Schedule random days off of work even if you don’t have anything planned yet! In August I requested a few days off for a long weekend; I wasn’t sure if I would use them or cancel it; but I just wanted them just in case. Then about 3 weeks before those days I found a decent priced flight to Puerto Rico on Kayak.com. We booked our hotel through Orbitz.com about a week before (sign up for emails to received discounts monthly).We stayed at ESJ Towers…honestly; this was the worse hotel I’ve ever stayed in. There were a few good things but the bad outweighed it. ESJ Towers is still being renovated (we woke up Saturday morning to banging and drill tools). The hotel had no vending machines and everything shut down by midnight the latest. The beds were too flat and left me with a stiff neck and sore back. On our last day, we woke up early with plans of going to a local breakfast spot then hit the beach before our afternoon flight; only to find out there was a power outage and no hot water. I was livid! After about 3 hours everything started working again; but it was too late to hit the beach; so we showered, got lunch and then headed off to the airport.
Pros of ESJ Towers: the hotel is on the strip and is close to a lot of local food spots (no money on cabs), beach access from the hotel, free hot breakfast in the morning and a free drink everyday, and right next door to the El San Juan Casino and Club Brava (popular nightclub).
I’m a big foodie, so my favorite part of the trip was the rich taste in food and drinks. Saturday afternoon we stayed in La Isla Verde, walked down the strip and at at Pizza City. Despite the name, they serve more than just pizza. I ordered the fried chicken, rice and beans and a side salad for $9.95 and those beans were the best Spanish beans that I’ve ever had. Their food was really good and they also had great customer service.
Late Sunday morning we went to brunch at La Mala Vida in Old San Juan (I researched the place prior to taking the trip). This brunch was absolutely-amazingly-delicious and is worth so much more than they charge. I ordered French toast with strawberries and berries, which came with a side of bacon, turkey and cheese omelet, home fries and unlimited mimosas for $23.99. The food was just so fresh, well seasoned and made with love.
We walked around the beautiful Old San Juan, observing the old roads and bright colored buildings. I loved seeing the locals, and buying tacos and empanadas from the local food trucks. As you walk further down by the water you are able to see the cruise ships dock and the tour boat to the Bacardi factory. Across the street is Senor Frogs, and we went there for more drinks and guac and chips.
Overall the trip was good and very relaxing. I literally just ate, drank, slept and soaked up some sun the whole trip. Puerto Rico is a great trip for a short getaway!
Tips: 1. Always give yourself enough time to research your hotel (or wherever you are staying) prior to booking. If we would have taken the time out to do a little bit more research we would have seen the bad reviews for this place and also know that renovation was still going on. Lesson learned! 2. Stay at a hotel/Airbnb with beach access. 3. Stay close to the strip (walking distance to clubs, casinos, restaurants).
Dates: December 4th to December 7th
Hotel: ESJ Towers- La Isla Verde, San Juan, PR $366
Flight: $258 (From JFK)