Day 1 was AWESOME but it’s possible that day 2 was even more so!

 

Breakfast | Panadería España

We started off our day on the right foot by stopping at this bakery on the way to the beach. We had delicious breakfast sandwiches of ham, pork shoulder and cheese and we shared some guava-filled pastries. So far, I haven’t had a single meal in Puerto Rico I didn’t like and this proved no different. I’m a big fan of guava so the sweets were a nice compliment to our heartier sandwiches.

 

Doing Good | Beach Clean-up at Piñones

We NEEDED to get to the ocean since we didn’t have any beach time the day before so we headed for Piñones Beach. Just up the hill off the sand are many Chinchorros (small roadside stands and open-air shops that sell authentic Puerto Rican snacks) so the straws, cups, glass bottles, napkins, plastic bottles, etc often get thrown or left on the sand after people are done eating. We worked on picking up as much garbage off the beach as possible, including some unique finds such as metal forks, shoes, and an acrylic fingernail. After a couple hours of cleaning up and sweating puddles into our gloves, we took a break and soaked in the large tide pools. The crystal clear water was so cool and refreshing, it was the perfect end to our eco-friendly beach trip.

 

Lunch | Chinchorros

For lunch we grabbed some “tacos”, bacalallitos, rellenos de papas and other small appetizer-like dishes for an ensemble of tastes, and also stopped for ice cold coconuts. We then drove to Luquillo Beach to stop and explore the shops and the beach. Catalina, Kelly, Jacci and Sammi went to soak up some sun on the beach while Erica, Antonio and I went shoppingggg!! An hour and $90 later we got back in our van to head to our new home for the next two days.

 

Lodging | El Hotelito Rainforest Farm

AH-MAZE-ING! This place is the bomb. It is a 100% wind and solar powered hotel that also collects rainwater to be used for showering and other plumbing. The entire building is an open-concept design and when you walk through the first floor you are greeted with a warm breeze and incredible ocean views in the distance. Being that we are up in the rainforest, the air is fresh and clean and you feel like you are in complete solitude away from the busyness of the rest of the world. There is a pool out back and numerous, very friendly dogs which, of course, means I am never leaving this place. The rooms feel like something out of a rom-com, complete with wooden shutters and a small lanai to sit on and look out into the rainforest. There are palms, ginger flowers, and heliconia in every direction you look, which completes the tropical oasis that is El Hotelito.

 

Marine Phenomenon | Kayaking Bioluminescent Bay

Do yourself a favor and google bioluminescent plankton. Ok… it wasn’t QUITE like that but it was very cool and worth the quick and fun kayak through the mangroves. The moon was almost full so we had to place a tarp over our heads to block out the moonlight in order to see the plankton. As you ran your hand through the water, the plankton activate the glow as a defense mechanism and it was magical. It was like tiny little fairies swimming through the water and splashing up on your legs. The guides were AWESOME. They pointed out star constellations and showed us images of what plankton look like and explained the phenomenon to us. They were also very professional, yet funny and personable and the process ran very smoothly. At the end, Javier taught me a little bit of salsa and it was SO fun! He also gave us suggestions for the best way to find salsa dancing on our last night. Unfortunately we could not take photos of this excursion as the equipment was guaranteed to get wet, and it is very difficult to photograph in normal conditions, so one can imagine it would be quiet impossible while trying to kayak.

Now excuse us while we fall asleep to the sounds of coquí frogs chirping and palms rustling in the breeze.

About Sam

Manini girl Sam is our travel curator and sustainable travel expert. When she isn't busy with Manini stuff, she's enjoying the mermaid life in Hawaii, taking long walks on the beach with her pup and boyfriend, scrubbing teeth, or improving her skills in graphic design.

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