Solo in San Juan


As a child I was always fascinated with the idea of traveling, I couldn’t believe that there were people that lived in other places outside of the USA. People that didn’t look like me, speak my language or lived the way that I did. As the daughter of a frequent traveler, my mom taught me early on that not only was there more to see in the world but she would see to it that I saw it. I remember going on my first cruise at 14 & since then I’ve been addicted to traveling. There’s something so refreshing and exhilarating about getting on a plane & going to another part of the world. For a long time I wanted to do a solo trip but didn’t build up the courage to do so until February 2016 when I went to Miami , Fl solo. Although it was still within the country, I was still alone and it felt AMAZING! Fast forward a few months to October 2016 & I found myself on my second solo trip in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

So after weeks of research and finally building up the nerve to travel to Puerto Rico alone, I was in my window seat & on my way to San Juan! Although I was really excited my anxiety nearly kept my butt right in Baltimore *crying laughing emoji*. Once landed I hopped into an Uber, checked into my hotel & about 2 hrs later I was sitting on Condado beach (with coconut in hand). I checked the weather religiously before leaving for my trip and all 4 days called for rain the ENTIRE time! I reasoned with mother nature with no luck, it certainly rained the whole time with the exception of my very last day. I even tried to use the weather as a sign from the universe telling me not to go *crying laughing emoji* anything not to follow through with the trip as planned. 

Now I don’t know about you guys but when I think about Old San Juan I think of colorful historic homes & old world architecture. Old charm greeted me at every winding corner, this town is definitely a gem! You could just feel the culture in the air and the friendly smiles on the locals faces. Getting to Old San Juan on the other hand was somewhat of a struggle. As I mentioned before I had been researching things to do while in Puerto Rico and Old San Juan was definitely #1 on that list. My hotel was located in Miramar, which was about a 20-25 minute ride from Old San Juan. I opted for a local shuttle type of bus as opposed to an Uber to get the “full experience” and boy what a mistake. Looking back I can laugh in relief but it didn’t strike me as funny then. When I got onto the bus the bus driver was an older man who looked like he had definitely woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I asked him did he go to OSJ & he mumbled a very unpleasant, Yeah. I watched the doors of the bus close suddenly as I mumbled to myself, shit…please don’t kill me sir. I found a seat near the back of the bus & held my bag very close to my chest, my heart was beating so loud I was sure everyone on the bus could hear it. The bus driver looked sketchy, all the older women on the bus looked sketchy & the bus itself was old, worn & smelled funny…I prayed the entire time. So I end up at this bus terminal type of thing and everyone hopes off the bus as I sat there in confusion. This didn’t look nothing like the Old San Juan I had seen on the internet, you know the place I had extensively researched for the past 2 weeks. I asked the mean old man was this Old San Juan & again he mumbled something in Spanish, asked me for my $1 fare & basically told me to get off of the bus. My heart dropped to my toes, I literally felt like Kevin in Home Alone 2 when he was lost in New York. At this point I’m standing in the middle of a bus station looking like that “obvious” tourist I didn’t want to look like. I took a few deep breaths & gathered my thoughts before I asked an older woman where was Old San Juan & she frowned at me. In a strong Spanish accent she replied, “This is Old San Juan (she even pointed at the ground we were standing on) you’re in Old San Juan. What are you looking for?” My frustration at this particular moment must’ve been written all over my face as I said bluntly, “The colorful buildings”. She pointed me in the direction of a trolley stop & told me, “Wait there, the trolley comes in 10-15 minutes” . 1hr & 2 rain showers later the trolley finally arrives, amen!

So after finally arriving in Old San Juan I stumbled upon Castillo San Felipe del Morro and boy was I happy I did. As I followed the small crowd of people to the citadel I knew I had made the right decision by getting off of the trolley and exploring by foot. The place was absolutely amazing and worth my aching feet lol. The views were stunning and the history behind it was captivating. The fort was originally built in 1539 to protect San Juan from intruders coming over by sea. It wasn’t until 1587 when it’s layout was expanded to the what it is today. I definitely didn’t have this on my to do list but the best moments are rarely ever planned.

One thing I did research was the food in Puerto Rico, I have a funny sensitive kind of stomach and needed to be sure my stomach would survive lol. One dish that came up repeatedly was Monfongo, which is a well known Puerto Rican dish of deep-fried green plantains mashed together with other ingredients such as; chicken, pork & shrimp. It was soooooo good & rich, I needed a nap after eating this! Puerto Rico is also known for their run and although I didn’t get an opportunity to get to the Barcardi rum factory I did however stopped at a cool rooftop bar for an amazing mojito. I remember the bar tender being a very pleasant young man whom I chatted with while he gave me an impromptu Spanish lesson.

On the second to last day of my trip the sun finally decided to show its glory. All days prior to this didn’t allow for much beach frolicking but this particular day was absolutely beautiful. I ended my trip on Isla Verde Beach in Carolina, Puerto Rico on somewhat of a deserted part of the beach. Aside from two other people I had the entire beach to myself, including the really nice beach club attached to it. I couldn’t believe I was the only one there & definitely felt like I owned my own private island *crying laughing emoji*. All in all, my trip was amazing & I would 100% travel there again. Maybe not in October again ( come to find out its there hurricane season which explains the weather) but definitely again. Hope you guys enjoyed this post as traveling is one of my true loves (aside from fashion of course). Thanks for stopping by and as always whatever you do, do it with style.

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