My First Trip in the Age of COVID
Updated: Mar 4, 2021
From New York to Isla Verde Puerto Rico for a much needed winter break is the best medicine.
My initial reaction to my interest in traveling to Puerto Rico for a month away from the New York City cold was one of trepidation and worry. I read posts from my Facebook groups about Puerto Rico travel to gauge the general mood of people who have traveled or want to travel to the Island.
Overall the general mood was positive. Simply arrive with your negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival, fill out your declaration form before you leave the airport and follow the health protocols and curfew mandates. As of February 5th visitors must follow all COVID-19 health requirements while in Puerto Rico. Comprehensive information and Puerto Rico can be seen by clicking this link:
Travel Guidelines | Discover Puerto Rico
Who cares about nightlife at this point. There are plenty of in-house activities that make bars and clubs seem insignificant. This is really a teachable moment.
This all seems easy enough. During out first two nights on the island business owners were quite strict about following curfew; even 24 hour stores. As one cashier at a 24 hour mart stated affirmatively "We close at 11:00". Our first night we miscalculated the curfew time and restaurant kitchens were packing up so that staff can be home by 11:00. As a result, we ended up getting fish sandwiches and French fries at a local Burger King. A welcome sacrifice for a month worth of vitamin D.
Rincon: Surfer Dudes and Eco Chicness
I have heard rumblings on travel media about how fabulous and laid back the western part of the island compared to glitzy San Juan. So of course I had to see what all the hoopla was about and take a road trip to Puerto Rico's surfer haven; Rincon. Western Puerto Rico has a variety of beautiful spots to find that perfect sandy beach but Rincon popped up on travel blogs the most.
Now Puerto Rico has a variety of spots that appeal to the surfer crowd. However, Rincon added an element of eco-friendly, chic, funky vibe that appeals to the organic, health conscious, party loving, hipster crowd that can transform any once sleepy town into an expat haven in 20 years. I admit I love the creature comforts of having access to yoga studios, organic smoothies, coffee shops, and high speed WIFI. However, local food, vibes, traditions, and language is authentic living.
The conflict is real.
Culebra: A Worthwhile Daytrip
My plan at the beginning of this trip was to visit either Vieques or Culebra by ferry...NOT! Ferry service at this time was sketchy at best. Residents of these islands get priority for seats and even if you are able to bag tickets by booking online waaaaay in advance, getting an actual seat was iffy.
According to my sources one would have to arrive at dawn to claim your spot. Additionally, there are scalpers at the marina up-charging the price for tourists and non-residents. Flights to this tiny stretch was expensive and booked. We opted for the no-stress option which is to book a day trip with a tour company.
I am not a fan of booze cruises but I have to admit. The tour company we booked with arranged a pretty excellent day and at the last minute. Most last minute tours where booked but we found a spot with this company. Here's their link:
East Island Excursions ¡Welcome to Paradise! - Puerto Rico (eastislandpr.com)
Is Culebra Instagram Worthy? Should You Believe the Hype?
Flamenco Beach in Culebra is considered one of most beautiful beaches in the world. It's clear, blue, gentle, romantic, and remote. All the qualities beach lovers generally look for. If Puerto Rico is in your travel plans make time for this place either as a weekend getaway or 6 hour day trip.