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Eat Well, Travel Often: Lessons To Live By

San Juan, Puerto Rico

It's the middle of winter and I live in New England. Although it has been generally mild, the time after the Holidays can feel especially hard. I find myself dreaming of warmer weather and sunshine. I get the travel itch and start looking for ways to plan my next travel escapade.

© 2023 Vivian Báez

My favorite place to visit is my where I feel completely rooted, the island of Puerto Rico. It is the birthplace of my parents, grandparents and ancestors. It is where I lived when I was a little girl. It is truly a remarkable and beautiful place. It is paradise. And we often miss the opportunity to explore its amazing wonders. When I go back home, I understand who I am. That sense of self often gets lost when I'm home in the states. I love New England, it has been home to me since 1986, but sometimes it really helps to connect with your roots.

I want people to see just how truly special is my Puerto Rico. In this series of Eat Well, Travel Often, I will share with you different spots in Puerto Rico that I have visited. I've been back 3 times in the last two years. I am blessed and spoiled.

If you've never been to Puerto Rico, one of the top destinations for tourists is el El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, which is a San Juan National Site. "The Castillo San Felipe del Morro, or El Morro, was the second fort built on the islet of what is now Old San Juan and Puerta de Tierra. El Morro's construction commenced in 1539 and finished in 1790; during those 250 years, El Morro went from a promontory mounted with a cannon to a six-level fortress designed to unnerve attackers approaching from the sea." ( Source: Discover Puerto Rico.) When you visit, be certain to pack a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and water. It does get very hot. The day I visited I wore gray shorts. I sweat right through them. It looked like I had peed right through my pants. Wear clothing that is sweat proof and will help you stay cool. There's a gift shop on site where you can buy postcards and other trinkets.

If you have children, you can purchase kite's to fly outside of el Morro. If visiting el Morro doesn't sound like your thing, el Morro is in Old San Juan. Wander around the colorful streets of this 16th-century city, marvel at the brightly-hued buildings. Stop and get a treat, like a piragua, a Puerto Rican shaved ice dessert. You could easily spend an entire day in San Juan.

© 2023 Vivian Báez

I usually travel with my daughter and for me it is important to share these experiences with her. I'd like her to understand her roots as well. These trips offered me the opportunity to share with her the importance of our language, our traditions, our food. A part of her is also Puerto Rican and I hope someday she will love this place as much as I do.

Historic San Juan

© 2023 Vivian Báez

You can schedule a walking tour of San Juan and get to see historic buildings and understand the architecture a little better. You will notice that San Juan's cobblestone roads and some of the bricks are blue. The bricks were brought over on ships and get their characteristic blue color from age. My tour guide also told us that some people have attempted to steal some of these bricks and have been caught in at the airport. Attempting to steal one of these Adoquines comes with a hefty fine. Again, you will need a good pair of walking shoes and lots of water to stay hydrated. There are stairs to climb but beautiful sites to see. I went on this tour with my daughter. While it wasn't her preferred activity, she was able to muster through and she was able to enjoy a piragua and pastelillo, a meat filled hand pie or empanada, we call them empanadillas in the South of the island,along the way.

Did you Know?

After all of your sightseeing in San Juan, you may feel a little famished and perhaps a bit parched. Did you know that the Piña Colada was invented in Puerto Rico. While there is controversy as to who the original creator was, we are definitely proud of this drink.

It is said that it was first served at Barrachina in 1963. Barrachina is a bit hard to find, there aren't any neon lights pointed to it. I visited during the day and it was not too busy. I opted for a virgin version of the refreshment and it was yummy.

There are also local beverages to enjoy as well. I like a good Cola Champagne or a Cocorico with my empanadilla. These are sweet carbonated drinks best served ice cold. Try one during your visit.

I will share will you more spots in Puerto Rico to visit on my next Travel Blog post. If you'd like to see the items I travel with. Please find a list below. I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

  1. Blue Lizard Sunscreen SPF 50: Reef Safe and great for kids, spray or lotion

  2. Blue Lizard Sunscreen Stick: Great for ears, noses, scalps, and back of the neck.

  3. Coolibar Women's Ruche Pants: Won't sweat though! Trust me, I learned my lesson.

  4. Coolibar Reversible Scart UPF 50: This can be dress an outfit up and keep your skin protected. Wear it with some short, a white T-shirt and Throw on Some gold hoops.

  5. Skechers on the Go Sport Sandal: Keep your feel cool and comfy




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