After a (very) long year with so many ups, downs, and straight-up unknowns, we knew we needed to take a little time for ourselves. Although we don’t experience snowy or especially cold winters in Texas, we really missed the heat! We decided to plan a beach vacation. After a lot of research on deciding where and when to travel, we ultimately decided on Puerto Rico. There are a lot of factors that make Puerto Rico and easy destination to travel to. We booked a relatively short non-stop flight and it’s part of the United States, so we didn’t have to worry about the hassle of going through customs, foreign language barriers, or foreign law, which during COVID, could have turned into a big headache.
Overall, the journey was incredibly easy and we felt very safe. The airport was practically empty, and all passengers had to have negative COVID results before entering Puerto Rico. Face coverings were required (and enforced) by airline personnel, and we opted to have the extra protection of face shields too. The flight itself was maybe to fifty percent capacity and the flight attendants worked hard to socially distance people as much as possible.
When we landed in Puerto Rico, it was almost 12:00am local time, so we were able to quickly grab our carry-on luggage, pick up our rental car, and be on our way. We opted to stay at an airbnb, which was situated right in the middle of Old San Juan. The next day we explored the city, enjoyed a variety of foods, and went sight-seeing.
On our second full day, we made the trip to El Yunque National Park, which is the only tropical rainforest in the United States. Without a doubt, it rained on and off the whole time we were in the park. Once again, we were totally taken back by the history and beauty this park had to offer. We will definitely visit again.
After a couple nights in San Juan, we drove across the island to Rincon (on the west coast of Puerto Rico), which took us around 4 hours to drive, making stops along the way.
We drove along the north coast of the island and made a stop in Arecibo on our way back to San Juan. The beaches here seem to be much bigger and the waves were huge! Because we visited during COVID, there were restrictions to visiting beaches. Basically, you’re not allowed to loiter, but you are allowed to participate in individual sports like walking, running, or swimming, so we had the unique opportunity to enjoy a totally empty gorgeous beach for a while.
Overall, our trip was very memorable and we have a lot of reasons to visit in the future. I’m interested to see how our experience may differ in the future post-COVID, with many more tourists and experience opportunities available. We were able to really soak in the city with so few people and I’m really glad we went.