Puerto Rico’s Western paradise: Our Rincon beach house rental [PHOTOS]

He was speechless. As he looked at the bright, towering Rincon beach house rental, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

More so once he stepped into the top floor suite, opened the French doors and stared into the ocean right off the living room.

He sat down, quietly–and didn’t speak for the next five minutes.

Rincon beach house rental, Puerto Rico West Coast

What if he didn’t like my Rincon beach house rental surprise?!

Finally, he uttered some words I didn’t expect:

“I’ve never stayed in an oceanview hotel room, let alone an oceanfront beach house.”

Where he comes from, oceanview rooms are so expensive that his family could never afford them. And so, I was giving him one of the best gifts of his life.

At this point, there were tears streaming down his face. Then, he looked into my eyes and said:

“I’m sorry. I’m just so happy and shocked that I’m speechless.”

Once again, he didn’t speak for several minutes.

Rincon Beach House, oceanview

This is the effect our budget Rincon beach house rental had on him.

I must say, Puntas Tree House was love at first (digital) sight.

For about USD $85 a night, we could have a beautiful, third-floor suite boasting a private balcony, bathroom, fully-equipped kitchen, and living space.

Other perks included A/C, complimentary Wi-Fi, and private parking right across Sandy Beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico.

Better yet? It was a stone’s throw from a myriad of restaurants, bars, plus unbelievably-cheap-and-delicious panaderias.

You could barely get an oceanview room on a similar location in San Juan–one of the reasons why I love Puerto Rico’s West Coast so much more.

Puntas Tree House, Rincon Beach rental

Living room of the honeymoon suite on the 3rd floor of Puntas Tree House

Relaxation and adventure, all in one location: Rincon Puerto Rico!

My favorite thing about Rincon Puerto Rico, though? It’s so laid back: a striking contrast from most of the East Coast.

Yet, this Western paradise still manages to be as adventurous as its counterpart. From world-class surfing and diving, to kayaking and sailing.

Relaxation and adventure: all in one location!

Sandy beach, Rincon rental

Bodyboarders and surfers at Sandy Beach, Rincon Puerto Rico

Since we were in romantic relaxation mode (it was our second anniversary after all!), we opted for long mornings walking along the coast and lazy afternoons drinking cocktails while staring at the ocean from Tamboo’s amazing deck:

restaurant in Rincon Puerto Rico

Where to eat: Our favorite spots

Speaking of lazy afternoons, we also enjoyed stuffing our faces 😀 There was certainly no shortage of dining options by our Rincon beach house rental.

However, none of them are particularly inexpensive.

SO! For those budget-conscious travelers, we highly-recommend Panaderia Eileen, about a 10-minute drive toward PR-115 in the neighboring town of Aguada. Here, you’ll find fantastic sandwiches, breakfast & some Puerto Rican fritters for excellent prices.

Puerto Rican food, West Coast

And…the one place that made us throw our budget out the window a couple of times: Tamboo.

Right before the high season kicked off (Thanksgiving week), it was pleasantly uncrowded, with decent service and food.

What made us keep coming back, though? THIS:

Rincon Puerto Rico cuisine

As good as the plantain-crusted shrimp was, it wasn’t really the food! 😉

Puerto Rico’s West Coast nightlife: boring or thriving?

As relaxed as Rincon Puerto Rico might seem, it still offers some thriving nightlife to those who seek it! Besides Tamboo, we got two other favorites:

  • Casa Verde’s bar, as it was right off the backyard of our Rincon beach house rental
  • Villa Cofresi is actually 10-min. drive away, but trust us, the ambiance and cocktails, particularly The Pirate special, are SO worth it. Super local vibe, too!

Rincon Puerto Rico nightlife

The most unique, romantic Puerto Rico getaway a couple could plan

Planning a visit to Puerto Rico? Definitely consider the laid-back town of Rincon and booking a suite at the beachfront, budget-friendly Puntas Tree House!

Not only is it cheaper and more private than a hotel room in San Juan, but most certainly, better views 😉

Rincon Puerto Rico rental, Puntas Tree House

I already miss you, Rincon!

Would you rather book a beachfront cottage or an ocean view hotel room?

