Puerto Rico is an undescribable place, so I will do my best to share about the week that I spent on the Island and everything I learned.
I was fortunate enough to spend the week visiting one of my best friends, Ana, at her home in San Juan. My only experience in Puerto Rico before this trip was a cruise in 8th grade. I was there for about 6 hours, saw Viejo San Juan, won $20 in a casino, had my first mojito and ate at Subway. Somewhat memorable, mostly forgettable. This time around, I made a point to tell Ana I wanted to see as much of the Island as I could and not be a tourist. No matter where I go in the world, I hate being perceived as a tourist – I like to be as immersed into the local culture as possible. So what was the first thing Ana and I did? After grabbing lunch in Viejo San Juan and walking around a bit, we went to see Finding Dory (go see it, you won’t regret it.)
Throughout the week, I hiked El Yunque rainforest and swam under one of the waterfalls; went to the beaches in San Juan (Ocean Park), Cabo Rojo (Playa Sucia), Humacao (Palmas Del Mar), and Arecibo (La Poza del Obispo); went out in La Placita; explored El Morro; went to the outlets at Barceloneta; hiked Cueva Ventana; visited friends in Mayagüez; and kayaked in Fajardo to see the bioluminescent dinoflagellates.
What trumped all that I saw in Puerto Rico though was the conversation. For those of you that don’t know, Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, i.e.: a colony. In reality, the island has no real governance over themselves and they are suffering one of worst economic crises in our country. Residents of Puerto Rico also can’t vote for the president. Under the recently passed PROMESA bill, five officials will be appointed to make every decision about the island. There’s a constant debate on whether or not to give Puerto Rico their independence or statehood. In my personal opinion, I’d love to see a prosperous independent Puerto Rico, but in a global world believe statehood is the better option that will still open doors to lead to a more stable island. However, I’m not an economist or anything, so my opinion might not be what’s best for Puerto Rico. All I hope is for the betterment of the island.
Puerto Rico truly is an amazing place with a rich history and incredible culture. The food, the music, the architecture, the landscape, the people. There’s a very clear reason why Puerto Rico is la isla del encanto and I can’t wait to go back and explore more. Will you be there, too?
And to Ana and her family, if you’re reading this, gracia por todo!!!!
Puerto Rico, As Seen On Social: