It’s so exciting to think that my last trip to close off the decade was to San Juan, Puerto Rico to learn from several phenomenal women. San Juan is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and what better reason to go than to learn something that could potentially help me perfect my craft? While traveling is almost always a learning experience in one way or another, I’ve always traveled for leisure. A few months ago, I saw that my all-time favorite blogger Glo was hosting her very first sisterhood summit in San Juan and before I knew it, I was signing up. I just knew it was something I had to be a part of. I had my mind made up and ticket paid for before I even truly knew if I could make it. But I kept telling myself I needed to go learn something and of course it was a perfect excuse for a girl’s trip. Clearly, everything is a perfect excuse to take a trip for me. But seriously, it felt like a great investment in my blog and a great change of pace to be in a room full of creatives from all around the world. Seriously, so many people traveled far and wide just to be a part of this experience. How inspiring is that?
Now that my ticket was paid for it was time to start looking up flights. The flights from DFW to SJU were much higher than I wanted to pay. When you’ve been flying for cheap for so long you don’t want to spend a penny more than you have to. You learn which flights are worth paying expensive prices and which are not. The flights were around $700 round trip. Seriously, I could get somewhere much farther for $700. But by the time I was looking up flights I had convinced at least one friend to travel with me. (I have a few friends who are always ready to book a flight whenever there’s an invite.) She lives in Boston and was able to find me a flight for less than half the price. Even though the flight was cheaper I did have to make it up with my time because I had a layover on the way there and the way back. I HAAAATE LAYOVERS. But it was perfect timing because I was able to fly with her from Boston to San Juan. Our flight landed at around 2am so it was nice to be able to fly in with a friend. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in an Uber at 2am by myself in the pouring rain (and that was the first of many small rain storms while we were there.)
I honestly had no idea what to expect from this event. When I purchased my ticket, I knew Glo would be there and that was all. I was pretty much on the edge of my seat as the event got closer waiting for more details and constantly contacting Glo about the event. But, even with the emails I was receiving I couldn’t have anticipated what the event was going to be like. Especially because I was going to the event by myself. I ended up going to San Juan with four friends, but none of them are bloggers so I still attended the event by myself. When I got there the venue was breath-taking. The minute I arrived I could feel the hospitality from the bottom of the stairs. I saw that everyone was being greeted with a hug. One thing I also noticed and loved was that the staff was greeting people by name even if they didn’t know them. The event was classy, and everyone was well dressed. The décor was simple with clear tables and chairs and a notebook and paper with questions at every seat.
This was an all-day event with a lineup of multiple speakers that closed with lots of champagne, yay. We took brief intermissions and got to speak to Glo or certain speakers who were still around. We also got a lunch break where everyone got to mingle. Of course, since I was alone, I didn’t know anyone but there were a few ladies who were very welcoming and asked me to eat lunch with them. I got a few people’s contact information and we shared what we blogged about. I will admit I was hoping to hear more from Glo because after all she is my favorite blogger and I was hoping to get some gems from her. But, the line-up of speakers was very diverse in the things they spoke about and what brands they had previously worked with. They all brought a different perspective to the table, yet they all came with valuable information. It also felt like a very personal event considering Glo’s mother and sister were right in the audience with the rest of us. The standard tickets to this event started somewhere around $200 but there were multiple ticket options. This event would be very beneficial for someone looking to start a platform but maybe not sure where to start. I would suggest getting the VIP ticket to get the most out of the experience.
Our first full day there before the summit my friend and I practically ate and drank our way through San Juan. Our first destination was Dude’s Diner which was within walking distance from our Airbnb. We were greeted in Spanish, yet everyone knew how to speak English. This small local dinner was such a pleasant experience we went twice. I ordered cinnamon roll pancakes. I am a big fan of cinnamon rolls and this is only the second restaurant I’ve come across to ever have that on their menu. They were very rich in flavor with icing drizzled on top and real cinnamon sticks. I couldn’t even eat the whole thing, but I did try to take it to go, that is until I realized it’d be a long time before we made it back to the Airbnb. They even offered games to play while we waited for our food such as Connect 4, Uno, and Pac-Man. Not to mention, the place was BYOB. Could a diner really get any better?
We unintentionally walked off our big breakfast the rest of the day. We walked locally for a bit ending up looking at art in tattoo shops and even stopped for drinks along the way. We finally decided to just make a day of it and head to Old San Juan. The tourist in me was so excited to go see the bright colored streets people can’t stop raving about. We originally wanted to see Paseo de Sombrillas (the streets with the umbrellas) but learned quickly that it is no longer there, instead it’s filled with Puerto Rican flags. We walked the streets of Old San Juan for hours after telling our Uber driver to let us out and we still never found it. But, almost every street in Old San Juan was just like the pictures. This is where you’re going to do a majority of your picture taking, eating, and probably drinking. In Old San Juan I learned that they offer every single flavor mojito you can think of and you can literally find mofongo everywhere
The explorer in me was dying to see El Yunque before we even made it to Puerto Rico. You will definitely want to rent a car and make your way to El Yunque rainforest. I was a little skeptical about renting a car in Puerto Rico for several reasons. But, driving around there wasn’t too bad and renting a car started as low as $6 a day! That is cheaper than any Uber you’ll find. We booked through Charlie Car Company but I shopped around and they were all cheap for the most part. It also gives you the freedom to stop as you’re driving up, park and look around then you can keep driving up. You can also leave whenever you want. We did the waterfall which was beautiful, but it started pouring so once we were down in the waterfall we were definitely ready to go considering we were soaked and so were our belongings that we left out. The rainforest is free but of course there are little shops you can stop and shop for souvenirs at if you’d like. At the bottom of the rainforest was El Yunque Treehouse which is a restaurant (which is also not a treehouse). I am still dreaming about their vegan empanadas that were so good I kept having to make sure it wasn’t actual meat. They were also one of the few places that didn’t put meat in their beans. For my nonmeat eaters, if you visit be sure to ask before ordering because a lot of places had meat in their beans.
There was a boat ride that we originally booked through Viator. We were all excited to try it but due to the weather we couldn’t do the excursion. I’m still not sure if that much rain was normal for December, but it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared and bring an umbrella. The boat ride is a duration of six hours and consists of a beach day, snorkeling, and lunch for $95. They did allow us to cancel our booking because they couldn’t offer us the whole experience, but it may be something you want to try if you make it there. The site also offered price matching if you found if for a cheaper price elsewhere.
I am not by any means a person who truly enjoys night life, but one of the nights we decided to be spontaneous and go out. We ended up at La Placita based off of a recommendation my friends got, and it definitely had me entertained. La Placita is a strip of bars. As expected, each bar was free. But each bar had music blasting and everyone dancing! It was so nice to see people so free and actually enjoying themselves in the moment rather than making an appearance and being on their phones the whole time. People were even in the streets dancing. I enjoyed every minute of it. My favorite part was while each place was packed, and everyone was enjoying themselves dancing no one was overly drunk spilling their drinks on anyone.
I made an itinerary of things I wanted to try while I was there from coffee shops to night clubs but unfortunately, we didn’t get to see them all. Since that is now a service I provide, please let me know if you need an itinerary! Puerto Rico was so enjoyable, and I got much more out of it than I ever would’ve thought. I definitely recommend trying El Yunque treehouse for the best vegan empanadas, Raices for garlic shrimp mofongo (big enough for two people!), and Cayo Caribe also had great garlic shrimp! I’ll be back for more mofongo, vegan empanadas, and a beach day because that’s the one thing I didn’t get to do while I was there.
Talk to you soon,