Monday, June 15, 2015

Getaway- Puerto Rico

In January we took a much needed, relaxing- yet surprising and somewhat adventurous vacation to Puerto Rico. What was supposed to be a quick jaunt to Old San Juan turned into a week long stay which included some road tripping across the island.

Old San Juan is exactly as the pictures portray. Cobblestone streets and colorful architecture create a vibrant, old-world feel that charms you the minute you arrive. 

After considerable research I selected Casa Sol Bed and Breakfast located on Calle Sol in Old San Juan. How could you go wrong with an inn located on Sun Street? Again, the photos did not disappoint and we were even more enchanted with this place in person.  The 5 room inn with open courtyard and kitchen create an intimate vibe which was only magnified by the warmth and welcoming of the owners, husband and wife team, Eddie and Tisha.  Greg and I have done a fair amount of traveling and we really prefer unique locations where we can feel absorbed into the culture. We prefer not to stay at cookie cutter chain hotels which tend to lack a cultural vibe and personal feel that we've come to love.  Casa Sol met all these requirement and more.

 Courtyard inside Casa Sol 

Normally I like to plan some activities in advance of a trip but since this was to be such a short stay we flew down with no real agenda in place. All we were looking for was some sun, relaxation, great food and drinks. Eddie gave us a few restaurant recommendations and instructions on how to get to the beach. OSJ is a great walking city so we spent most of the first day exploring, eating and drinking. Drinks on the balcony at a nearby lounge and dinner at Verde Mesa made for a great first night. The mostly vegan menu at Verde Mesa was imaginative and delicious and equally matched by the lively atmosphere and knowledgable staff.

 The next day we decided to hop on a bus to explore the beaches near San Juan- this is the "newer" area where a lot of the big chain hotels are located. We had lunch at a great spot recommended by a friend called Casita Miramar where we enjoyed a refreshing pitcher of sangria before continuing on our journey.  

Here is where our trip took an interesting turn. We headed out that night for drinks and dinner- once again hitting up some great local spots. Around midnight I started feeling sick. I thought maybe I just ate something bad but it continued through the night. By morning I knew something was definitely wrong. The inn owners were super helpful, bringing me water, soda and crackers, but nothing would stay down and I felt weak and feverish. Finally after waiting it out all morning and afternoon we decided to visit an urgent care facility. They gave me a shot to stop the nausea and an IV as I was severely dehydrated. I finally started to feel better. 

I was pretty bummed because we missed out on the entire last day of our trip and were due to leave the following morning.  However, a major blizzard in New York added to the adventure of this trip. Our weekend getaway turned into a 6 night stay when the airline told us they could not get us out until 3 days later.

Finally feeling better, we decided to make the most of our extended stay. First we had to do laundry (we only packed for the weekend!) and then find somewhere to stay.  Eddie recommended we rent a car and explore another part of the island. So we did just that. We ended up booking the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, a resort located right on the beach. Driving in to the place was beautiful, but upon entering the lobby it became apparent that this place had seen better days. Luckily the rooms were newly renovated. If we had been able to research more we definitely would not have chosen to stay here but rather than focusing on that, we headed to the beach to enjoy our last couple days in paradise. 

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