Puerto Rico has been in and out of the spotlight since Hurricane Maria.
We recently learned that most of the island finally has power, after 11 months since the disaster.
I went to visit in April of this year, and it was one of those things where I kept asking myself, “despite all of the disaster, is now a good time to visit Puerto Rico?”. The answer is, Yes.
Why should you visit Puerto Rico? Reason #1: There is so much history!
One of the first things I did was venture to Old San Juan (OSJ).
I immediately thought it was beautiful and rustic, and… wait, let me backtrack.
One of the first things I did was to go get breakfast. We went to this cute spot, not far from OSJ, called Tostado. It is a small shop that offered coffee and, you guessed it, Avocado Toast. Let me tell you, it was the bomb.com! (do people still say that?)
So while I was there, I unexpectedly experienced my first blackout. Literally the second we got our food… the power went out. And it didn’t come back on until about 8 HOURS LATER. That was something I simply was not used to… unfortunately, the island natives were.
Fast forward to exploring OSJ… the pictures speak for themselves.
The colorful buildings, the cobblestone streets, the small alleys… it’s all so enchanting! I could feel the history surrounding me while I was there. Since the power was out, there wasn’t much to do. However, there was still so much beauty surrounding me within the stillness of it all.
Most of the shops were closed or if they were open, it was cash only. There were also two cruise ships there that day; I can’t imagine how much money the local businesses were losing out on because they had no power. Overall, everyone still seemed to be in good spirits, making the most of a far too common situation.
One of my favorite spots in OSJ was the cemetery right near El Morro, Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery.
This place was gorgeous! However, many of the tombstones were ruined from the hurricane. I’ve never seen anything juxtaposed together so beautifully.
One of the main reasons I went was because my maternal great grandfather, Andrés Almodóvar, was one of the artisans that built the furniture in their formal dining room, and as well as other areas of the home. (We weren’t supposed to take photos but between my emotional meltdown, I snapped some quick ones, with permission of course). It was so incredible to see in person!
Here is an old photo of me, my brother, and my great grandfather, one of the last time’s that I saw him before he passed away in the late 90s.
Reason #2 that you should visit PR: The Food
Enough said, right you guys?! In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten such fresh, wholesome food before.
Here are some iPhone snapshots of some of my meals… I pretty much ate the same thing the entire time… avocado toast, rice and beans with plantains, and mofongo.
One of the final reasons why it’s so important to visit Puerto Rico, is simply because they need our tourism.
We cannot stop now.
Puerto Rico se levanta!