We stayed at Puntas Tree House for 4 nights, 3 which were complimentary. Views expressed on this article are my honest opinion, though. We actually paid for a 4th night because we didn’t want to leave!

Puerto Rico paradores: PHOTOS + video of my East Coast favorites

Merry Christmas to you all! This week’s Beach Thursday feature are my favorite East Coast Puerto Rico paradores.

Hope you enjoy the beautiful PHOTOS + videos! They are certainly some of my favorite spots in the entire island.

Yabucoa, Puerto Rico paradores

As you already know, a couple of weeks ago I was scouring the island for the best hidden gems and intimate spots as part of my first (official!) #TourBoricua.

Here’s a glimpse of what I found!

Puerto Rico Paradores: Photos + Video of my East Coast Favorites

I spent hours on the Internet looking for special properties in which to celebrate our second-year anniversary. I wanted to surprise him, make it special: none of that cookie-cutter, international hotel chain nonsense.

We were also on a budget!

While our time in a private Rincon beach house was perfect, I couldn’t find “The One” on the east.

That’s when I knew I had to look into Puerto Rican paradores.

Parador Costa Del Mar, Yabucoa Puerto Rico

Simply put, a parador is a local inn that offers an intimate atmosphere and services beyond the typical bed-and-breakfast. They feel cozier; more homey.

Naturally, when I discovered that the family-owned paradores chain Tropical Inns also offered all-inclusive stays, I knew I had to book a room in one of their East Coast properties!

All of them looked enticing though. Which to choose?

OPTION # 1: Parador Costa Del Mar, Yabucoa

First up was Parador Costa Del Mar, a cozy 16-room retreat in the Eastern beach town of Yabucoa.

Hmm…quite off-the-beaten-path.

Few restaurants on that road; more local bars than anything else. The spirit of a romantic spot?

I wasn’t so sure until…

Yabucoa Puerto Rico oceanview parador

THAT view from a room’s balcony. *Gasp.* Ok, I’m sold?! But theeeen:

OPTION # 2: Parador MaunaCaribe, Maunabo

Beachfront. Holy infinity pool. Off-the-beaten-path as well. But over 50 rooms… And quite popular with locals during holidays and weekends.

Not quite the romantic getaway I was looking for. Still though, I’ll keep in mind for my next family reunion!

infinity pool in Puerto Rican parador

MaunaCaribe, a parador Puerto Rico

OPTION # 3: Parador Palmas De Lucia, Yabucoa

Parador Palmas De Lucia was located on the same road as Costa Del Mar. Bigger property though, closer to the beach and walking distance to a local restaurant or two.

Went inside to take a look…

Super family-friendly. Lots of kids. Better suited for a weekend with my baby nephew and close family:

parador in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico

Yabucoa beach from parador Palmas De Lucia

VERDICT: for a romantic retreat, Parador Costa Del Mar it is!

We stayed during the low season, for the long Thanksgiving weekend, and had the property to ourselves.

It was absolutely magical: the unobstructed ocean views from our room’s balcony; the peace of mind knowing our meals were all taken care of (even our afternoon snacks!); unlimited coffee (extremely important); and the silence…!

Puerto Rican food, parador Palmas De Lucia

one of the fabulous meals we had during our stay: the crunchiest, most delicious cassava tostones I’ve ever had, plus delicious red snapper with Creole sauce and veggies

We only heard a few voices by the pool around lunchtime the day we were leaving. Just one more room was booked during our entire stay.

Anyone who has been to Puerto Rico before know this is a luxury.

I still dream about the mornings hearing the ocean come and go; the smell of coffee brewing in our bedroom; the chunks of coconut in their exquisite flan; the kick of their steak’s chimichurri sauce & crispiness of their yuca tostones; opening my eyes and seeing Vieques Island right off my sliding door…

oceanview room, Parador Costa Del Mar

Oh our dear Costa Del Mar: can’t wait to visit you again!

PLEASE NOTE: the lovely Tropical Inns family offered us a 3-day, 2 night stay in exchange of some press…

Little did they know, we would have raved about them anyway! 😉

All opinions set forth are entirely our own though: and honest. We were so impressed with this little piece of heaven, we can’t wait to go back 😀

Check out our full review here.

Have you stayed at a parador? What was your experience like?

