Traveling Puerto Rico 101
To celebrate our third year together, my boyfriend, Anthony, and I decided to spend 5 amazing days on this tropical island. And boy, was it worth every budgeted penny!
How to get around
With the island being so small, meaning you can reach every edge within 2-3 hours, I find it pointless to rent a car unless you are planning on venturing off to different parts of the island. For 5-10 (5 being, you don't look like a tourist and speak Spanish fluently) you can get a bike that will pretty much take you wherever you need to go, depending on where you are staying on the island.
We preferred being able to get up and go all around the island without the trouble, so we rented a car. For about $25-60USD a day you, depending on how far out you booked, you can get a small car that is fuel efficient and low on gas. Only downside is, due to the hurricane that recently hit, the roads are really bad - a low-sitting car is more prone to hitting pot holes and scuffing here, bringing your added fees up. They do honor military though, so be sure to flash your ID to get the best rates.
Parking is near impossible, Uber/Lyft operates here (duh) but renting a car and having to Uber sucks. If you do decide to rent, and are going to spend a lot of time in Old San Juan (which you most likely will) consider parking in the garage - only $7USD a day I believe.
What to do
I don't even know where to start lol. We stayed in Ocean Park, at Numero Uno Guest House, so the main things to do were; relaxing on the beach, stepping into some mom & pop eateries and hitting some of the local bars and pubs.
Groupon has some pretty good deals for dance lessons - about $25USD a person. If you're trying to hit a tour, consider La Casa de Bacardi. For only $15USD a person, you can get a historical tour and a complimentary drink, I suggest the Cuba Libre.
In Old San Juan (about a 5minute drive) you can get 2-for-1 entry to the Castillo San Felipe and Castillo San Christobal. If I remember correctly, a 24 hour entry ticket was $7USD a person, for adults.
For more tips on things to do when in Puerto Rico, read my latest blog here.
What to eat
Plantains - so, you will mostly have no choice but to have SOMETHING made of or with plantains on the island lol. But I really enjoyed every dish; plantain soup, fried plantains, mashed plantains with grilled shrimp in a creole sauce and stuffed plantains! Truly to die for. Another thing I noticed while in Puerto Rico, is the entries and sides in a few places were "on the house" - LIT!
Pina Colada - come on, would you go to Thailand and NOT eat Pad Thai? Would you go to Madrid and avoid Paella? Then, you need to indulge in a Pina Colada. And what bette place than the original maker of the Pina Colada - Barrachina!!! For only $7USD you can get a Pina Colada and a shot of Bacardi on top.
Street Tacos - El Vagon food truck is the BOMB! You HAVE to hit this eatery before you leave the city. You can get Nachos Machos, Tacos, Quesadillas and more! Expect to pay as low as $5USD and as high as $10USD for a plate, not including a beverage of course.
Bacardi - Need I say more? Everywhere you go, I suggest sipping on a cold glass of Rum and Coke, Rum and Rum or Rum! lol
La Casita Blanca - This by far the BEST place on the entire island to grab authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. Now I'll be honest, I couldn't read one thing on that menu (since I'm not fluent I Spanish lol) but whatever I did order - I killed it! Plantain soup, fried plantains, two entrees, three sangrias and two shots (on the house) and all for $50USD (with tip). So, in short, this place should definitely be on your list of places to dine in Puerto Rico.
What should I budget?
To get into most museums, budget around $7-20USD for each place you would like to visit. What I did was make a list of 5-10 places I just HAD to see, then I planned out my financials accordingly. For clubs and bars, don't worry about entry fees. Drinks, you can expect to pay $5-10USD depending on how creative you get with your drink options.
For food, you’re looking at about $10USD a person if you go outside of touristy locations and $20-30USD per meal within the city and near touristy locations. If you want to grocery shop that could also be an option, and a lot cheaper if your hotel has a mini kitchen - ours didn't so we stuck with snacks.
DON'T FORGET WATER! It is so humid and hot in Puerto Rico, so don't forget your bottleS of water!