Hurricane’s Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico but they did not break the spirit of the people. The people of Puerto Rico came together to support and raise up communities, they helped each other out in the greatest time of need. Almost 6 months later the bond is still strong, the towns and cities uplift one another to be even better than before. When you visit you will find shops, restaurants, and bars ready to welcome you with open arms. What Puerto Rico needs right now is you!
One of the cities in Puerto Rico that is waiting for you is Luquillo. This small community is only a 30-minute drive from San Juan airport and 45 minutes from Old San Juan. In one of the most beautiful locations on the island; nestled between El Yunque National Forrest, and 14 miles of unobstructed coastline. Luquillo draws you in and you may never want to leave.
El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rainforest in the national forest system. Close to 29,000 acres, it is one of the smallest, yet one of the most biologically diverse of the national forests. Also the home to hundreds of animal and plant species, some of which are found only here. The hurricanes did cause havoc in this area but crews are working daily to clear roads and trails. But don’t let this deter you. Hikes to waterfalls with local guides are being booked, zip lines are up and running, and you can even explore the forest by car; finding hidden locations is easy if you know where to start.
Start here. Las Paylas slide is minutes from the beach at the base of El Yunque. From Luquillo, you will cross over highway 3 and continue straight. As the road forks, take a right, for about a half a mile drive up the mountain. There will be a house on the right with a homemade sign that reads, ‘Las Paylas Slide’. You can park here, pay $5, and there are bathrooms for .25 cents. Make your way down the trail, on the path, you will see nature in all its glory. This is an ‘explore at your own risk’ area, you can even slide down the natural water slide, but be mindful of your surroundings and don’t take risks that could hurt you or someone else. Once you are at the bottom you will find yourself transfixed by the beauty that surrounds you. A lush green forest with colorful birds, lizards, and exotic plants. The sounds of the rushing river will tempt you to take a snooze on the gigantic boulders lining the river bed. Take this time to reconnect with nature and yourself.
When you have finished exploring the forest, take the afternoon to hang out at one of the many beaches of Luquillo. Offering a stretch of coastline that can be walked for 14 miles without rocks or barriers; you can rest and relax, take a surfing lesson, or just hang out at the beachfront bar, taking it all in. There is a lot to do just minutes away. Hiring a boat is easy, the Captain will drop you off at spectacular snorkeling spots where you will swim with the fish and mingle with sea turtles, or you can request to be dropped off on a secluded island where you can explore, swim, and chill for the day. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down.
Explore the Bio illuminances Bay! Bio illuminances are one of nature's awesome phenomenon, caused by the plankton in the water, as you paddle you will see the water start to glow. It’s a natural light show, something that is a ‘must’ see while in Puerto Rico, but remember to pack bug spray because the mosquitos are no joke, especially at night.
Whatever area of Puerto Rico you are in, the island has your back when it comes to a happening nightlife. The evenings are filled with music, dancing, and endless entertainment. The kioscos are the place to be if you like to party. Situated on the beach you can grab a drink at one of the many bars or head to dinner at one of the 20 plus restaurants. Each restaurant offers something different, from local Puerto Rican cuisine, Peruvian fare, and high-end seafood. Whatever your budget the kioscos will have it. After dinner browse the shops that offer handmade crafts, jewelry, and artwork. Not only will you find food and shopping, the live music will draw you in, from techno to reggae, you will find whatever you are looking for here.
After a long day of exploring and an exhausting night out, you will need a cozy comfortable place to rest. Luquillo has many vacation accommodations, but a favorite is Love.Soul.Beautiful GuestHouse. Steps away from the beach and minutes from the rainforest, the owners, Molly and Pedro have created a tranquil oasis which will help you recharge your batteries and align your chakras. The local art and tastefully decorated rooms will inspire your creative side; the massive patio will allow you to relax to the sounds of the sea. When the sun sets the coqui frogs sing the sounds of Puerto Rico. A good nights rest does wonders for the soul.
Something happens to you when you are in Puerto Rico. The energy is strong, connections are made, and lives are changed by this small island. Come to Puerto Rico to expand your mind; also to discover yourself in the people and culture. If you listen close it will speak to you, whispering words of hope and encouragement. Puerto Rico needs you as much as you need it, so visit, stay, and explore. You owe it to yourself!