Beach Sunrise Time Lapse Video: Sandy Beach, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Happy Beach Thursday! I’m in the middle of an exciting project for My Destination Puerto Rico, traveling far and wide throughout my island, looking for hidden gems—particularly, very special accommodation options. I can’t wait to show you the videos! For now, check out my very first beach sunrise time lapse video, filmed at Sandy Beach, Rincon, Puerto Rico and other spectacular sky photos below 😉

Beach sunrise time lapse video: Sandy Beach, Rincon, Puerto Rico

My apologies for the BLURRY resolution: if you pay attention to the right, you’ll see a great amount of ocean spray—after almost 2 hours of filming, it saturated the lens! I’ll have to figure out a way to protect it (and by default, protect the quality of the video :P) next time around. Any tips, by the way? 🙂

More beautiful colors after filming our beach sunrise time lapse video

We had a full day of filming ahead of us, so after 2 hours, we had to head back to our beach house to wrap it up. Oh, but how did I regret our decision, after witnessing the following sunrise COLORS in the sky on our walk back!

beach sunrise time lapse video and photos

Purple, yellow, orange: such a beautiful sky

Rincon Puerto Rico sunrise, beach time lapse

kind of hazy from the ocean spray.. but still charming

Rincon beach sunrise, Puerto Rico time lapse video

Like a postcard: but better 🙂

Another tease? Just check out the beautiful beach house we got!

Rincon Beach rental, Puerto Rico West Coast

We are definitely going back to you, Rincon: as your main via aptly describes you, the Road to Happiness <3 Already missing you!

Have you filmed a sunrise time lapse video? Share it with us below!

Puerto Rican Christmas traditions: Navidades en Puerto Rico!

Welcome to Cultural Tidbits Monday! Today I’m sharing a post about Puerto Rican Christmas traditions by Sara Moyano, co-proprietor of Hacienda Moyano. I’ve talked about our Christmas traditions in the past, including our famous parrandas, but Sara goes a little deeper. Enjoy! 🙂

Puerto Rican Christmas food

Puerto Rican Christmas food sampler

Puerto Rican Christmas traditions

In the northern hemisphere the leaves have changed to their short lived majestic autumn colors, the air is crisper and Halloween is just round the corner.  It is hard to believe 2013 is almost over.  But before we think about the New Year, let’s talk about where you are going to spend your holidays.  Some people like to stay close to home and spend time with loved ones. Some people like to go to places where the winter weather makes it look and feel like those beautiful snowy scenes on old Christmas cards.  And a few lucky ones will choose to come to Hacienda Moyano in Naguabo, Puerto Rico!

Nobody celebrates the holiday season like the people of Puerto Rico. From the food to the music, everything about Puerto Rican Christmas is special. The holiday season lasts from Thanksgiving until January 6, the day of the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. It is important to note that it is also the beginning of carnival season in many cultures.  At Hacienda Moyano, we always find a reason to celebrate and Christmas is the best reason of all.

The cooks are already putting their orders in for the “viandas” (vegetables) that they will need to make “pasteles”.  Pasteles are a staple of the Puerto Rican holiday menu, a very labor intensive dish that is a must on every table.  They are made with a masa of green bananas and plantains, “yucca” (taro), and calabazas (pumpkin) and wrapped in a scorched banana leaf.  The combinations of flavors can include: chickpeas, raisins, olives, capers, beef, chicken, pork, fish or “jueyes” (land crabs), and are as endless as the family recipes that have been passed down for generations.

“Arroz con gandules” (rice and pigeon peas) is another staple of the holiday menu.  There is usually a smoked meat imparting its woodsy flavor, but the “sofrito” is the star of this simple dish.  And I say that with the outmost respect.  Cooking good rice is really an art and not as easy as it sounds.

Puerto Rican Christmas traditions, lechon

SEXY Puerto Rican lechon a la varita! By Angela Rutherford, Flickr

The star of the Puerto Rican Christmas table, however, is the “lechon” or pork.  Usually it is a “pernil” or fresh ham.  Again the recipes are as varied as the tastes and the origin of the family. Most cooks use “adobo mojado” or wet seasoning that consists of salt, pepper, oregano, vinegar and olive oil. Some families splurge and cook “lechon a la varita” or a pig roast on a homemade spit.  No matter what recipe you use it is usually the best thing on the table.

