puerto rico

It has been a week since my family returned from our spring break trip to Puerto Rico, and I’ve had time to reflect on our favorite moments of the vacation.  Of course, the best part was spending time together as a family…with three busy kids, it is difficult to even eat a meal together most nights!  I feel like we can reconnect when we are away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

Aside from the family time, my favorite things about the trip to Puerto Rico were…

El Yunque National Forest

Our family had never been to a rainforest before, so this experience was quite amazing for all of us!  Such a beautiful place!  We drove up through the forest to the La Mina Trail.  We hiked down the trail (about 35 minutes) to a gorgeous water fall.  The girls were able to get in the water and splash around for a bit.

     puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences     puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

The hike back to our car was not as easy as the hike to the waterfall.  Did I mention that we hiked DOWN?  Well, that meant the return hike went UP!  We also experienced the reason it is call a RAINforest…it poured rain the entire way.  In spite of the rain, it was amazing to be surrounded by all that natural beauty!

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences   puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences   puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

Castillo San Cristóbal

Castillo San Cristóbal was built by Spain in 1783 to protect against land attacks on the city of San Juan, and it is now a part of the National Park Service.  It was interesting to hear and see how they used the fortress during times of war.

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We climbed to the different heights of the fortress and looked out at the city from various points.   The views were spectacular!

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences   puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

Coconuts

So I’m not a huge fan of coconuts, but it was hard not to try some fresh coconut water while in Puerto Rico.  We encountered lots of street vendors who will sell and cut fresh coconuts for you to enjoy.

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences   puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

We just had to sample one…if not for the taste, then for the experience!  We purchased two for $5.  The man selling them told me that he sells 80-100 coconuts a day.  He cuts them with a knife while you watch.  Once he is finished, you are served a fresh coconut with a straw.  It is not as sweet as the coconut water that we buy, but it was still good.

              puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences     puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

Marmalade 

We treated ourselves to a night out (without the girls) to dinner at Marmalade.  This restaurant is in Old San Juan, and it is a foodie’s dream come true!  It has to be one of the best meals I have ever eaten!  The chef prepares food with bold flavors and very unique combinations of ingredients.  His signature dish is the white bean soup.  It has such a great flavor…I thought P was going to lick the bowl!

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences  puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

Streets of Old San Juan

Just walking along the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan taking in all the pretty pastel buildings made for an enjoyable afternoon!

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences     puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences       puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

Bacardi Rum Factory

You can’t visit Puerto Rico without sampling a pina colada at some point during your trip, so we thought it was only right to learn how the rum that goes into the drink is made.  While waiting for your tour in the open air area, you are encouraged (it is actually a part of the ticket price for those 18 and older) to order a beverage containing Bacardi rum.

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences    puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

The tour itself gives a bit of history of the Caribbean sugar canes and the origins of rum making, along with the history of the Bacardi family and their process for making rum.  I learned a few things while enjoying a pina colada!

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

Barrachina Restaurant

Speaking of pina coladas, we went to the restaurant that claims to have made the first one…Barrachina in Old San Juan.

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences        puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

Of course, we ordered pina coladas…I wasn’t as impressed with this one, though.  They were not as thick as I like them.  I had paella for dinner, and it was fabulous!

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

Following dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings, there is a show.  The entertainment consisted of local musicians and flamenco dancers.  It was really fascinating watching this type of performance…not like anything I’ve ever seen in person.  There was a lot of talent on that stage!

puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences          puerto rico | polka dots and picket fences

We loved our time in Puerto Rico, and I’m so glad that our family was able to experience these things together!  Now we are back to our daily routine…until the next trip!

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