Puerto Rico · 5 Days · 13 Moments · February 2017

Lauren's adventure in San Juan, Puerto Rico

13 February 2017

At the hostel, spent a little more time with the staff and owner Chris where we hung out on the front patio listening to 80s hair metal and chillen on a beautiful day. Perfect ending to a great trip. Packed my bags in an uber and I was beginning my leave of the island. Now I'm flying back in the airplane on the way back to real life but at least I get to see my dog. Hasta luego Puerto Rico
Today was my last day. I woke up in the morning, took a shower then was asked if I wanted to join for the Bacardi factory tour. I packed my things up real quick and we headed out. 6 people crammed into a little car we headed to Bacardi distillery on an island close to old San Juan. We had quite a crew and I grew really close with some of them in less than 24 hours. The Bacardi tour was very interesting and I got to taste rum that was $175 dollars a bottle because one of the girls in the group bought one. It was very strong, burned a little on the way down but had a really smooth and irreplaceable taste. After the Bacardi tour we tried a few drinks then headed back to the hostel.
I woke up about 2 hours later where I talked to the owner Chris and Acacia (18 yr old British girl) who were the sweetest most inspiring people. We had such a good chat. I actually went on a date with a guy from tinder who was actually very cute and chivalrous and we got good food from food trucks and sat in a beautiful courtyard before I left back to the hostel. I came back and sat in a colorful hammock chair and just talked and laughed with all the guests that passed through.I wish I could name all the people who came in sat in the hammock chairs and talked that night because they were all incredible and I learned something from each one of them even though there were many. After a great night of love and laughter I went to my room and went to sleep.
Tim dropped me off and I was going to take a nap before checkout at 3. I didn't realize checkout was at 11. Remember the grumpy old man well he became a angry old man. I was still having trouble walking and I was sleep deprived. He goes you have 15 min to get your stuff and leave. I said that's fine can I chill in the common area until I leave and he says no get out this is impossible. I start crying and tell him he's not very nice so he threatens to call the cops even after my claim to pay for another night cuz I was so tired. I was so upset I accidentally called a guy I met earlier at the Marriott bar who was staying at another hostel. He tells me to go to that one. Being a little gunshy I go to the new hostel with an amazing uber driver that helped me to stop crying. As soon as I got there I was so welcomed it was ridiculous. I got a room right away and passed out.
I said goodbye to the girls the next morning and I went back to my hostel. Once there I met a older 40 yr old guy and a 20 something guy from the states. We decided to walk around old San Juan. The mission on the day was to find Tim (40 yr old) a rooster to take a picture with even if only a stuffed rooster. The mission was unsuccessful but I did get some really good souvenirs for myself, mi amigos, y mi familia. We got some coconut calamari, the original piña colada, and a caesar salad. Then I headed back to the hostel where shit went down.
From Icacos we headed out about 10 minutes to a beautiful Reef full of tropical fish. I did some cannonballs off the catamaran the. Spent an hour being a mermaid swimming along side some incredible fish and there were so many!! Spent the next hour laying in the nets of the boat soaking up the sun listening to music while being a little drunk. About an hour later I noticed my feet had turned a different shade. I put sunscreen everywhere except my feet. My feet burned so bad I had people telling me to go to the hospital. They were dark dark red and very swollen. (Update: slowly getting better) I tried to go out with candy that night but my feet couldn't take it. Had a little mental breakdown where I cried in an uber back to the Marriott. I got some Claritin, aloe, ibuprofen, and elevated my feet. These girls were amazing. It would have been extremely hard to deal with this on my own in a shit hostel.
This day is one of my favorites, the night not so much. We got up at 8 a.m. Where a tour van picked us up and brought us to fajardo on the east coast. Once we got there we got on a catamaran where we given unlimited piña coladas. We took a lovely sail out to the island of Icacos. I can't even describe how beautiful it was. It was crystal clear water surrounded by lush green mountains with colorful buildings placed into the mountainside here and there. Purely magical. Once at the island I spent a little time teaching candy how to snorkel then for the majority of that time we took photos, walked along the beach, and drank our rum. As the boat was about to leave we got a nice little lunch aboard the boat and we ate it sitting on top of the roof. It was quite lovely.