The day we roast a pig at Hacienda Moyano is a day to celebrate.  Everyone is up early, the “carbon” (coal) is started, the “ron caña” (Puerto Rican moonshine) is flowing early. The Medallas are cold. The pig has been seasoned at least the night before and it is rested and ready for its day view.  There is nothing that smells like Christmas in Puerto Rico than the smell of pork fat dripping on the smoldering charcoal.

And wait until you taste the “postres” (desserts). “Arroz con dulce” (rice pudding with spices and raisins), tembleque (a cold coconut custard with cinnamon), “dulce de papaya” (spiced candied papaya usually served with white cheese). These are just a few, there are so many more delicious sweet treats to enjoy during the Christmas holidays.

Oh, and how about the drinks, the “coquito” (coconut eggnog), is a tradition.  After a dinner of arroz con gandules, lechon, pasteles, postre y coquito, all you need is a “hamaca” (hammock) in the shade to take a “siesta”.  Or go to El Yunque for a hike.  The choice is yours because Puerto Rico does it better! Feliz Navidad from Hacienda Moyano! (even though it’s October — celebrate early! 😉 )

Have you experienced Puerto Rican Christmas traditions and food?

Luquillo Puerto Rico: Attractions, Sights, Food [Beach Thursday VIDEO]

I’m so freaking excited that I can barely speak into my voice recognition software…BUT! Before we move on to the AMAZING news I got for you, let me warm you up with my latest travel video. I’ve talked a bit about it before, but today we dig deeper into the beautiful beach town of Luquillo Puerto Rico: this week’s Beach Thursday pick!

Luquillo Puerto Rico: attractions, sights, FOOD!

You heard (or watched?) right: my second Chief World Explorer video. Which means? Out of more than 3,000 applications from 99 countries, I made it to the Top 50 [semifinals round!] of Jauntaroo’s Best Job Around the World Competition. And to think that, due to fear and past failures, I almost didn’t apply…WOW! Can you believe this?! Announcement was made on Tuesday and I’m still shaking of excitement!

Help me make it to the TOP 5: vote by clicking ‘LIKE’ on my video here!

My Luquillo Puerto Rico video might even make it to Puerto Rican TV and the island’s leading newspaper, which is why I couldn’t come here to blog about this amazing accomplishment until today 😉 Yah, I’ve been busy hustling!

I would GREATLY appreciate it if you take me one step closer into fulfilling my dream career: to volunteer and travel around the world, all while getting paid for it. And filming amazing videos. While being all crazy and fun and energetic in front of the camera. Tweeting pinning Facebooking. The works!

Don’t leave yet though: I got some more Beach Thursday content before I ttyl 😉

Luquillo Puerto Rico photos + bonus video

Luquillo Puerto Rico Balneario La Montserrate

Balneario La Montserrate

Luquillo Puerto Rico St. Joseph's church altar

Intricate altar at St. Joseph’s church (photo by j.lowrydoyle, Flickr)

La Parrilla Luquillo kiosk

Probably the nicest kiosk/restaurant in Luquillo: La Parilla (photo by Joe Shlabotnik, Flickr)

Have you been to Puerto Rico? VOTE for my Luquillo video here!

Puerto Rico beaches: refreshing from the heatwaves! [Beach Thursday photos]

When there’s a heatwave in New York, you know things must be worst down in the Caribbean. And so, it’s been stifling here! I’ve been going to quite a bit of Puerto Rico beaches to refresh from the heat and humidity. Hope you enjoy the photos I’ve snapped for Beach Thursday 😀

Some were taken with a smartphone while inside a plastic back (lol), so I apologize for the quality in advance!

Puerto Rico beaches, Carolina Beach Thursday

Welcome to Puerto Rico Beach Thursday!

Puerto Rico beach photos: Playa Pal Pueblo, Carolina

When driving to Balneario de Carolina, right before you start seeing the gates, you’ll find a dinghy sign saying “Playas Pal Pueblo” and entrance to a small parking lot: this is it! In contrast to its popular neighbor, Playa Pal Pueblo didn’t feel crowded—a rare commodity to find on beaches near San Juan.

