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Trip to Puerto Rico

When we were deciding where to spend our last spring break of college, my friends and I explored a lot of different places. The idea of going somewhere “tropical” was definitely a key factor to us, regardless of the fact that we live at the beach. Another factor that may have played a toll more, however, was the cost of the trip.

Being a server throughout my college career, I was living on a budget, so I was definitely looking for a deal as well. My roommate’s mom is a travel agent and recommended that we check out Puerto Rico. In the beginning, the main reason for this was the fact that we didn’t need to purchase passports for this trip, which automatically took off about $200. As we began to research, however, we realized that there was so much more that Puerto Rico had to offer than simply being a U.S. territory.

Air & Hotel

Though we had to drive six hours to Orlando, the round-trip flight was very reasonable. It is important to note that nothing seems to be included in this price: checked luggage, snacks and beverages, and seat preferences.

As far as hotels, we looked at countless resorts and read various reviews of our options. We turned to Airbnb due to the lack of all-inclusive resorts. This was my first experience using this service and it definitely will not be my last! For four nights and five days, our condo cost under $300 per person. Everything we needed was provided for us: towels, paper products, etc. We picked an area called Carolina. This area was central to our activities, close to the airport, and right on the beach. What more could we ask for!

Itinerary

Our condo was located right on the beach; therefore we spent our free day here. We were able to rent beach chairs for the entire day for under $10 per person. Our condo happened to be near multiple resorts, therefore, we were able to take advantage of a couple of their amenities: jet-ski rentals, Tiki bar, etc. We also visited the nearby restaurant numerous times throughout our stay, as it was right next-door.

On day two, we went to the El Yunque Rainforest. We debated using a tour guide service or renting a car and going on our own. We choose to explore the island ourselves, a choice that we were very satisfied with. Our favorite parts of the rainforest were the waterfalls. They are absolutely beautiful! As we drove up the mountain’s winding roads, we would come across groups of people. This is how we knew where to get out and explore. This strategy proved to be very successful, especially when we stumbled upon and swam in La Mina Falls. This waterfall is a must-see!

Day three consisted of a catamaran trip to the beautiful island of Culebra. We booked one of the numerous excursion companies for this trip. They took care of everything. We set up our pickup location at the resort next to our condo, which was super easy. The trip was around $100 each, but this money was well worth it. We chose a snorkel/beach package, where we snorkeled the first part of the trip and got to explore the island of Culebra for the second half. Lunch and beverages were provided.

Tips

Wear sunscreen- I underestimated the power of the sun in Puerto Rico and definitely paid for it on our trip to Culebra.

Mingle with the locals- I can honestly say that the locals in Puerto Rico were some of the nicest people I have ever met. They were eager to tell us about their home and seemed so excited to have us there.

Transportation- There seemed to be a war between the white taxi vans and Uber. This was evident at the airport as the taxi drivers were very vocal about their disapproval of Uber being present on their turf as well as at our condo, where the taxis lined up to block out the Uber-drivers. We stayed persistent and still used Uber, keeping our budget in mind.