I had the immense pleasure of traveling to Puerto Rico last summer with my sisters, my aunt, cousin and family, and my mother. My great grandparents, on my mother’s side, made their way to the U.S. from Puerto Rico around 1904. My mother had never been, so we decided, at the age of 82, it was high time she made a visit.
*My great grandparents.
We spent a week in the resort town of Humacao, which is on the eastern coast of the island. Having grown up in the age of Gilligan’s Island reruns, all tropical destinations kind of look the same in my mind. I really had no idea what to expect of Puerto Rico, but I can assure you, I never guessed that it would be as hilly as it was! I was newly put in a “boot” due to a broken leg, so I kept excellent pace up and down the hills with my mom. (We were QUITE the very slow pair.) Thank goodness for golf carts!!
The beach on our side of the island was very beautiful. It had a Floridian feel at first, but then you would look off in the distance and see, an almost Italian looking village. Amazing.
A favorite local delicacy is Mofongo. This is not to be missed. It’s a delectable combo of mashed green plantains, garlic, salt and small pieces of chicharrón (small crunchy pieces of pork belly, pork rind, chicken, mutton or beef). The locals are überly proud of their recipes. You will even find them advertising, in the restaurant windows, their high rankings on Yelp.com.
As you get to know me, you will see, in my travels, I’m always drawn to the local architecture and architectural details. I love seeing intricate tile and surprising colors that different cultures use. (In Northern VA, you’d be hard pressed to find a turquoise church!)
During our time on the island, we took a day trip to Old San Juan. En route to the city, we stopped for a super cool (and TASTY) tour of the Bacardí Rum Distillery at Casa Bacardí. Even if you are not a big drinker, it is a really fun tour with free samples!
Old San Juan proper was a BEAUTIFUL city with a mix of impressive government structures, and quaint and colorful shops and restaurants. We spent the day hunting for my great grandmother’s birth certificate, so I look forward to heading back to this sweet city to properly explore some day.
No trip of mine would be complete without a sample of photos of the beautiful flowers that grow in the area. (Kind of an obsession of mine….taking pictures of flowers.)
I’ve been fortunate, in my life, to travel to several cities in the US and foreign countries. Looking at all of my travels as a whole, I can say with great confidence that the people of Puerto Rico are, hands down, the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of living among, even though just temporarily. I would not hesitate, and look forward to, taking a return trip to this lovely island.
*By Unknown – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. (Original text: Belinda Torres-Mary,great grand-daughter who maintains information regarding Isabel’s history and immigration struggle and is the keeper of the family documents.), GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47398089
To see more pictures from my trip, visit jenniferthebeholder on Instagram.