Puerto Rico {Day 4}

Last full day in Puerto Rico!

Watch the vlog here:

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Goals of the day were: head over to Vieques, go snorkeling, explore Vieques, grab food!

Our journey to Vieques:

  1. We overslept
  2. There was only one ferry that day (there are usually 2)
  3. The ferry schedule was delayed by an hour
  4. The commute was an hour and a half – one way + more time in the Uber from Old San Juan to the port to board the ferry

All in all, we ended up at the port at around 1pm. We wanted to get there earlier, but we did not wake up on time to board on the earlier ferry. You can go online to check the ferry schedule: http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/fajardo-ferry/

  • Fajardo to Culebra (7 days/week & holidays)
    9:00am • 3:00pm • 7:00pm.
  • Culebra to Fajardo (Mon- Fri)
    6am, 1pm, 5pm. Sat/Sun: 1pm, 5pm.
  • Fajardo to Vieques (Mon- Fri): 4am, 9:00am, 1pm, 4:45pm, 8:15pm. Sat, Sun and holidays- 9am, 1pm, 4:45pm, 8:15pm
  • Vieques to Fajardo (Mon-Fri) 6:00am, 11am, 3pm , 6:30pm. Sat/Sun and Holidays- 6:30am, 11am, 3pm, 6:30pm

It was not really reliable because everything runs on island time.
What is island time?

Basically a “go with the flow vibe.” “It’ll come when it comes.” This is completely opposite of the New York City hustle and bustle culture that I grew up in.

We waited over an hour for the ferry to arrive, and by the time that it did, we still had a while till we landed in Vieques. Thus, it was around 4pm when we got to Vieques. We immediately walked over to the snorkeling store, which was closing in half an hour. Although they were still willing to rent out the equipments to us, the worker told us that since we do not have a car, the closest area of water was Sea Glass Beach. Sea Glass Beach is not a bad beach, but it was not made for snorkeling. It definitely had a lot of tides, and it was very shallow. Adding those two factors together, it would have been very difficult and dangerous to go snorkeling.

We did not end up staying at the beach for long and headed over to dinner.

On the way over to dinner we saw these horses. The lady at the restaurant told us that these horses had a unique gallop. It was not the same sound or rhythm that the horses in America have. There was more clack to their steps, and it sounded more like tap dancing – it was definitely very interesting.
This is information found on caribbeantrading.com: these horses were originally brought over by the conquistadors in the 16th century. Some of the breeds within the horse family, “Paso Fine,” are the Andalusions, Barbs, and Spanish Jennets. However, the Spanish Jennets are now extinct.

There were a few restaurants on the island, but we decided to eat at Coqui Fire Cafe:

**BEWARE, there are a lot of flies at the restaurants.

Prior to Coqui Fire Cafe we went to another restaurant that had an amazing view of the water. However, we could not stay in that restaurant because of the amount of pests at the place. So we walked over to another place that was more put together, which we thought had less flies – they decided to pay a visit. They literally all decided to come once we got our food. However, it did not impeded us from loving our food.

We got an appetizer to share – Queso Fundido con Chorizo. It was really good and had a lot of flavor. Would definitely recommend this to whoever ends up at this restaurant!

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For our individual dish I got the fajita : steak and the others got the carnitas.

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In addition to your meal, you also get 3 pieces of tortilla (corn or flour). I opted for the flour, and the rest got corn. LOVED this meal. This restaurant is also known for their homemade hot sauces, which you can also get online here: http://www.coquifire.com

My favorite was the mango garlic sauce, which has a sweat factor 5. They also gave all the sauces to us when we requested it. Pretty good customer service. The meat was done really good and was not dry at all.

My overall thought about Vieques:

It really is a beautiful island and it definitely requires more than a few hours to explore it all. Everything is very chill here, and people really do take there time to enjoy everything. In addition, you need a car to get around the island because there is no Uber. Thus, we could have still snorkeled if we had a car.

We were not able to explore most of the island, and only a small portion of Vieques but nonetheless the commute was worth it.
The ferry still came late, and we waited from 6pm to board at 8pm, and finally arrived back in Old San Juan at 10pm. BUT, still worth it.

Puerto Rico {Day 3}

Check out my vlog on my YouTube channel!
Click on the picture to see my vlog:

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Brunch @ La Mallorca

So my friend Iris told us we’d be going to this place for brunch the next day because it has sugar powdered sandwiches. I did not know how I’d feel about mixing my meal with powdered sugar. I mean, I love dessert and sweets. However, I normally keep those two apart from each other. Good thing the place had other things on the menu, so we got a sandwich to share, and then our own meals.

Oddly enough, I did not hate the sandwich. I do not think I would gravitate to it often, but I liked it more than I thought I would. So I would definitely recommend getting this if you’re at Old San Juan. This is something I have never encountered in New York City, and do not see often in New York City, so I am glad that I was able to try this while I was in Puerto Rico.

As for our individual meals that we ordered, as seen in the video, I ordered a “stuffed chicken with plantains” with rice and beans. The chicken was not stuffed with plantains or anything at all, so I’m not really sure why it was called that, but it was delicious. The chicken’s meat came apart so easily. The beans were on point like always. Plantains were also bomb.