Now on this tour I met two girls from Florida candy and Ashley. They kind of adopted me and I don't know what I would've done without them this trip. The hostel I was staying at was really scary with a grumpy old man manager so they encouraged me to join their tour the next day and stay at their place where I got one of the whole beds. These girls were amazing and I'm so happy I met them. Travel friends are the best friends. That night we 3 decided to go out to a strip club. We went in and candy got a 60 yr old dady to buy us drinks and give us money for strippers. These 2 guys also bought us VIP. I was slightly uncomfortable at first but after about an hour I was jiggling some stripper booty and making it rain on them. Then they taught us some moves. By the end of the night we became friends and hugged goodbye. In the middle of this we went to a taco truck outside where I had tacos that burned my entire mouth. We headed back to the Marriott where we crashed so we could get up at 8a.m.
We got to a secluded waterfall with a small cave in the side and it was such an amazing experience. The water was freezing for a moment but then you get used to it. You can also hangout behind the waterfall and swim under it. Honestly didn't wanna leave. The trek back down was quite a bit harder but still manageable. Got to the bottom where we headed for a quick bite before adventure #2 of the day. We parked in somebody's back yard where they had a natural rock water slide. It was so intense and I managed to do it twice. You couldn't really control where you were going and it had to be at least 60-70 feet long. But what an experience and there was a puppy there that looked like Gracie named bimbo who made a great adventure companion. Did manage to fall and land on my chin on a slippery rock which still hurts 5 days later. But would I be lauren if I didn't get injured? 🤗
The next day I packed all my things and joined Alex for an off the beaten path tour where I had an absolute blast. The whole group was a hoot. We first hiked about 5 minutes to a small waterfall and then shit got intense. We climbed about an hour and a half to a secluded waterfall where I felt so handy with my ankle. I wasn't even that scared considering what happened last time I was in a rainforest. It wasn't paved and we climbed through ravines and up rocks and up slick mud sets. At least I wore hiking boots😌
I was the last one to be dropped off so Alex gave me a tour through Old San Juan and he told me to come on his tour the next day for free because it was a bit more intense and really beautiful. I headed back to Freddie's where he was taking a nap and when he woke up, we grabbed some beers and chilled in his patio. He got a little weird when he got drunk and tried giving me a head massage and telling me a bedtime story when I couldn't sleep because of the heat... 🤔 anyway decided to move into a hostel the next day and so the story goes.
Spent 2/9 in el yunque. Learned an awful lot of information about the forest and it's inhabitants. It was very interesting that teddy roosevelts new deal is what helped preserve the forest and make it accessible for tourists. I got to see where the men who got paid only $2 a day lived which was a small green house in the middle of the woods. apparently it was just them and some goats so it wasn't a fun job. We got to a waterfall la Mina where I took a dip in the freezing water. On the way back I did the walk by myself and it was really pleasant to be alone with nature. Met up with the group and the tour guid Alex at the top of the path. From here we saw the tallest grass in the world and went to an observatory to overlook the mountains. Fun fact the original name of the rainforest was Yuce by the indigenous people. The native people were short warrior type people so surrounding islands called it blood island. They prayed to the god Yuce where it appears as a face in a mountain.

9 February 2017

On the way to the gas station to meet the transport van, I met a lovely blind guy and his boxer who was super cute and a jumper! Talked with them for a minute now on a bus to the rainforest. Woke up to a breakfast made by friederich of eggs, toast, and a smoothie. My first step to eating healthy. Surprisingly with 2 older couples on the bus but hey maybe it'll be more different this way. To be continued.