Anna

Archive for the ‘San Francisco’ Category

We know wine

In Anna, San Francisco on May 21, 2010 at 11:29 am

iPhone: Bin 38

My local watering hole isn’t as vibrant as Kimberly’s tented Peruvian fête, but we did what the Bay does best: partied with a fantastic wine selection.

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Ceiba

In Anna, San Francisco on May 20, 2010 at 12:01 am

Ceiba tree

While Kimberly was admiring Ceiba’s cocktails, I was in Puerto Rico admiring its namesake. I’d like to say I won, but I’m not so sure…pisco sours on fire are pretty impressive.

Adios Puerto Rico

In Anna, San Francisco on May 19, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Vieques

The sky completely opened up just as we arrived at the ferry terminal to head back to the main island on Monday. The weather forecast predicted rain all week in Puerto Rico, which is fine by me now that I’m back in the States.

What a phenomenal trip. It’s always so hard to find a good travel buddy and Rachel and I travel together effortlessly (we went to London, Hungary and Croatia a few years ago and had a blast). After this last trip, we decided that we’re not going to wait another three years for our next international trip. Instead, we’re going to keep an eye out for travel deals and go abroad once a year. We’ll let the price determine our destination.

For 3/18

In Anna, San Francisco on May 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Ceiba Tree

This ceiba tree is 375 years old and the second oldest in the Caribbean. We stopped to check it out before our snorkeling trip to Mosquito Pier. I wish that this photo conveyed how monstrous this tree really is. Rachel stood next to the base and was less than half the height of the right root.

According to Abie, ceiba trees were used to make canoes because its wood is soft and pliant. You can’t really see it in this photo, but the ceiba has spikes on the tops of its branches for protection. Nature is so amazing.

For 3/17

In Anna, San Francisco on May 19, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Hucares Playa

Today was another beach-filled day. Rachel and I have had the best luck this trip. We called Abe’s* to schedule a snorkeling tour, but had just missed the 9:30 am group tour. Amazing man that he is, he called his son in to take us on our own private snorkel trip and didn’t even charge us extra!

Having never snorkeled before, Abe Jr. (“Abie”) took us to Mosquito Pier for calmer waters. As soon as he handed us our masks and fins, we were off. It was only when my sister tapped me did I realize that Abie was still standing on the shore, waiting for us. Apparently, he had expected us to test the waters before giving us additional instructions. Guess that wasn’t necessary! It wasn’t long before he took us to the deeper waters where the more advanced snorkelers go in order to check out bigger marine life.

Snorkeling was…in a word: unreal. It’s an incredible and humbling experience to come face-to-face with creatures you only see behind the glass walls of an aquarium.

*Ask anyone in Esperanza and they will tell you that Abe is the man to go to for Bio Bay tours and snorkel trips. He is amazing. Seriously, don’t even bother going to anyone else.

For 3/16

In Anna, San Francisco on May 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Naguabo Playa

Disclaimer: This is easily my longest post to date. But I have so many wonderful things to share about visiting Vieques, I couldn’t leave anything out! If anyone wants additional tips about visiting the island, feel free to shoot me a message.

After a few days in San Juan, Rachel and I got a bit bored and decided to explore other parts of Puerto Rico. We rented a car and drove around the Eastern coast, hitting up the boardwalk and beaches in Naguabo before heading down to Hucares to catch a glimpse of Cayo Santiago (a.k.a. Monkey Island). Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to rent kayaks and check out the island at a closer range because we had to catch the afternoon ferry from Fajardo to Vieques.

Speaking of Vieques: Lindsay, you were totally right – it’s amazing! I’m so glad we made the trip over. It was definitely the highlight of our vacation.

Our sojourn to Vieques was kind of an impromptu side trip, but thankfully we had no trouble renting a car and catching the ferry. For those planning on traveling to Vieques, I highly recommend renting a car to get to Fajardo (we used Charlie Car Rental in Condado and they were awesome), parking your car in one of the secure parking lots near the ferry terminal (parking is only $5/day), and taking a passenger ferry to Vieques (the chances of getting your rental car on the cargo ferry is slim to none, as they reserve the few spots for residents).

As soon as you get to the island, they have vans (which they call “public buses”) that shuttle to Esperanza for just $3/person. Esperanza is the place to be in Vieques. It’s a pretty small town, but it’s central to all of the best beaches and is near Mosquito Bay (a.k.a. Bio Bay – the bioluminescent bay which is an absolute must-see for anyone traveling to Puerto Rico). Since Esperanza is tiny, lodging options are limited, so you’ll want to book your accommodations in advance if traveling during the tourist season. Thankfully, Rachel and I arrived at the tail end of the tourist season, so we were able to find an affordable room for the night without a reservation.

