September 2011, Chris and I decided we needed to get away and chill (somewhere warm). We had no desire to return to Mexico, so we searched for something with a direct flight out of Chicago and short travel time since we only had about 5 days to spare. We decided on Puerto Rico! We have not been here before, so we had no idea what to expect only that we insisted on having a nearby beach and warm weather. We got both!
We flew into San Juan, PR and rented a car, anxious to get out of the city. The guest house we were staying at was located on the east side of the Island in Humacao, about 1 hr drive from the airport, called Barefoot Travelers. It was a 2 story home and the first level was our rental home. The space had three rooms with 2 bathrooms, which could be shared with other travelers. Since we were the only ones there, we got full use of the house and the back yard pool. Our hosts, Bob and Kieshya were very accommodating and helpful with restaurant suggestions and directions. They also have optional kayak and snorkel tours to Monkey Island as well as hang gliding rides!!
The house was within walking distance to the Caribbean seaside with a wonderful clean, quiet beach which also had a few palm trees for shade. We spent quite a few days just lounging on the beach, kayaking (our host let us use the Kayaks free of charge), and also went hiking in the nearby rainforest. We did take advantage of the Monkey Island tour, so we spent one long afternoon kayaking the sea and visiting Monkeys. Surprisingly, the water was not deep, so at a few points I actually got out of the kayak and stood up! On the way back, Chris managed to flip our kayak over about 3 different times, one of which wet my camera rendering it completely useless. I was at the point where I was ready for him to swim back because we were struggling so much in the kayak and then we realized that the kayak had a hole and was filling with water causing us to become unbalanced! UGH. So, I had to apologize to Chris for yelling at him! We managed to get back to shore and Bob and Keishya were apologizing profusely for the kayak issue, they later gave us a decent credit for the cost of our trip, which I thought was very nice of them. All in all, it was a very nice time!
We also took a hiking trip to El Yunkue National Forest. Spent the afternoon hiking in this rainforest and admiring a few of the waterfalls found nearby. The total hike was about 2.5 miles up to the peak, stopping at the MT. Britton tower for a snack and photos and then climbing to the El Yunkue peak. There were some very beautiful views once we reached both he tower and peak, but the hike itself was very uneventful. I was hoping for more views, flowers, birds, animals but really didn’t see much. When we left the rain forest, we set off to find a late lunch/dinner and stopped in Luquillo to locate the Kioscos. Keishya suggested a certain # Kiosko restaurant, but I can’t for the life of me remember which one it was. Our first impression of this place was not positive. The Kioscos are all lined up and sitting right next to the beach with open front garage style doors (street view) and back (beach view). We first took a walk on the beach and it was dirty, litter everywhere, bottles and bags. It was quite sad as I would assume this to be a very nice beach otherwise. We begrudgingly set out to locate the Kioscos that was recommend and hoped for the best (we were starving). We found it, sat down, orderer our food and…guess what? We had the best meal of the entire trip! Just LOVED the food, it was excellent. We could not believe how good it was. I was excited to tell our host about our experience in Luquillo with the food!
I did not research this trip before we set off, other than finding a place to stay and getting a car, so we identified a few other items that we wanted to to, such as visiting the island of Culebra and the Bioluminescent Bay. After our visit to Luquillo, we attempted to find the boat doc that offers transfers, but ended up getting lost and getting back to our room quite late. Since our days were limited, we opted to spend the next day on the beach near the house just hanging out rather than set off on another road trip adventure, basically we got lazy. I’ll have to leave those items for our next trip!
It was a nice relaxing trip, exactly what we needed. A quick, warm, cheap get away!