I really didn’t know what to expect when visiting Puerto Rico, but what I found was an endless summer dreamscape.
We flew in from Miami, and even from the air I could tell we were in for a good time. The white sand islands surrounded by the lightest turquoise water drew our path through the Caribbean and a balmy 80 degree day awaited us upon our arrival.
We spent our first week in Puerto Rico at an Air BnB apartment rental in Ocean Park, and to be quite honest we did nothing other than hang out on the beach and visit a few restaurants and shops in the nearby neighborhood. It was glorious.
Puerto Rico got onto our itinerary in the first place through conversations with Sean’s family, and we couldn’t be more thankful that it did. As a Senior Master Sergeant (later promoted to Chief Master Sergeant) in the U.S. Air Force, Sean’s maternal grandfather was stationed at Ramey Air Force Base in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico with his family in the 1960’s. Consequently, he and Sean’s grandma, mom, and uncle all have some wonderful and fascinating memories of the island. As moms do, they got together and began scheming about having a visit back to their old home, and thus a plan was born. Sean and I met up with his grandma, mom, and uncle in San Juan, and we set off for the west side of the island.
Because of grandma’s retired military status, we had the unique privilege of staying in guest housing at the Air Force base—which included some pretty spectacular ocean views. Walking along Officer’s Beach at sunset, we listened to their memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis along with plenty of childhood shenanigans. One of our favorites was a story of how grandma, a stylin’ young woman at the time, was relaxing on the beach, sunbathing with a beer, when suddenly a platoon of G.I.’s came marching out of the jungle behind her during a training exercise and about scared her out of her skin.
Our daily agenda in Aguadilla typically involved stopping for (incredibly delicious, world-class) lattes at D’Rose and then heading to Crashboat Beach. So many of their memories of Puerto Rico involved this beach in some way, and there’s no question as to why: this is the absolute best beach we have ever visited. The water is sheltered by old concrete structures that were once used as piers for military rescue ships, creating a crystal clear, serene bay of water. The clean white sand slopes so gently, you can be 50 feet into the water and only up to your chest. We had no trouble spending several hours there each day, swimming, snorkeling, and soaking up some rays. By our final visit we’d even worked up the courage to jump off the old piers and into the water, just like the locals. On the beach you’ll find local vendors selling crafts, snacks, and some of the finest Pina Coladas you could hope for. This was truly a highlight of the trip for all of us.
Another highlight was visiting the blowhole at Jobo’s beach, and dining at Oceanfront Restaurant nearby. There is something undeniably magical about sharing a meal with loved ones, overlooking the crashing waves with the salty breeze on your skin.
After we said goodbye to this nostalgic place, we headed back to San Juan for a taste of luxury at the Caribe Hilton and a day in Old San Juan.
Spending time in this beautiful place with our family was really special, and something we’ll not soon forget. Now just to get the rest of the family together to visit…hint, hint.