We’re not much into noisy crowds and big parades so when 40 days before Easter rolls around, we’re looking to avoid the Mardi-Gras type of fun. The most Carnaval-loving city in Puerto Rico is Ponce on the southern coast and guess what? We didn’t go there. Instead, we roamed around the slow enough San Juan Viejo, flew a kite, and took in a couple beautiful days at the beach.
We hadn’t ever thought to check out Puerto Rico but when Kane and Kris, our friends from Seattle, were planning a trip to visit us, this quickly became the most logistically feasible option. Beyond logistics though, it’s easy and beautiful; we will likely return one day. Anything one would bring back from the States is available in San Juan and our US SIM card works and our US credit card works without an international fee and yet, the food is unique and the majority of people choose to speak Spanish even though most know English. In some ways it seems like the best of both worlds, and at only an hour and a half direct flight from Caracas: done deal.
In Old San Juan we rented a penthouse apartment in an excellent location and with a fantastic rooftop lounge area. As for the rest of the apartment, well, as Kane said, “I feel like my Spanish grandmother just passed away and I’m staying here and sorting through her things.” It was so full of character it was cluttered, and dusty, too, but livable and a good deal. From our home base, we explored Old San Juan, which is the most colorful and picturesque colonial city we’ve seen to date. We found a farmer’s market full of transplanted hippies peddling kale, vegan empanadas, kombucha, you know…the usual fare. We made most of our own meals though made a point to try the local specialties — mofongo, tostones, asopao, mallorca. We took the bus to the local beach and played all day. And lastly, we escaped the craziness of Caracas for a few days.