Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Kioskos de Luquillo

One thing I really wanted to do in Puerto Rico was visit the Luquillo food stalls. After driving through El Yunque - the islands majestic rainforest, we headed into Luquillo to an absolutely packed and bumping scene. Where the loudest subwoofers hollered we looked to find parking amongst scattered trash and the uneven, dusty lots between Luquillo Beach (is everyone on the island here?) and the kiosks. This beach is everything to locals and watersports enthusiasts alike. Family party tents and jet skis abound! 
We strolled up and down the stalls with a bit of indecision before winding up at A Fuego. [family photographs with the fire hats might make a little more sense now!] The fire truck kept the boys extra entertained while we had quite an amazing lunch. I kicked things off with a Luquillo Sunset [Club Caribe Rum, Passionfruit, Orange Juice, Pineapple + Grenadine] before tucking into a Fresh Caribbean Lobster. Selected from the tank, steamed until tender and drenched in a garlic and herb butter alongside traditional rice + beans. This was so so delicious! 

The open air Kioskos de Luquillo are casual, fun and authentically Puerto Rican, I am so happy we paid them a visit. 

I found the Mojito Lab Kiosko! Guanabana fruit is my go to mojito flavor. It's tropical, creamy, refreshing and pairs perfectly with rum and mint. We meandered to the playa here for a stroll and then drove over to a different local beachside neighborhood, Vilomar, to check out The Brass Cactus for a beer or two. Super cool bar with all kinds of vintage signage. Worth it!

Monday, June 27, 2022

Fajardo Dinnertime Eats

May I recommend the red snapper at Sal + Pimienta By The Sea. We ate here on our first night and were replete with delicious seafood meals after a fun but long road trip from the west coast

Like I mentioned since we were staying at the well known El Conquistador Resort via airbnb we were not allowed to access their restaurants. It felt like a bummer but in the end it made us get out and explore what truly was a sleepy town at night. We felt a little off at times; there isn't a ton going on in Fajardo. Everything closes pretty early and there is not a main section of town. Sal + Pimienta's + La Estacion are on the main road but there's no foot traffic, no sidewalks, no street lights, nothing is a destination except the restaurants themselves I suppose.

La Estacion is apparently sort of famous! Housed in an abandoned Esso gas station serving Nuyorican BBQ; Fodor's and Conde Nast have it on best-of-lists for not only Puerto Rico but the Caribbean as a whole. Bob found it in a whim, it sits just down the road from La Conquistadors pearly, exclusive gates. I sipped a juicy Guanabana mojito, we shared tangy Caribbean Chicken Wings and a terrific BBQ tray.

On our last night in town we decided to give Las Croabas neighborhood another go. This is what you might consider the touristy area in and around Seven Seas Beach. We explored via car a couple different days for lunch and it was creepy quiet; the only restaurant open was Costa Mia right at Seven Seas. (We ate here twice for lunch.) A lot of restaurants have odd hours, close for 2 days in a row, or simply did not exist and you can't trust google for anything factual. Is this Fajardo still emerging from a pandemic? A quiet time of year? Business as usual?

Enter El Pescator. A charming little seafood enclave we stumbled upon for dinner on the small circular strip surrounding Parque Pasvio Las Croabas. Camden slept in the stroller. Ryder was well rested and could hang. They serve martinis in frosted sea blue glasses + bright, fresh fish dishes with rice + salads. We were delighted.

Our 6 month old! Kind as could be with long brown curls, shiny blue eyes, taking everything in and enjoying the world around him!

A sweet ending to an enlightened stay in a unique part of Puerto Rico!

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Las Casitas

Our Airbnb in Fajardo was at Las Casitas Village in El Conquistador Resort. Las Casitas are situated at the highest point of a scenic 300 foot hill on gorgeous grounds with bubbling fountains, flowering trees and perfectly manicured hedges. 

El Conquistador is right next door but super exclusive, to the point that they will not allow Airbnb guests on hotel property. Thankfully, we were allowed to use the gorgeous pools at Las Casitas Village, right outside our condo door! We spent some time at the breathtaking infinity pool until its usage came into question on our last planned pool day and we got kicked out!! This is a pool on actual Las Casitas property, we did not have to sneak in anywhere. But the resort still has a "rule" that you can't use it. (They were checking for wristbands, apparently). So funny and I guess lucky that we had been using it prior. Next thing you know we had committed the biggest offense!! The regular pool + hot tubs we were allowed to use were still fantastic, sparkling clean and beautifully appointed.  

It is such a strange thing the resort has against Airbnb guests, creating purposeful rules to use against them when you are renting legally from an owner. Completely legal. They don't even want your business at their restaurants! It's a little sour if you ask me! We had a really nice time but wouldn't go rushing back or give my ringing endorsement to stay here. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Fajardo Beaches | Puerto Rico

Playa Escondita makes a stay in Fajardo so worth it!

Fajardo is for the locals. We hung with them, we got to know them + their stories when we immersed ourselves in the scene at Playa Seven Seas. Speaking of stories, I had posted this picture on my insta-stories with the update: drinking.rum.punch.pouches. As one does.

Seven Seas is a terrific beach for the little ones offering a sandy inlet with calm shallow waters and the opportunity for a casual beach walk. On the weekends everyone is here to party so prepare for crowds!

On the contrary, the hidden Playa Escondida is reached by a mile or so hike through a heavily wooded area. It is the same general parking area as Seven Seas but on the hike you've gone around enough outcroppings to wind up at a completely different beach. 
And it is s t u n n i n g.

Along the same hiking path there is a right that takes you to Playa Colorรก. (We did not go to.) We did the crowded party scene at Seven Seas one day and Escondida was a separate full day. 

Behold the serenity! I give the boys a lot of credit for loving an adventure and making our journey-of-a-day on a deserted beach simply incredible.