How I Spent a Week in Puerto Rico

I treated myself to some sunshine and adventure to reset my mind before starting a new job.
  1. It was my first solo vacation
    I am a small female so I have a constant fear of being kidnapped/raped/mugged, especially in foreign places.
  2. I got upgraded to first class on my flight, and was immediately punished by being seated next to a guy who kept taking duck face selfies on Snapchat
    I hope there's a snap of me rolling my eyes at him in the background
  3. I ordered a glass of champagne at 9AM
    Because I was on vacation and clocks don't really exist on vacations
  4. I booked a hotel in a heavily touristy area for the first few nights
    For safety.
  5. I wandered the streets of Old San Juan and marveled at the bright colored buildings and their gorgeous balconies
    Such a sucker for balconies.
  6. I was equally enamored by their blue cobblestone streets
  7. OSJ also have their door game on lock
  8. The city is a lot smaller than I thought, so I was able to walk around it a few times
    Cute courtyard I stumbled upon.
  9. I wasn't entirely interested in visiting historic forts but I was there and had nothing else to do
    $5 to visit El Morro and San Cristobal.
  10. Plus, nice views of the city and the ocean
  11. I thought I would detox from alcohol during this trip but a friend recommended a cool cocktail bar called La Factoria
    The name on the outside is actually something else so who knows what it is actually called.
  12. La Factoria has 4 different rooms, each with its own bar
    This is the main one. I had a lavender mule. Delicious.
  13. The second room is a wine bar
    I didn't take pictures because people were staring at me but it's what you imagine a hip wine bar would look like.
  14. Side note, a lot of people stared at me. Not sure if it is because I am small, young (looking), alone, female, or Asian
    Maybe the deadly combination of all of the above.
  15. The third room is for spillovers from the first two
    It is only open a few nights a week, hence why no one is in the shot.
  16. The final room is for dancing and the decor is on a whole other level
    Very chill, not at all creepy.
  17. Finding it a bit overpriced to take a cab to the beach 5 minutes away (~$20), I opted to take a bus for 75 cents
  18. The bus system is a shit show
    The bus from Old San Juan to Condado runs twice an hour. This does not mean every 30 minutes. It means you can wait up to 40, if not more, minutes for your bus. But I was determined by this point.
  19. The beach at Condado is a lot like South Beach in Miami. Hotels along the beach and crowds playing music from personal speakers
    I was not a fan and took no photos for memory sake.
  20. I rented a car for the first time in my life
  21. I drove east to the rainforest, and up the mountain
    Super curvy and steep road.
  22. I climbed up an observation tower to take in the view
  23. I avoided the popular trail, La Mina, when I saw buses of tour groups headed that way
  24. Luckily, I read up on a "secret trail" ahead of time
    This was the entrance. I was ready for danger.
  25. When I finally got to the end of the hike, I was rewarded with this view all to myself
  26. Streaming now on Netflix
  27. El Yunque is great and I look forward to revisiting
  28. I had been waiting all week for a beautiful beach
    Loquillo Beach did not disappoint. The water was calm, I bought an empanada for $1, and the sun was shining.
  29. I stayed at an Airbnb nearby that night because I wanted to catch a ferry in Fajardo in the morning
    I struggled with doing this because of aforementioned safety concerns, but Practical Grace overruled Paranoid Grace.
  30. I left a lot of lights on, dead bolted the front door, and locked my bedroom door
    I almost considered leaving shattered glass by the front door so I can hear if someone breaks in while I slept. Almost.
  31. The Airbnb was lovely and the host was ever so helpful
    Maybe living in NYC made me have trust issues.
  32. Per the suggestion of my host, I got to the ferry terminal at 6:45AM to buy my $2.25 ticket to a nearby island called Culebra
  33. I got my ticket around 7:50, and waited in a cramped holding area
  34. I made friends with the people sitting by me because I needed them to watch my heavy backpack full of water while I ran back to the car to double check that it was locked.
    It was.
  35. We waited and we waited
    Security was on high alert because someone tried to smuggle a cooler full of cocaine via the ferry last week.
  36. After 4 hours of waiting, we boarded the ferry
    I put on my sea bands and attempted to sleep for the next hour.
  37. The water was so rough that I started getting sea sick, so I caved and took some Dramamine
    I hate taking Dramamine because it makes you feel so weird for the rest of the day.
  38. Some girls on the ferry threw up
    So I'm glad I had the Dramamine because that could have been me.
  39. I took the jankiest shuttle bus to the island's famed beach, Playa Flamenco, for $3
    This view made all the craziness in the morning worth it.
  40. Playa Flamenco is considered as one of the top 10 beaches in the world
    On some list. I didn't care to check the source.
  41. I drove back to San Juan
    With hair full of sand.
  42. I had to get gas before returning my rental car. Then it dawned on me: I don't know how to pump gas
    Jersey girl, born and raised.
  43. After being laughed at by the gas station's token drunk homeless man, I figured it out
    It wasn't too bad!
  44. I started wondering if I could eat those tiny lizards running around the hotel pool
    That's when I knew I had spent too much time in the sun and it was time to go home.
  45. Having slathered myself in 40% DEET bug spray all week, I managed to escape the mosquitos
  46. Until my final morning. When I was outside for less than 5 minutes
    One on a toe, one on each thigh
  47. Zika be damned. I had a great week