I forget what my friends ordered but one of them ordered a Gumbo, which is a stew with rice and meat – so in Asian terms like a congee or if you got a soup and you added the rice to it. It was delicious and definitely a dish that was up my alley. Another thing on the menu that I recommend!

Journey to Casa Bacardí

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We walked over to the pier where we would have to take the ferry to the other part of the island. This was a better method for us because it would be easier to go across the water than to drive around the land and get to Cataño. The ferry was also really cheap, it was 50 cents one way. It also was not a long ferry ride, unlike the one we had to take the next day.
Untitled drawing-12Once we got to the island we took an uber to Casa Bacardí, which was cheaper than taking the taxi. Then we decided on just going on the historical tour because it was the cheapest and you could get a complimentary drink with your Bacardí cup. The other options were the rum tasting tour, which included everything in the historical tour with a rum tasting option. Then the mixology tour included the cup, drink, rum tasting, and an option to mix your own drinks. This option had separate timing options, since you would be taking a class.

As promised in the vlog, here is the reason why the bat is the symbol of Bacardí.

When the family made the distillery, which was originally in Cuba, there were a lot of fruit bats lingering around the distillery. The wife took the bats as a symbol of fortune as it could ward off misfortune, although bats were related to vampires and bad omen. Another reason on how the bats are beneficial to the Bacardís is the fact that they help pollinate the sugar canes that are used to sweeten the alcohol by eating the bugs that would ruin the sugar cane.

Other things that stood out to me during the tour was the amount of details within the distillery tour portion. The actual machine was that was used in Cuba was also in the tour. The tour guide also told us that if they actually wanted to, they could still use the machines, it would just take a while to make it. Another part of the tour that I liked was the rum smelling section. They had each rum in a container with a metal mesh cover so you could get a sniff of each all the products. The video that was used in the tour was a little outdated though, so they should probably update that.

Post Casa Bacardí we went to the beach.

The beach we went to is called Condado and it was BEAUTIFUL. We took an uber from Casa Bacardí to the beach, which did not take that long. The beach had blue crystal clear water that was to die for. There was also a hotel at the beach, so that could be another lodging option for those who are visiting Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico {Day 2}

Watch my vlog on my YouTube channel here: http://bit.ly/2sDci5t

As for day 2, we first went to Fatty’s for brunch/lunch.

I got the Arroz con Pollo (stewed rice with chicken). It was beautiful. We ended up at Fatty’s because the day beforehand, when we were walking around Old San Juan, it was a location that caught our attention. Honestly, we did not know what this place had to offer, but one of my friends said she heard good things about it from others. Trust me. It did not disappoint.
My chicken was cooked really well and it was so easy to take apart. The avocado was also really delicious, as expected from Puerto Rico. I also really liked my rice, which came with beans. The plantains were also amazing. It was a bit crunchy on the outside, but it was all delicious inside.
The service was also really good. They let us know when our food would be coming out and how much longer we needed to wait. Honestly, it only took 10 minutes from the moment we ordered. Even when they said it would take longer to make the rice, we only had to wait 5 minutes. So service was A+

Menu: https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/fattys-san-juan-2?select=URIwE_TnUMoZeuDF_0jUPA
There are more options for dinner.

After eating we headed over to paddle boarding at Lagunda Del Condado.

We first went to Marshall’s before going to paddle boarding because I needed to get flip-flops and the others wanted more summer things like hats, sun glasses, etc. From Marshall’s, we took an Uber to the paddle boarding location. We had passed over this location when we were driving from the airport to our Airbnb location. Our taxi driver had told us that this location was popular for paddle boarding, which we had seen people doing that day, so we definitely had to go back.
On the day we went, it was a bit cloudy but that was perfect because we were not about to get ourselves burned. This also made the weather bearable and a bit breezy. I believe it was $20-$25 for 2 hours and they provided us with everything, even a life vest. The person who was at the paddle boarding place was also really helpful and told us what to do like how to stand, how to paddle, and where it was shallow – cause this girl cannot swim and was not about to go in for a dive that day. Nonetheless, I was still able to go all around the lake AND stand on the paddle board. ACHIEVEMENTS. Post this, we were also given water for free. Again, service is A+

More about Uber:

Puerto Rico in Old San Juan and the main island area does have Uber, which will be the main mode of transportation. There are places like Vieques, which does not have Uber (this is day 3!)
Some of the Uber drivers do speak English, and can offer some travel tips and places to go. For the most part, the Uber drivers are pretty nice and do their best to help out. All of our Uber drivers were awesome.

Dinner at Vaca Brava

First off, I loved the guy in front – so shout out to him!

