Every few months, the travel bug creeps on me like clockwork.
So last weekend, I rallied my partner-in-crime and together, Kevin and I ravaged Hitlist for a last-minute weekend getaway. As usual, the criteria was simple: flights had to cost no more than 2 weeks worth of eating out ($400 or less), the plane ride no more than 5 hours, and the destination flip-flop-friendly. Our answer was Puerto Rico.
We landed Friday night and spent Saturday morning exploring Old San Juan. Our first destination: Castillo San Cristóbal, the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World.
Partner-in-crime, Cap’t Kevin D.
Peeking out through the second level of the fort. Kevin was in the military and I’m a not-so-closet closet nerd. So if you’re into military trivia ( Kevin) + random bits of history (me), here’s a pretty good breakdown of Cristobal and its little secrets (like its underground tunnel system).
From atop of the fort is this amazing sprawl of city. On our way out, we stopped at the Museo de San Juan. Its location is epic: its entrance faces the Atlantic Ocean and the museum sits nonchalantly between two centuries-old forts. No big deal.
It was too glorious of a day to spend inside so we didn’t actually venture into the museum. Instead we got distracted by the Saturday farmer market’s in the courtyard.
Homemade goodness like fresh tamales lined the market tables.
We found the world’s cutest pineapples at another table.
A stand cranking out fresh sugarcane juice.
We took our hot tamales for an impromptu picnic outside Castillo San Felipe del Morro, the second of the two 400-year-old fortifications surrounding Old San Juan.
Inside, we strolled around its 6 levels until we found a secluded wall for some optimal ocean-viewing.
A 5-minute walk from El Morro, is Ballajá Barracks built by the Spanish militia for its troops and families. We pit stopped for views + coffee. For $6, you walk upstairs to check out the Museo Las Americas.
And of course, the beach. Puerto Rico has 270 miles of sandy coast to frolick on. So we took a 20 minute drive to the popular, but still pristine Isla Verde for a splash.
Saturday night ceviche. We popped into Bagua, a local (but highly Yelp-ed) seafood place near our AirBnB in Ocean Park. Fresh grouper in plantain tacos.
Rum + grilled octopus. This was my favorite dish for its saucy, tender goodness.
Skirt steak in fried plantain. This was another win.
Ending the night on top of a fort on a Saturday night…