Before our Bio Bay tour, I demanded we make a margarita stop. That turned out to be a very questionable decision. You see, I have a tendency to lose things when I imbibe. And any one of my friends can tell you that I’m a bit of a lightweight. So after one very strong margarita, I was already a bit tipsy. We had some time to kill before our tour, so I decided to take off my flip flops and stroll along the beach. Well, when we got back to the dock, I realized my flip flops were gone. Apparently, the tide had come in during our walk and washed my shoes into the Atlantic… The only shoes I had brought with me to Vieques.

When I was finally able to stop laughing (you have to admit, the situation was a bit ridiculous), I walked over to a souvenir shop and bought the most horrendous pair of shoes imaginable. Hey, I was desperate and options were very very limited. I walked back to the beach only to find my sister missing this time. After a few minutes of wandering, a couple of guys pointed to the street and sure enough, there was my sister booking it down the street towards me. Apparently, while I was shoe shopping, she spotted my flip flops floating in the water and (amazing sister that she is) stripped down to her swimsuit and waded into the water after them!

Our night only got better with the Bio Bay tour. We kayaked for a couple of hours and even swam in the bay, which was incredibly creepy (glowing water in the pitch black night has a very sci-fi/horror film feel to it). It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. And the sky that night was unbelievable. I have never seen a sky so clear and endless. It was truly a scene straight out of the Lion King. Sadly, we weren’t able to get any photos of the glowing water or the unforgettable night sky. Trust me, we tried. I even brought Rachel’s camera out on the kayak with us, which was especially frightening when Rachel nearly capsized us!

For 3/15

In Anna, San Francisco on May 19, 2010 at 3:23 am

Old San Juan

Rachel spotted this fat little guy while we were wandering the cobbled streets of Old San Juan. We didn’t do much today, as the forecast predicted 100% chance of thunderstorms. Well, that wasn’t really the case. We’re learning very quickly that weather forecasts in Puerto Rico are completely unreliable and useless.

For 3/14

In Anna, San Francisco on May 19, 2010 at 3:13 am

Raíces Fountain

I’m not sure if it was the salty ocean air or the fact that we hadn’t really slept in 48 hours, but we crashed hard last night. I can’t even begin to express how restorative sleeping in feels. I wish I were capable of doing it more often.

In keeping with our R&R attitude, Rachel and I had a lazy day on the beach. Luckily, we’re staying only a couple of blocks from one of the best beaches in San Juan. The water is so warm and blue, it’s kind of surreal. We spent all of our time relaxing in the water – exactly how you imagine a Caribbean vacation to be.

We also went back to Old San Juan this afternoon to finish exploring its historical sites. The fountain pictured about is the Raíces Fountain. It represents all of the different cultural heritages that make up Puerto Rico and is located just outside of the old fortress wall that protects San Juan.

For 3/13

In Anna, San Francisco on May 19, 2010 at 3:02 am

Condado

Hello! I’m finally back from the Caribbean and, as promised, I’m uploading my posts for the past week.

As soon as we landed in Puerto Rico, Rachel and I wandered through the resort areas of Ocean Park and Condado, under the misapprehension that we could hoof our way to Old San Juan. After we had walked for what felt like forever, I took over map navigation duties and realized that we were only half way to our destination. Tired, jetlagged and running on a few hours of sleep, I put my foot down and hailed a cab. FYI – Lots of things in San Juan are cheap. Cabs are not one of them.

There’s a lot of historical charm to Old San Juan, but you can pretty much explore all of the good parts within a day. The rest is sadly made up of souvenir shops and endless Wendy’s and Subway franchises. I was exhausted, so we didn’t check out all of the sites our first night. Instead, I declared defeat and ended the evening with dessert* at Toro Salao before catching the bus back to Ocean Park.

*For you foodies out there: dessert was churros smothered in dark chocolate hot sauce with cookies & cream ice cream. Yum.

Healthy start

In Anna, San Francisco on May 12, 2010 at 11:16 am

Junk food

I’m not exactly known for my healthy eating habits. But I am trying. To prove it, I’m threw out my junk food today.

On another note, I’m off to Puerto Rico tonight with Rachel! According to the website, we have internet access at our B&B, but who knows how (un)reliable the connection may be. So just as a heads up, I may not be posting for a week. I will, as always, be taking photos, but will upload everything when I get back to SF. Can’t wait to come back tanned and relaxed!