For the most part, hubs and I did a lot of R&R by the pool and on the beach. We didn’t plan a lot of activities but these were a few of the things we did.
And yes, much of Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Maria. Many of the hotels/resorts remain closed and some may not reopen at all. I had to do a lot of research to make sure places were still open before putting them in our itinerary. On our way from the airport to Condado, you could see many building roofs missing and fallen trees were all over the sides of the roads. I was told Old San Juan did not suffer too much damage as it was built to be sturdy unlike the hotels and homes in different areas.
I think San Juan and its people are definitely ready for tourists. I have never encountered nicer Uber drivers and I feel that is partially because they appreciate the business brought to the island. (FYI PR Uber drivers just got approved for pickup at hotels on May 5th 2018 according to one driver. This was the day we arrived so we didn’t even know it wasn’t allowed before. Now Uber is working towards allowing airport pickup in San Juan. There is a taxi stand at the airport and prices are listed on the paper they give you). Overall, I don’t think I had a single negative experience with any person there (except my husband :p just kidding).
Also, I wanted to note, because you are by the water, it is incredibly windy. The wind and dresses don’t mix. I constantly had to hold down my dress when walking around to make sure there were no incidences. I HIGHLY suggest wearing shorts, rompers or a maxi dress, at least, instead.
If you’re interested in where to eat and drink, take a look at this post: Our Puerto Rican Honeymoon: The Food & Drink Guide.
Old San Juan Walking Tour
A self-guided walking tour of San Juan is completely possible in a day. Old San Juan is quite small and very walkable. I used this article to find a few points of interest. Husband then opened it up on his phone and led the way. Looking at the article now, he kind of skipped some things because he doesn’t like looking at historical buildings…but neither do I for the most part.
We went inside El Morro after paying an entry fee. It was interesting but the man wouldn’t let me even read any signs. He wanted to leave as soon as we got in there.
Also La Casa Blanca was closed that day (my fault for poor planning) but the gate was open so I wandered in anyway while husband told me not to. I definitely wished we saw more of this when open.
Do I recommend it? Definitely walk around Old San Juan as its very vibrant.
Underwater Sea Trek
We did an underwater sea trek. I cannot swim, BUT I can sink. If you don’t know what this is, here’s a description:
Like in SNUBA, Sea Trek participants have the opportunity to explore the underwater universe but by different means. In Sea trek, participants have the chance to become underwater astronauts thru the use of a helmet that allows underwater walking. The Sea Trek helmet safely delivers air to our participants allowing them to walk freely underneath the waves. It’s the closest sensation to walking on the moon. Any one above 8 years old and weighing more than 80 lbs can participate in Sea Trek, regardless of swimming ability in the water.
Although they have age and weight minimums, I still struggled to take steps forward unless I was holding my husband’s hand. And I was under the impression that we would walk into the water with the helmets on but nope. We walked FAR (or so I felt as a non-swimmer and short person) into the water and the helmets were then placed on us.
I believe the tour company had created a little Atlantis underwater, but I accidentally knocked over one of the small pillars. Oh well. The undertow had me stumbling a bit.
Do I recommend it? Yes, but I suggest going in the morning as the undertow isn’t as strong so the dirt is more settled and the water is clearer. We had gone at 4:30pm. Also, I don’t suggest it for kids as they may freak out.
Bacardi Mixology Class
The tour was kind of short but interesting. At the end of the tour we were led into a room for the mixology class.
We were to learn to make 3 cocktails: the Cuba Libre (rum & coke), a mojito and a daiquiri.
We were told to drink them while mixing the other drinks. I couldn’t keep up so I passed them off to my husband who happily accepted my thoughtful offer.
After the tour, we were led into the gift shop. Hubs bought this special edition rum that isn’t sold anywhere else but this gift shop. He had the option to fill his own bottle or buy it pre-filled. He chose to fill it for the experience. He then dipped it twice in wax. They then let you label the bottle with your name so that was a nice added touch.
During the mixology class, we made some new friends from Montreal and Arkansas. We all met up several times throughout the rest of our trip as we all wanted to explore similar places and restaurants. Plus, the more the merrier!
Do I recommend it? Yes, it was a fun and different activity. BUT! If you can find another mixology class that doesn’t rush you to make 3 drinks and chug them at the same time, that would be better.
We went to a salsa class with our new friends from Montreal. It was fun and our instructor was great. The instructor’s husband was late picking up their baby so we got to look at this cute little baby girl on her mom’s hip while she taught us some steps. We had a good time. The only thing that was odd was that the class was in a public park although it was nice being outdoors. (Side note: the site does say the class is in a restaurant but to meet in the park. I don’t know what that’s about.)
Do I recommend it? Yes! I love dancing and this was one way to immerse ourselves into Puerto Rican culture.
La Placita is poppin’ Thursday through Saturday (don’t quote me on those days of the week). It’s basically a big block party. This is where open container laws are amazing. We grabbed a mojito and enjoyed some people watching and dancing on the street.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I highly recommend this! Everyone dances so well! Watching people was mesmerizing.
La Fortaleza Street & the Surrounding Area
We ended up on La Fortaleza street even when we weren’t even trying.
Several great restaurants are located on it along with many gift shops. We came back here about 3-4 times just to walk around and take a few pics.
Do I recommend it? Yes, you can’t really not end up here somehow.
I would say I enjoyed our couples massage in Barcelona (around the same price) more but this was still good. We got a package deal for $200 that included manicures. It was affordable, had good reviews and was right across the street from our hotel.
Do I recommend it? Not this spa specifically, but massages as a vacation activity is baller.
We spent our beach time on Condado beach. The beach area we were on was shared by our hotel, Condado Vanderbilt and La Concha. I didn’t expect any service on the beach but the hotel employees set up lounge chairs for us and supplied us with towels and water!
Do I recommend it? Go to whichever beach area your hotel owns so you can get the special treatment.
I hope you enjoyed reading more about our trip to Puerto Rico! It is definitely a place I’d like to go back to one day once the rainforest recovers further.