Puerto Rico beach photos, Carolina beach Thursday

Playa Pal Pueblo coastline, right by the Courtyard Marriott in Carolina

Puerto Rico beaches, Carolina beach Thursday

Doesn’t that water make you want to run right in?

My favorite thing about this Puerto Rican beach, though? There’s a small campsite among palm fronds and vegetation, right by its entrance. Its residents are actually peaceful protesters of further development of the Carolina coastline, fighting to keep beaches free for Puerto Ricans to enjoy. Very picturesque protest may I say myself:

Puerto Rico beach photos, beach campsite

See the tents on the left and right?

Puerto Rico beaches, Carolina Playa Pal Pueblo

LOVE this photo and entrance!

Puerto Rico beach photos: Playa Escondida, Fajardo

I’ve already written about the many things to do in Fajardo, including how to get to the “Governor’s Reserve Beach.” Well, you’ll be happy to hear that Playa Escondida is on the way! It’s the very first glimpse of coast you see after your long 30-40 minute hike. So, totally possible to visit both Fajardo beaches on the same day. If you decide to keep walking along the coast until you see the Cove with the Governor’s house, though, beware the cops. ENJOY! 😀

Puerto Rico beach photos, Playa Escondida Fajardo

We apologize for the ugly picture: it was cloudy, not a sunny day!

Puerto Rico beaches, Playa Escondida

Now THIS one makes some justice to this gorgeous beach

Puerto Rico beach photos, Puerto Rican girl bikini

My apologies for ruining it: I had not taken a photo of myself that trip…

Puerto Rico beach photos: Isla Verde, Carolina

THE most popular beach by San Juan, where most of the beachfront hotels are located. Perfect for windsurfing, kite surfing, parasailing, and people watching. You may also rent kayaks and kite surfing lessons. Oh, and lastly but most importantly, lots of palm trees to find shade under!

Puerto Rico beaches, Palm tree

this photo has NOT been edited in ANY way!

Puerto Rico beach photos, ocean view

What about them ocean views?

Puerto Rico beach photos: Balneario La Montserrate, Luquillo

So crowded on weekends, so popular: yet, one of the cleanest, safest beaches in the entire island. My advice? Go on a weekday and enjoy its reef-protected waters, palm tree forest, and surrounding mountain views. Truly spectacular (and BLUE FLAG beach, by the way):

beach Thursday, Luquillo Beach

Clearly, I went on a weekend…!

Balneario La Montserrate, Puerto Rico beaches

Love the colorful lifeguard posts

Puerto Rico beaches, Luquillo water

got cloudy, so not the best shot of the amazing water 🙁

Puerto Rico beach photos: Playa Ultimo Trolley, San Juan

One of the windiest beaches by San Juan, perfect for bodyboarding and kite surfing. Locals refer to it as “the kite beach” as well. Lack of shade though, as the few baby palm trees are taken early in the morning. So pack plenty of sunblock!

Playa Ultimo Trolley, beach Thursday

I felt stylish that beach day 😉

Have you been to these Puerto Rico beaches? Any favorites?

Cueva Ventana Arecibo: Breathtaking Cave with a View in Puerto Rico (PHOTOS)

What place am I urging you to visit this Travel Tuesday? A gem of a cave in the northwest coast of Puerto Rico that you must visit before it gets too crowded: Cueva Ventana Arecibo!

Cueva Ventana, Arecibo, Puerto Rico

The two caves will wow you with their stalactites, stalagmites, bats and other critters that are part of this ecosystem—while the final, dramatic “window” provides panoramic views of Rio Grande de Arecibo in the adjacent valley.

See for yourself!

Cueva Ventana, unique Arecibo attraction

Cueva Ventana, Arecibo, Puerto Rico entrance

Ready to take the plunge into Cueva Ventana Puerto Rico, then…?!

How to Get to Cueva Ventana, Arecibo, Puerto Rico

Cueva Ventana is located on St # 10 in the northwestern town of Arecibo. To get there, simply take Expreso 22 from San Juan. Once in Arecibo, take Exit 75B toward Utuado.

