San Juan Journals

Puerto Rico - There's a Shrimp In My Pants!

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A January 2004 trip to San Juan by Carmen

Condado Plaza Hotel and Casino Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico More Photos
Quote: My three-day birthday trip to Puerto Rico gave my best friend and I some great new stories to tell. Plus we escaped winter in the States and enjoyed 80 degree days!

Puerto Rico - There's a Shrimp In My Pants!

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Overview

El Morro Fort Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
The highlight of the trip had to have been kayaking through a mangrove swamp to see the bioluminescent Laguna Grande. Our guide, Nestor, warned us that shrimp would jump into our boat as we navigated through the swamp, but he had one jump into his pants! No kidding! That gave us something to laugh about, but the glowing plankton-like creatures (they give off light when the water is disturbed) gave us something to be in awe over. It was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as these bioluminescent waters are rare around the world. We even had a shooting star to top off the excursion. Another highlight was definitely our tour to El Yunque (pronounced "junk-ay") rainf...Read More

Condado Plaza Hotel and Casino

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Hotel | "Wyndham Condado Resort and Casino"

Condado Plaza Hotel and Casino Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
If you want to stay in any of the Wyndham resorts on the island, I recommend signing up for Wyndham’s free Wyndham By Request program. The reason for this is that it makes check-in easier. You present only your membership card and ID at check-in, and your key is ready for you. No taking prints of your credit card number, no waiting for all the information to be taken down. You’re in, you’re out, bada-bing! Other perks include free upgrades (we were upgraded from city view to ocean view – a $60 difference), customized rooms (you enter your preferences when you join: we had M&Ms awaiting us), etc. My sec...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 22, 2004

Condado Plaza Hotel and Casino
999 ASHFORD AVE
San Juan, Puerto Rico
787-721-1000

Morton's Of Chicago

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Restaurant

Quote:
I have this tradition of a steak dinner for my birthday, so we did some investigating and decided that we’d go to Morton’s in the Carribe Hilton just down Condado Beach from our hotel. The funny thing is that I’d never even been to a Morton’s in the States, so it was an entirely Puerto Rican experience for me. We didn’t have a reservation, but they treated us well just the same, seating us quickly and making us feel at home. The waiter took our drink orders (water) and brought us this huge loaf of onion bread and butter. It was very yummy, but a bit unwieldy. It wouldn’t cut very well and who wants to rip into it with their hands at this fairly swanky establishment. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 22, 2004

Morton's Of Chicago
Caribe Hilton, Condado
San Juan, Puerto Rico

El Yunque National Forest

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Attraction | "El Yunque Rainforest"

El Yunque National Forest Photo, El Yunque, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Using the concierge desk at our hotel, we purchased a trip through Puerto Rico Tropical Tours to spend half day at El Yunque (pronounced "junk-ay") Rain Forest. The cost was $66, and included transportation and all entry fees. Note for reference: You could purchase the trip directly through P.R. Tours and save yourself $5-6 (they’ll still pick you up at your hotel). Their phone number is 787-649-8057. Our tour guide, David, was extremely personable, and knew a lot about the rainforest and the island in general. You have to pass through Las Vegas and Barcelona to get there! (The two small towns at the foot of the rainforest.) Even as we drove through the entrance, w...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 22, 2004

El Yunque National Forest
Road 191, Off Highway 3 To Luquillo Beach
Palmer, Puerto Rico 00721
(787) 888-1880

Laguna Grande Kayaking

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Attraction | "Kayaking on the Bioluminescent Lagoon"

Quote:
Using the concierge service at our hotel, we booked a kayaking tour to the Laguna Grande, just outside city of Fajardo on the northeast section of Puerto Rico. I’m not the kind of person that goes kayaking without a purpose. In this case, it was to see the bioluminescent (glow in the dark) plankton-type creatures that can only be found in about 10 locations around the world. That meant we were going to be kayaking in the dark. Yikes! What were we thinking? It took about an hour by van to get to the kayak spot. The plan was to take a two-person kayak about 50 yards across a bay, into a mangrove swamp, and come out on the other side in the Laguna Grande. Just let me say that for first-timers,...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 22, 2004

Laguna Grande Kayaking
Laguna Grande
Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Butterfly People Cafe

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Attraction | "The Butterfly People"

Butterfly People Cafe Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Of the shops in Old San Juan, I’d say that The Butterfly People was the most original and certainly the most enjoyable. If you’ve never taken the time to admire the art that is a butterfly wing, you’ll certainly recognize it when you walk into this shop. The Purington family began collecting and mounting butterflies when their daughter was born in the 70s -– the artwork will take your breath away. The shop itself is small - you'd miss it if you weren't looking for it. (It's longer than it is wide.) The blue facade reveals nothing about the colorful art inside. Once you enter, however, there are lucite boxes with swarms of butterflies ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 22, 2004

Butterfly People Cafe
Calle Fortaleza 152
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
+1 787 723 2432

Festival San Sebastian

Attraction | "San Sebastian Festival"

Festival San Sebastian Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Our first impression of Old San Juan was formed by the San Sebastian festival. (San Sebastian is a saint that had something to do with the liberation of Puerto Rico from Spain, if my research is correct.) The festival takes place on its namesake street every January, and according to the locals we spoke to, officially ends the Christmas season. During the day, there are processions of masks and such. At night, it’s one big PAR-TAY! That’s when we went. The cab driver rolled her eyes when we told her that we wanted to go to Old San Juan. She knew what we didn’t, that it was crowded and traffic was a bear....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 22, 2004

Festival San Sebastian
Calle de San Sebastian
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan

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Attraction

Old San Juan Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
We got a hint of the architecture of Old San Juan the night we went to the San Sebastian Festival, but we went back to take in the old city in the light of day. Our morning started at the McDonalds on Fortaleza Street (we had an Egg McMuffin craving). We did less of a walking tour of Old San Juan and more just walked through Old San Juan and found things sort of by accident. Our goal was to get to the El Morro fort and it wasn’t too difficult using the map our hotel had given us. Along the way, we passed the most beautiful buildings tha...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 22, 2004

Old San Juan
Old San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Luquillo Beach

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Attraction

Luquillo Beach Photo, Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Luquillo Beach is on the northeast shore of Puerto Rico and is one of the most popular beaches on the island. The main reason is that it’s a lagoon and the waves break way off shore, making the surf manageable on the beach. It’s been named by a variety of sources as THE beach in Puerto Rico. We stopped at Luquillo Beach as part two of a full-day tour that we had booked. The first part of the tour went to the El Yunque rainforest, about 10 minutes away from the beach. (See the El Yunque journal.) The beach is open between 9am and 6pm. It’s pretty crowded on the weekends, or so we were told...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 22, 2004

Luquillo Beach
Off Highway 3
Luquillo, Puerto Rico

El Morro/Castillo de San Felipe del Morro

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Attraction | "San Fillipe del Morro (El Morro Fort)"

El Morro/Castillo de San Felipe del Morro Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
The El Morro fort sits on a cliff overlooking the entrance to the San Juan Bay in Old San Juan -- and it was built to protect Spain's "gateway to the Caribbean." It's also one of the largest forts built by Spain in the Caribbean. The walk up to the fort along a gravel path offered spectacular views. There was a beautiful pink dome against the green lawn and white stone fort. There was also a beautiful cemetery at the base of the fort. Entrance to El Morro, built in 1539, was $3. (A little tip: if you want to visit El Morro and its sister fort San Cristobal, a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 30, 2004

El Morro/Castillo de San Felipe del Morro
On San Juan Bay Calle Norzagaray
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
(787) 729 6960