Ok, so I finally got a chance to visit Puerto Rico and I’m upset that I did not go any sooner. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! Just a short 2 hour flight from Atlanta put us at San Juan’s airport where we were met by a driver to take us to our hotel. Like all places, there are sections that are eye sores but over all it was a sight for sore eyes!
I think our driver was Dale Earnhardt in another life but VERY QUICKLY she got us to our hotel in a mere 10 minutes. Normandie Hotel San Juan is one of those classic older hotels that has a very new look and feel to it. They had decor that was very trendy and chic without losing the antique look of the hotel. The staff was friendly, courteous and very professional. For some reason the restaurant was not open for guests to sit in but they have this very large lounge area outside of the restaurant that you are served at. The food and drinks were great, a little expensive but very good! The only complaint I have is the section of the beach that the hotel is located on. Normandie is on the part that’s open to the public so it was very crowded, very loud and a lot of kids. Other than that, it was a great stay. I would stay there again but not the next time I go. The next time I take a trip to Puerto Rico I’ll be staying at the San Juan Hotel and Casino where we partied and gambled all night!
5 minutes up the street from Normandie was the city of Old San Juan. Absolutely a beautiful tourist spot! It reminds me of a scene of a movie that takes place 100 years ago in a old, beautiful, spanish city. With deep plunging streets like San Francisco and blue water like deep in the Caribbean, this attraction is a must see. Situated on opposite ends of the city are two San Juan National Historic Sites: Castillo San Felipe de Morra and Castillo San Cristibol. These two fortes were built by the Spaniards as early as 1539 where Forte del Morro allowed Spain to control access and commerce in and out of the New World and Fort San Cristibol protected the city from land based attacks. When you get inside you are consumed by the beauty and wealth of knowledge each section of the fort gives you. Somehow they preserved the mortar shells that were excavated from the grounds. These shells are hurled high into the air like a cannon shooting them. You get to stand in the troop quarters and walk through their extensive tunnel system used to move men, supplies and cannons during battle.
Other than these two forts, Old San Juan had much more to offer. Lots of restaurants, boutiques, street vendors, and nightlife! Definitely a place to go when you’re there!
A hour away was El Yunque rainforest. The Yunque National Forest is located in the Sierra de Luquillo Mountains and encompasses over 28,000 acres of land. Claiming to be the greenest, rainiest and most popular attraction in Puerto Rico, it was definitely worth the drive and cost. At the very top of the Palo Colorado Visitor center you can see one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. This attraction is a must see!
Last but not least, is the nightlife. Puerto Ricans truly know how to party! I have never Salsa’d so much in my life ;). So if you’re looking to go somewhere close but with a feel of being so far away, Puerto Rico is the spot. Great for family, couples and friends… definitely a ‘Girls Night Out’ location. Ladies, the men are muy bueno!
For those of you who do not have a passport, don’t worry. All that’s needed for U.S. citizens is a birth certificate and picture ID. But travel with Cocoa Chicks Critiques requires a passport, so we need you to go handle that, please!