When you see a Texaco gas station, you’ll be charged admission fee. Adults over 15 years of age pay $5; kids are free.

how to get to Cueva Ventana

secret road we took after gas station — so our local guide saved us the admission fee 😉

Past the gas station, you begin walking down the path on the left for about 10-15 minutes. Then, you’ll encounter the first cave—underneath a dramatic tree!— which is surprisingly small and quite easy to enter and exit.

entrance to Cueva Ventana

Afterward, you’ll see a clearing, at which you take a sharp right. There, you will quickly see the opening of the second cave. This is where it can get tricky!

inside first cave, how to get to Cueva Ventana Puerto Rico

Inside the first cave

There are some arrows drawn into the rock inside the second cave, pointing toward the “final window” or actual Cueva Ventana.

how to get to Cueva Ventana Arecibo

Aaaand we’re here *scary silence in the background*

Cueva Ventana Travel Tips

  • If you’ve never been inside a cave though, you might get disoriented. For this reason, I highly recommend you contact the Sierra Club Puerto Rico to book a tour or simply go with a local Couchsurfer!
  • You MUST bring some flashlights and sturdy rubber sole shoes, as the caves are dark (and sometimes slippery)!
  • Make sure you get here no later than 9 AM to beat the crowds! This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the sounds and solitude of this hidden gem.
  • Please, DO NOT use flash inside the caves. It will bother the bats and disturb their natural habitat. If you want to get a good shot of the stalactites, simply take photos of the ones close to the cave’s opening (no flash needed!).
unique Puerto Rico cave in Arecibo, Puerto Rico

Be wowed by Mother Nature!

Have you been to Cueva Ventana Arecibo? If not, would you visit?

CLICK HERE for more Cueva Ventana & Arecibo photos!

Noche de San Juan history: Beach Thursday special!

What does Noche de San Juan history has to do with Beach Thursday, some of you may ask? Well, all of it! Through a fun photo essay, I’ll describe this exciting beach festival. And while it is also celebrated in Portugal, I’ll focus on Spain and Puerto Rico today. Good way to warm up before I go to freeze my butt in Canada this Saturday! 😉

Noche de San Juan history, Portugal beach

Bonfires as seen from a beach in Medeira, Portugal by zyberchema, Flickr

Noche de San Juan history

The original Christian holiday honors John the Baptist on June 24th. However, its eve (Noche de Fuego) is an adaptation of an earlier pagan festival, which paid tribute to the sun. FIRE and water take center stage, symbolizing the cleansing of sins.

In short, Noche de San Juan is a celebration of the shortest night of the year, used as an opportunity to “start anew” (+ party). And while the summer solstice is actually closer to June 21st, the church wanted to celebrate it by St. John’s holiday (night of June 23rd). So it stuck!

Noche de San Juan history, Night of Fire

Giant Noche de San Juan bonfire in Spain by Lumiago, Flickr

Whether we’re talking about it in Spain or Puerto Rico, the origins are the same. Conquistadors got here, traditions were passed on, you know the deal. When it comes to practice, though? Somewhat different!

Noche de San Juan customs, traditions, and superstitions

Naturally, Noche de San Juan customs and traditions aren’t the same in Spain and Puerto Rico anymore. While Spaniards focus more on fire rituals, Puerto Ricans simply like to have a great beach concert and splash into the ocean. Here are some examples:

– It’s believed that as soon as the sun comes up the morning of June 24, the waters of fountains and rivers are full of special powers to cure and protect people. Additionally, whoever bathes in the dew of that night will be protected for the rest of the year (only in Spain).

Noche de San Juan history, Puerto Rico beach

The party starts early! Ocean Park beach, Puerto Rico by Amber Porter

– Going backwards (naked!) into the ocean, while looking at the moon, will give the bather special powers on Noche de San Juan (in Spain). OR you can simply jump backwards into the ocean, even if wearing a bathing suit, 7 times after midnight of June 24th for good luck (in Puerto Rico).

– Singles who look through the window of their home after midnight of June 24 will see the love of their life walk by (either Spain or Puerto Rico).

– A scary-looking ragdoll is burned by the ocean, while making a variety of petitions and promises (only in some coastal towns, Andalucia, and the Canary Islands).

