The infinity pool at our hotel, La Concha, looking onto El Condado Beach. El Condado Beach is an area full of hotels and restaurants and is the perfect place to stay. It is close to the airport, and in the middle of Old San Juan and Isla Verde, which is another area with a lot of hotels and restaurants. So to get to either area is just a few minutes away from all the hotels in El Condado.
Our hotel was uber-modern, which is mostly why I picked it when doing research for the trip. I also thought it had good reviews when I obsessively read them on Trip Advisor. The additional building with more rooms and the casino was under construction while we were there, but I didn't even notice!
As I said in the previous post, we went to an island off of the main island of Puerto Rico called Vieques. It was definitely a tiny island without a ton of tourism. You can take the ferry or a tiny plane from the coastal town of Farjardo, which isn't more than an hour from San Juan.
Our taxi driver took us to this beach (about 20 minutes from the ferry). I have no idea what the name of it is, but the driver said it was great snorkeling and there were a few restaurants and rental places there. Just a tip, I would use CASH everywhere on this island. We kayaked around the island in the photo above, and the guy who we rented our kayak from asked for our credit card for a $15 kayak rental...made me suspicious, and I definitely didn't give him my credit card. But the water was so clear, it was beautiful.
Little boats at the port of Vieques. There is another small island off of Puerto Rico called Culebra where the famous Flamenco Beach is located. I wish we would have gone there, but I have heard it is more touristy. Vieques is definitely off the beaten path if that is what you are looking for.
Colorful buildings in Old San Juan. I highly recommend renting a car during your stay if you plan to leave your hotel at all. San Juan is easy to navigate, but don't expect to get parking in the heart of Old San Juan if you go after 10 a.m.
The best breakfast ever! Mallorca from La Bombonera in Old San Juan. So good we went twice! Another great local restaurant is La Casita Blanca. It is in a neighborhood that you may want to use GPS for.
This is a view of the coast from the El Yunque Rain Forest. If you plan to go hiking in the rain forest, do your research about which trails you want to take (some are long). There are tons of spots on the drive to pull over and take photos. We thought, oh we'll hike all day...not so much. One 30-minute hike to the waterfall La Miña, and back, was plenty of hiking for me. I was ready for the beach/pool after that. And, taking a poncho isn't necessary. If you are going to get in the waterfall (which is freezing) a bathing suit, t-shirt and gym shorts is fine for the hike, and it won't matter if it rains on you a little.
Mofongo is a popular local dish. It is mostly made of mashed fried plantains, garlic and olive oil, and filled with usually pork or other types of meat in a sauce. It is very filling. Right across the street from La Concha is a very good restaurant, Cafe Angél, and the mofongo there is great!
San Juan was a wonderful and easy trip. Because Puerto Rico is part of the United States, U.S. currency is used there, most of the people in San Juan speak English, and you don't need a passport! I was really happy with La Concha and would recommend it to anyone. I'm not sure if this was common for La Concha, but there were tons of celebrities there. During our stay George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Ewan McGregor and Jeff Bridges were staying there for a couple months during the filming of the movie Men Who Stare at Goats, which comes out in November. Also staying at La Concha were Lindsay Lohan's mom and sister, Dina and Ali. Everyone left the celebs alone for the most part, so I think they were able to enjoy their stay.