Every time I return to the sea, I am reminded how essential it is to my being. My short trip to Puerto Rico was no exception. From the moment I inhaled the sticky sweet island air, I was enamored.
Honestly, I accomplished pretty much nothing I intended to do while visiting Puerto Rico. There wasn’t any climbing, nor did I get my drink in a pineapple, nor did I even so much as set foot on a trail. But I had a wonderful trip.
Instead, I explored the culture and history of San Juan (and Viejo San Juan) during my brief stay. I practiced my Spanish – which got oh-so-good by the end of the week – and ate more mofongo than should be humanly possible.
Our first day in San Juan was spent searching for beach towels (to no avail, I ended up just buying a sarong, which I love) and getting caught in thunderstorms on the beach. Once we resigned ourselves to getting totally soaked, we stashed our bags under a bush and dove into the ocean – which is where we spent the entire afternoon.
We stayed at the San Francisco Posada Guesthouse, a lovely hostel in Old San Juan located at the top of a gorgeous old building. The balcony overlooks a round courtyard where merchants peddle homemade goods, and the surrounding cobblestone streets are filled with cafes, little bars, and souvenir shops.
Unsure of how to best soak up the nightlife scene, we put on our heels and wandering down to explore. By chance, we bumped into three adorable Puerto Rican college students who beckoned us to join them for “the big party at La Perla.”
In my mind, it was a nightclub I had heard about. In reality, it was a locals-only street party held in one of the oldest parts of town. Young people flooded the streets, music pumped from every open door, vendors cooked street food, and everyone was drinking this awful sangria that came in a pouch with a built-in straw. It was perfect. Our three new friends were so kind and hospitable. We eventually lost them in the hectic crowd, but they texted us to make sure we got home safe.
The following morning was spent recovering from our foray into the depths of Puerto Rico’s local party scene. We explored the streets between thunderstorms, and gorged on seafood for our last meal.
And then just like that, my first visit to Puerto Rico was over. But I’m determined to come back, and spend a lot more time on the island. The climbing scene potential is huge, and after hearing that Puerto Rico is struggling economically, it blows my mind that there isn’t already an initiative with the tourism board to promote climbing. What better place to escape winter than the crags of Puerto Rico? Who’s with me, lets go back and crush!