Noche de San Juan customs and traditions, Canary Islands

Playa Jardín, Canary Islands by Carmen Fuentes

Noche de San Juan: modern celebrations

While the previous Noche de San Juan customs and traditions are kept by some, most youngsters simply go to the beach to party the night of June 23rd. To give you a taste of what this holiday is like nowadays in both Spain and Puerto Rico, here are some videos of the respective celebrations:

Noche de San Juan in Spain, also known as The Night of Fire:

Noche de San Juan in Puerto Rico’s capital:

I’m excited to be celebrating Noche de San Juan in Puerto Rico this year. PLUS my birthday is that same week (June 25) 😉 Mr. B and I have rented a studio by the beach, so will sure be taking great photos of the party by Ocean Park beach! Can’t wait for next month 😀

Yay for the good times and bye-bye to the gloomy days (I hope…!).

Noche de San Juan history, beach fireworks

Playa de Las Canteras, Las Palmas by JUAN RAMON RODRIGUEZ SOSA

Did you know about Noche de San Juan history? Have you celebrated it?

Puerto Rico Beach Thursday: Cueva del Indio Arecibo photos

Welcome to another edition of Beach Thursday! As I’m back to my beautiful island, this week I’m featuring one of Puerto Rico’s hidden gems: Cueva del Indio Arecibo. I had the pleasure to go to this cave, grottoes, and lovely beach yesterday, as part of a day trip to the northern coast. It was a mix of hiking, climbing, swimming, and even some Taino Indian petroglyphs! Definitely a great day under the sun 🙂

Cueva del Indio Arecibo photos, beach panorama

Gorgeous panorama from Cueva del Indio, Arecibo

How to get to Cueva del Indio Arecibo

The municipality of Arecibo is located about 80 km west of San Juan, so you must either rent a vehicle or book a day trip with a local operator in order to reach it. I was lucky enough to be going with a friend of mine and her date, who used to be an adventure tour guide. Which means?! Going off-the-beaten-path!

How to get to Cueva del Indio Arecibo map

Arecibo, Puerto Rico map by Wiki Commons

Once you reach Arecibo, Cueva del Indio is located at St 681 Km 8.0 (Carretera 681 in Spanish). GPS should be able to get you there—and you’ll know you’re at the right place as soon as you see the sign and a business called El Coayuco. There, you pay USD $2 for parking and simply follow the signs to walk toward the cave.

Cueva del Indio Arecibo photos: petroglyphs, grottoes & a beach!

The beginning of the dirt path is full of branches and even palm trees. However, it soon turns into sharp rocks, so be sure you wear sturdy walking shoes!

how to get to Cueva del Indio, Arecibo

On the left: the panorama from above and Cueva del Indio beach. To the right? Path down the petroglyphs cave, cove, and grotto

Once you reach those big rock steps, you may turn left to enjoy the beautiful lookout and even walk down to Playa Cueva del Indio (the beach). Alternatively, you may go right to take the stairs down to the petroglyphs cave and/or walk a little further to look into the beautiful grottoes, cove, and crashing Atlantic Ocean.

Cueva del Indio path, how to get there

Rock steps leading toward the cove and Atlantic Ocean

Cueva del Indio cave entrance

Stairs leading to the petroglyphs cave. Stunning! And higher than it looks…

Of course, I recommend you go both ways 😉 We went to the grottoes and petroglyphs cave first, just so we could wrap up the day by enjoying the panorama and relaxing at Playa Cueva del Indio.

photos Cueva del Indio Arecibo petroglyphs

Taino Indian petroglyphs all over the cave! It is still uncertain how old they are

Cueva del Indio ocean cove, Arecibo

Gorgeous ocean cove by Cueva del Indio cave

Extra travel tips for Cueva del Indio

– The waters can be rough! For this reason, make sure you look for the 2 mini pools (protected by the reef) once you hike down to the beach. There, you can refresh out of harm’s way.

Arecibo Beach Cueva del Indio

The waves weren’t that big yesterday, but still a gorgeous view!

How to get to Playa Cueva del Indio

One of the safe pools to bathe at Playa Cueva del Indio

For some interesting photographs, lookout for the cute zebra fish at one of the pools and the blue iguanas wandering around Playa Cueva del Indio!

Playa Cueva del Indio Arecibo photos, blue iguana

blue iguana!

For more Playa Cueva del Indio photos, check out LatinAbroad’s Facebook page.

What’s your favorite beach cove? Mine is Cueva del Indio for sure! 🙂