Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Puerto Rico Travel Diary

 puerto rico travel, puerto rico, puerto rico travel diary, nc blogger, north carolina blogger
Hey y'all! I hope you are having a great week so far! We had lots of fun celebrating the fourth of July over the weekend and our celebrations continued because my husband's birthday was on Monday. He got a really great birthday gift of being off work for his birthday this year! We went to his favorite restaurant, did a little local brewery tour, and went to an arcade to celebrate. It was a fun day!

Today, I'm sharing my Puerto Rico travel diary and this trip's travel diary is much different than when we went in 2019. You can go back and check those posts out here. The last time we went, we traveled all over Puerto Rico to check out a new place almost every day. It was a super fun trip and we had a great time exploring but we decided to treat this trip more like a relaxing vacation. During our 2019, we discovered Jobos Beach and absolutely fell in love with the area! It's so beautiful! So when planning this trip, I focused on finding a place to stay in that area and found the perfect airbnb on Shacks Beach (I'm sharing more about it below in the Q+A). 

We arrived in Puerto Rico on a Monday, picked up our rental car (I would highly recommend renting a car if you visit Puerto Rico), and then drove about two hours to our airbnb. We did make a Burger King (yes, there's Burger King plus lots of other fast food restaurants in PR) stop because we were so hungry! When we got to our airbnb, we were pleasantly surprised at how amazing it was! The perfect villa for our family vacation. We picked up some groceries and quickly settled into our home away from home. The next day, we headed straight to Jobos Beach and it was even better than the last time we were there. They have built a few new businesses in the area and they are great additions. It's hard to describe or capture just how amazing this beach is. The water is so clear and calm, about 2-4 feet deep, and it's just such a beautiful area. I found the prettiest shells here!

We spent quite a bit of time at Jobos Beach during our trip as well as the Shacks Beach, right outside the door of our villa. We did check out a couple of new places, including Gozalandia Falls. It was about a 45 minute drive from our villa and it was worth the drive. It was a short hike to see incredibly beautiful waterfalls as well as areas for swimming. We loved it!

We also visited the Guajataca Tunnel, which is apart of the railway system that connected the island during the early 20th century. It was really cool to see!

After walking through the tunnel, there's a walking trail that leads you to the beach but on the way we say this huge rock in the water. The rock had a chair on top! How did it get there?!

We also celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary during our trip! To celebrate, we visited Jobos Beach again and while we were there, we saw a sun halo. Have you ever seen one before?

We also celebrated by walking down the beach to The Eclipse Restaurant. It was about an eight minute walk from our villa and it's located at the Villa Montana Beach Resort. The restaurant was absolutely adorable! I loved the aesthetic and the food was delicious. Such a fun place to celebrate!

We traveled back home the following Wednesday after an incredible ten days in Puerto Rico! It was hard to leave because it was such a fun and relaxing trip. It was just what we needed!

Over on Instagram, I put up a question box on stories for y'all to submit any Puerto Rico travel questions and there were some great questions. I answered them in stories but I also wanted to include them here on the blog for easy reference. Be sure to let me know if you have any additional questions!

Q: How was your experience in the airport?
A: We had a great airport experience! We arrived about 2.5 hours early because TSA lines were really long. There were lots of travelers! We had a direct flight so that made flying (especially with kids) much smoother. Thankfully we didn't have any delays or issues with our airline.

Q: Do they require vaccine passports?
A: Vaccines weren't required for us to travel to Puerto Rico (at least during the time period that we traveled; check here for the latest travel guidelines). You had two options: verify full vaccination or you could get a PCR test with documented negative test results within 72 hours of traveling. You complete an online form prior to travel that allows you to upload pictures of your vaccine card or test results. When you're finished, it generates a QR code that you have scanned when exiting the airport in Puerto Rico. It was a smooth process!

Q: How long were you there? Do you have to test to go?
A: We were in Puerto Rico for ten days. To enter Puerto Rico, you must either get a PCR test with documented negative test results within 72 hours of traveling or be fully vaccinated. We didn't have to quarantine or do any additional testing to come back to the states.

Q: Details on the place y'all stayed? Would love to stay there!
A: We stayed at Villa Tropical at Shacks Beach. We stayed in a two bedroom oceanfront apartment and it was absolutely incredible. We booked through airbnb and this is the review I left:

"Villa Tropical was everything we dreamed of for our family of four’s summer vacation! The location is absolutely incredible. Right on the beach with the most breathtaking view! The accommodations were perfect for us: a king size bed for mom and dad plus a twin size bed for each of our daughters, ages 11 and 9. We also had a full, spacious kitchen for preparing meals, a bathroom with a tub, as well as a living room area with a TV. We spent a lot of time on the deck that faced the ocean. It was right outside of our door! We loved enjoying the beach right outside the door but the location is just minutes from Jobos Beach. Another great place to swim! Overall, we can’t say enough great things about our stay at Villa Tropical. We miss it already!"

Q: Did you stay ocean front?
A: Yes! We had an incredible view of the ocean right outside of our door.

Q: How did you decide where to go and where to stay?
A: We visited Puerto Rico in 2019 and it was my first time on the island. I had zero idea what to expect! On that trip, we stayed with Josh's grandma at her house. During that trip, we traveled all over Puerto Rico during our stay. We fell in love with the Isabela area and Jobos Beach so we knew we wanted to come back to this area. I searched airbnb for a place in that area and that's how I found Villa Tropical.

Q: Is it super expensive? It looks like paradise!
A: Every budget is different, particularly for travel, but I think it was an affordable vacation. Our rental was very reasonably priced, especially for the phenomenal location right on the beach. The full kitchen allowed us to make a majority of our meals, which saved lots of money. It definitely was paradise!

Q: How did you go about booking the beach house?
A: We booked via airbnb. This was my first airbnb experience and it was a great one!

Q: Are the rooms nice?
A: Yes, the rooms were cozy and clean. But honestly, I hardly spent any time inside besides sleeping. I couldn't get enough of the gorgeous views and beautiful weather outside!

Q: How did you get your groceries?
A: We got groceries at their local grocery store called Econo. It's very much like a Food Lion or Harris Teeter around here. It was about a ten minute five from our villa.

Q: When are you going again?
A: ASAP! We are hoping to go back within the next 2-3 years but for now Josh and I are saving for a trip to Europe for our 15th wedding anniversary.

Thank you so much for visiting! I hope you have a wonderful day!

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