Let’s go back in time, I am taking you in September 2015 to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is an archipelago in the Caribbean that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller ones, such as Mona, Culebra, and Vieques. This U.S. territory which capital and most populous city is San Juan which reflects a mix of culture as the population speaks officially English and Spanish though Spanish predominates.  Puerto Rico’s history, tropical climate, natural scenery, traditional cuisine makes a destination for travelers from around the world.

Puerto Rico was one of my solo travel in 2015. I found a very cheap flight from Toronto to San Juan via Miami.

One of the very best tips to get the cheapest flight is to take long layovers in connection cities. Most of the time, the departure will be tricky like 6.30 am or 1.00 am. I get it, no one wants to get up super early but trust me the price would be unbeatable as these tickets tend not to sell very quickly.

In this case, I flew at 6.30am and arrived in Miami before lunch time for a 7 hours connection to discover the city.  First stop in a Puerto Rican restaurant to have a typical meal and a mojito! This is it the mode discovery was activated.

The Puerto Rican cuisine, known as “la cocina criolla” takes its roots in different culture such as native Taino, European (mostly Spanish with a splash of French and Portuguese) African, and Caribbean food, with a hint of Chinese.  The food is usually composed by some meat curry mixed with red or black beans and plantains.

The meal I had was a chicken curry with plantain bananas and rice, plus a strawberry mojito. Lovely, I could feel the Caribbean flavour in my plate.

I took the bus that was heading in the iconic Miami Beach.  White sand beach and parties, this is exactly what I was expecting. From there, it is quite easy to head to the Art Deco district in South Beach (Ocean Drive). The district is home 800 art deco buildings in the Ocean Drive that makes the charm of the area.

After this well spent time in Miami, it was already time to go back to the airport for the final destination of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Let’s dive in the best of Puerto Rico.

After 3 hours when I landed in Old San Juan, it is like the time has stopped in the colonial time as the architecture in mainly influenced by the Spanish culture.

  • The architecture of Old San Juan

The charming Old San Juan will definitely transport you back to colonial times.  Bring comfortable shoes, because you’ll want to walk every cobblestone street, with bright candy colored homes. Explore scenic waterfronts, centuries old forts, museums, charming plazas, excellent restaurants and don’t forget to experience a festive salsa Sunday.

  • The visit of the Barcardi Rum Distillery in Cataño

To reach the island of Cataño, you can take a ferry and you will arrive right at the door of the Bacardi Rum Distillery.  The largest premium rum distillery in the world.

A lot of people are wondering if Bacardi is a Cuban or Puerto Rican rum. Well guess what? Bacardi is a Cuban Rum that will be forever Puerto Rican! In 1910, Bacardi became Cuba’s first multinational company opening facilities in Barcelona and New York City. By the 1930s, Bacardi owned facilities in Mexico and The largest premium rum distillery in the world in Cataño, Puerto Rico.

The bottles of white Bacardi currently sold in the United States are labelled “Puerto Rican Rum,” as the content is produced in Cataño.

I would recommend spending half day there as the distillery is really gigantic. As soon as you get there, you will be welcomed with fresh rum cocktail, for my part, my favourite one is Piña Colada …yummy!

You will then head in a tour of the distillery and you can finish with a cocktail workshop where you will learn how to make the best rum cocktails!  On top of that, you can proudly earn a certificate as a souvenir of the Bacardi experience.

  • Snorkeling in Culebra Island

When in Puerto Rico, you have to visit this island it has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  Turquoise water and white sand beach are the rule in Culebra.

Flamenco and Tamarindo beaches are ones of the best spot for snorkeling. I was lucky enough to snorkel for the first time there and I can tell you that the beauty of the lagoon made me forget about my fears! Turtles, rainbow colors fishes, manta rays, you name it you will find it there.

I also made nice friends which I called the snorkelling team! Culebra really spoiled me!

  • Stargazing in Vieques

Vieques is another island of the archipelago that is well-known for the bio- luminescent bay. The luminescence in the bay is caused by a micro-organism, the dinoflagellate Pyrodinium bahamense, which glows whenever the water is disturbed, leaving a trail of neon blue.

You can go on a boat tour and witness the beauty of the bay, the moon and the stars.  A must-do!

  • Salsa and always salsa

Dancing salsa in Puerto Rico is like a second nature. The city is filled with live music in street where groups start playing and people will get together to enjoy the rhythm of the music.

This energy is proper to Puerto Rico! A beautiful island full of culture, amazing wildlife and friendly people. However, several months after the hurricane Maria, some parts of the island still remain without power. I would love to go back to see by myself the state of the island, or if you have been recently leave me a comment. Until then I send my loving prayers to the Puerto Ricans.