Second, we ate a meal like no other. It was meat, next to meat, next to meat, on French fries, with a bit of grass on the side. The whole thing was beautiful. The meat that it came with were chicken, ribs, and steak. Everything was cooked really well and I could not have asked for a better meal. We were also offered the mushroom sauce, and there were also other sauces that the meal came with as well. I can’t remember them right now, but just believe me when I say it was really good. This definitely is a meal for 3 to 5 people, unless you want a challenge and chow that down yourself.
There were also other really good things on the menu that the neighboring tables had gotten that I was peeping at while eating my own delicious meal – cause that’s what I do. There was a meal that came in this wooden bowl, that kind of looks like one of those pots that you mash things in. Not really sure what was in it, but it seemed to be a really popular dish in Puerto Rico.

After dinner, we walked around the area and stopped at a few souvenir stores and the open area that had a market.

Some things I saw that were interesting in the shops and the market area was the artworks. They all had pretty similar pieces, but there were a few that I was contemplating on buying and bringing back because it just screamed Puerto Rico. There were also shot glasses in the shops that I was also thinking of buying, but there was a local supermarket nearby that sold them for cheaper so I bought it there instead.
One of the shops also had a whole section of cat items – like statues, postcards, mats, etc. This was due to the fact that Puerto Rico has a high population of street cats. The merchandise was an attempt to help these cats with a facility other than the streets. Thus, some of the money would go to an organization that would help these cats out. When we go out around Old San Juan, we definitely did see a lot of strays. For the most part, they are harmless and are used to humans. I can’t imagine them getting violent, unless you are approaching them. So just let them be.

That is it for day 2 in Puerto Rico. Make sure to check out my video for a better depiction of everything, and day 3 will be posted soon!

Puerto Rico {Day 1}

Watch my vlog here on my YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2sRZVWc

Airbnb:

My friend Iris, who is also in the vlog, booked an Airbnb location in Old San Juan that was right next to the water. So the view was spectacular every morning. We also got that salty breeze so no air conditioner was needed. In the video, around the 0:12 mark is when you can see our Airbnb view.
The Airbnb we booked was called La Capitana – I’m having difficulty finding the exact listing. But, on my attempt on trying to look for it, I found other places in Old San Juan that has an Oceanview for a similar price.

Taxi Upon Arrival:

What amazed me about the taxi service after getting off the plane – which I did not touch upon at all in the vlog, is that there was a systematic order for how people could get a ride. Post landing, we lined up outside the airport and was asked how many people were in our party and we were given a piece of paper that stated the amount of people in the party, where we were going, and how much we would have to pay. We gave that slip of paper to the taxi driver when it was out turn, and everything worked our perfectly. Honestly, after flying and landing countless times in other countries, getting ripped off from a taxi was one of my biggest concerns. However, everything was very set and organized. We also asked the workers within the airport about pricing and everyone was on the same page. So either they were trained really well, or that’s just how things are. I’m choosing to believe that that’s just how things are.
This was just the start of me realizing how much Puerto Rico treats and caters to tourists. Cause there are a lot of us. Unlike New York City, my beloved hometown, and China, my kinda-motherland, people are not really out there to rip you off in Puerto Rico. So definitely a safe travel destination!

Los Yeyos:

This was the first place we went to cause we were starving children! Plus, I’m a foodie so I was extremely excited to try out Puerto Rican cuisine – this was the beginning of my profound love for Puerto Rican food. At Los Yeyos we got the
1) Shrimp Mofongo : mofongo is a dish with deep fried plantains that are mashed together –  every place does it differently, so you’ll definitely find a mofongo that you’ll like. Don’t give up!
2) Coconut Shrimp with fried plantains : thinking about this dish is making me hungry and salivate all over again. I’m also weak when it comes to coconut, and I guess that’s my Burmese side coming out. The fish was in a coconut sauce, but it was extremely savory and a bit salty, not creamy coconut at all. The fish also melted in your mouth! A must order at this location.
3) Beef Steak with onions, rice, and beans : I don’t think anyone can go wrong with a beef steak. It was also seasoned right and not hard to chew at all. This was my go to dish in Puerto Rico.
**We also got a regular mojito and a passion fruit mojito. I’m a big mojito lover and it definitely did not disappoint. They also had mango and/or papaya flavored mojito, even though I didn’t try it, I believe they’re worth a try.

Casa Cortés ChocoBar:

After dinner you always gotta have dessert. This place was BOMB. Everything they had incorporated some kind of chocolate. You can hear my friend in the video talking about the chocolate martini – I did not show it in the video, but it was delicious. Definitely a bit scary because you can taste the alcohol, but it was so good. You could have 3 or 4 more of those drinks and probably pass out because you were fooled.
They also had sandwiches and pastries that had chocolate. So you could have definitely had an actually meal here if you wanted. It would definitely be more on the pricer end and might not fill you up as much as compared to a regular restaurant, but you do you.

The dessert I got from the menu was a lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream on the side. It was soooo good and decadent. Plus, did you all see the gold sprinkled on my dessert in the video?! It was boujee af. If you have tasted Spot Dessert’s lava cake, its pretty much like that without the matcha. The chocolate was not as runny – it could be because they baked it for a little longer, or the cake was shorter so it did not have a lot of running chocolate. None the less, it was delicious. The vanilla ice cream was A+ Definitely had a good amount of vanilla bean in the ice cream, and I love vanilla bean ice cream with dessert.