Puerto Rico is my home away from home. And I'm finally returning to the beautiful island next month Feb 18th - 23rd for the Nature and Healing Retreat. I haven't been on the island in months and the beautiful beaches, people and culture is what I've been missing.
Lately, Mother Nature has played tricks with the weather throughout the states. One day it's 80 degrees and the next it's snowing. (My nerves can't handle it. I need full sunshine and maybe a few light showers every now and then.) Before visiting Puerto Rico in 2015, I didn't know what to expect.
I'm nomadic, I love to explore nature as soon as I visit a new city or island. Maybe it's my upbringing from living in Texas and being surrounded by trees, lakes and wildlife. Nature gives me a rush! Oh, and I sometimes go off the beaten path to explore like a true nomad should.
From the Black Sand beaches in Vieques to the lush rainforest on the mainland, Puerto Rico has something to offer everyone. I didn't waste any time finding the hidden gems in the rainforest and sailing off to Vieques. Vieques lies about 8 miles east of the Puerto Rican mainland. If you are considering sailing to the island on the ferry, I suggest arriving early to the port in Fajardo if you'd like to spend the entire day on the island. Vieques does have an airport where you can fly into, but why fly when you can sail for $2 dollars each way from Fajardo. Yesssssss! Four entire dollars! I got my entire life when I found out the cost. I was like ma'am take these 16 quarters....
From Fajardo to Vieques is a 30 minute ferry ride. When you arrive in Vieques cabs are available to take you anywhere on the island. Or you can catch a wild horse roaming freely on the island and take a more scenic route. Seriously, folks are riding horses everywhere. I was surprised that Vieques had so many wild horses roaming freely.
I'm a die hard foodie and love trying new cuisine. Puerto Rican food is similar to Spanish, Cuban and Mexican cuisines, which are all my favorites. Before visiting Puerto Rico, a friend sent me a message via Facebook as I arrived on the island. He stated, "Willlllllllllll bruh you must try Mofongo!" In my head I'm thinking Mo-Fong What?!? The name threw me for a loop but the flavors were EXOTIC and the best seafood dish I've eaten in my life. Listen, I slid out of my chair when those flavored interacted with my taste buds. Mofongo is an Afro-Puerto Rican dish with fried plantains as a main ingredient. The Mofongo at Bananas a local restaurant facing the sea was spectacular and paired well with my margaritas. I drink margaritas with all my meals, F.Y.I. 😎 While sitting on the patio watching the sunset over the mountains, I felt like this was a scene from a movie. I didn't want it to end!
I suggest having a budget of $60-$80 USD a day to explore Puerto Rico if you'd like to rent an AIRBNB room, eat local street food, buy gifts and rent equipment for water activities. Also, I recommend renting a car at the airport in San Juan, since TURO doesn't have as many options as in the states. Don't take a cab to the rainforest or you'll pay at least $60 roundtrip. Puerto Rico is a huge island and getting around is easy if you have a vehicle.
Book your activities on your own without going through a travel company. If you are friendly to the locals they love giving discounts. Moonlight Bay a hostel located in Fajardo is a super-dope place to stay and relax. The prices are even cheaper than renting an AIRBNB at times, so check out that spot first. The hostel is about 30-45 minutes from San Juan.
Saving money on travel is not hard if you do some research on your own. Stay away from those offers that cost thousands to visit the island. If you plan accordingly you'll save a lot of money and have the best time of your life!