Located a little over 2 hours (by plane) off the coast of Florida, Puerto Rico can be a magical place to visit. Here’s what you need to know about packing.
The climate in Puerto Rico involves a lot of sunshine, and you’re probably going to be out in it – a lot! From visiting the historic fortresses in old San Juan to drinking pina coladas at the beach, remember to protect your skin. Sunscreen is essential on a trip to Puerto Rico.
No matter which part of the island you’re visiting, you will probably spend a lot of time in your cheeky bikini bottoms. Here are some of the activities, just to get you excited about your upcoming trip: Sunbathing on the beach, swimming in the warm/tropical waters of the Atlantic and/or the Caribbean, lying out by the pool at your hotel, and swimming in a waterfall in the middle of a rain forest. Are you itching to go yet?
If you’re lucky, you’ll stay somewhere with excellent air conditioning. But if some of your accommodations are on the more adventurous side, you might be a little warm at night. Bring something light to sleep in, and thank me later. (A friend once stayed in an Airbnb in Rincón, and the room’s A/C unit was broken.)
An appetite for Caribbean food
There are so many delicious foods to try in Puerto Rico – bring an appetite and be open to try new foods. Tostones are fried plantains, often with garlic. Mofongo is like mashed potatoes but made with plantains. Pernil and pasteles usually involve pork. Rellenos de Papa are fried potatoes stuffed with ground beef. Empanadillas are fried pastries–also stuffed with meat. Alcapurrias are another variety of delicious fried things stuffed with meat. The food is delicious, but it can be quite heavy.
Puerto Rico has many options for hiking, so you’ll want to pack a pair of shoes that will let you go for a nice walk. The El Yunque National Forest, for example, is a rain forest with cooler temperatures than what you’ll find elsewhere on the island. There’s also a secret waterfall and swimming hole you’ll want to hike to.
The Knowledge of “Ron”
Ron means rum in Spanish. (Ron Bacardi and Ron del Barrilito aren’t rums made by guys whose first name is Ron.) You’ll have the opportunity to try some of Puerto Rico’s finest rums, from Don Q to the aforementioned Barrilito. Make sure to leave some room in your luggage to bring back some rum.
Your Sense of Adventure
You can visit Puerto Rico and stay close to your hotel or the usual tourist traps. However, if you’re willing to be more adventurous, you’ll discover the real Puerto Rico, the island beyond the tourist sights. Rent a car and drive around the island. If you feel adventurous, you can go ziplining, spelunking, scuba diving, surfing, kayaking, sailing, mountain biking, and so much more.
One of the things I hear over and over again is how friendly the locals are. Bring your best smile and make friends with the people around you; you’ll have the best time!