Continuing the journey of destinations untraveled – I headed to Puerto Rico last week for the first time! It was so counter-intuitive to leave home for such a beautiful and tropical destination without a passport!
The island is still recovering from the hurricanes, but tourism is definitely back up and running with each of my stops full of visitors. My first location was the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel – located on the most beautiful rocky coastline.
The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel was exactly my style – an infinity pool that ended with a perfect sunset, the sound of waves crashing all day, and three restaurants serving up different tastes and flavors for each meal. A small cove of a beach with hammocks was my spot of preference to hang out, as well as a shallow pool above with sunken chairs. Restaurant 1919 had so many fantastic menu options at dinner, including a truffle ravioli. The executive chef uses local food through Regrow Puerto Rico, helping farmers on the island thrive. Ola had a quinoa fruit bowl with mango sorbet on top that was my morning favorite, along with their fresh fruit smoothie of the day.
Friday night I ate at La Concha, the resort next door to the Condado Vanderbilt. The architecture of the pool and their restaurant was incredible, especially at night. A menu was created entirely based off of my food restrictions, and I could not have appreciated that more.
The pool was the best spot for sunset photos!
I had a glass of Miraval at Ola while I waited for everyone to finish swimming.
From Condado, I explored the beautiful town of Old San Juan. The small, historical city had the cobblestone streets of Charleston, the ornate porches of New Orleans, the colors of Miami, but a feel that was all its own. I could have walked around for days and not had a lack of photo opportunities.
El Morro at the point of Old San Juan is a 16th century castle built to guard the entrance into the bay. Today, it’s a park filled with families, flying kites, tours and some of the best views of the city.
While in Old San Juan, I stayed at the Hotel El Convento – a historic convent dating back 350 years. The hotel is filled with character, all the way down to the tiled floors that match the church across the street.
A rooftop pool, a courtyard filled with trees as tall as the hotel itself, and French doors inside of my room looking out to the water made this the perfect location in Old San Juan. Here I was also presented with an incredible dinner created just for me filled with all of the local flavors.
Other stops to make in San Juan:
Even though I stayed for four days, I feel like I didn’t even scratch the surface of all there is to do in Puerto Rico. Thank you so much to this beautiful island and its people for making me feel so welcome! Everyone I met told me to tell you to come visit – come see Puerto Rico and help rebuild tourism and the island.