked near an island, so we could walk up on the beach or snorkel in the shallows. After lunch, they took us out to deeper waters, where we jumped off the boat and glided over the reef with our flippers. We saw everything from colorful snappers to translucent blue angel fish.

What made Puerto Rico such an exceptional destination was the blend of experiences. 

We went to the beach every day after our excursions, and left feeling that our trip had allowed us to relax and soak up the sun, experience a new culture, and have some great adventures.

If you are thinking about traveling somewhere in the Caribbean soon, make sure Puerto Rico is at the top of your list! 

Nina Danielle
Nina Danielle is a full time student and part time world traveller. She studies neuroscience at Carleton University in Canada, travelling on the winter and summer break and sharing her adventures on her blog, www.ninadanielle.com

Edited by:  Miles Demars-Rote

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