Reflections on 2018 and Looking Forward to 2019

Reflections on 2018 and Looking Forward to 2019

Cliched it might be but, it didn’t feel right posting on New Year’s Eve without some thoughts on the past year and maybe some resolutions for next year. It feels like a nice way to bookend those 12 months, to look back with some reflections on 2018.

 

2018 was tough in many ways in the British Virgin Islands. The start of the year was still muddled after Hurricane Irma. Not much was open, and life in the islands was still pretty rough. Friends and colleagues were away following the storm and some, sadly, would never return. Slowly life returned to some sort of normal, and unexpectedly, one of the best things about 2018 was the way that it blossomed during the year. As the Territory continued to recover, and we started to see progress being made! It turned out to be surprisingly positive and enlightening, despite the obvious challenges.

 

2018 saw us taking on one of our biggest travel adventures to date, with three weeks in South East Asia and time spent in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. I’m forever grateful to my adventurous parents for picking Sri Lanka as the destination for their holiday and, in turn, our family holiday. The perfect balance of family time, catching up with friends in far-off places, seeing my sister and where she’s living, and adventuring with the husband. Some truly unforgettable travel experiences.

 

Reflections on 2018 - Sri Lanka

Reflections on 2018 - Thailand

 

In May I got to go back to Puerto Rico for the first time since Hurricane Maria. A bittersweet trip with many of my favourites sadly closed, but new favourites to be made! A wonderful birthday trip with opportunity to relax, wander, explore and eat.

 

Reflections on 2018 - Puerto Rico

 

I tried to do as much as possible in the BVI this year, as many islands as I could visit! Every boat trip I could fit in. Resorts and restaurants as they re-opened, I was there! I made new friends and worked to promote as many BVI businesses as I could. Something I plan to continue in 2019.

 

Reflections on 2018 - BVI

 

Now the tourism season is in full swing, the cruise ships are back and we’ve never been so happy to see so many boats on the water and new faces in the bars and restaurants.

 

Next year I am planning more adventures to look forward to, and bucket list items to tick off. I’m determined to visit at least two brand new destinations, starting with Morocco in May.

 

I plan on saying ‘yes’ to as much as possible, even things that terrify me! I’m hoping that 2019 brings more time on the water, more new experiences and more opportunity to learn. I want to do more, see more and learn more skills.

 

I’m excited to wake up tomorrow to a brand new year. What are your goals for 2019?

 

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Gift Guide for the Travelling Girl

Gift Guide for the Travelling Girl

Is it really that time of year already…?! Can I hear the distant sound of jingle bells and Christmas carols? Almost…! And I’m getting an early-ish start on my Christmas shopping this year! (I say this every year but, this time I really mean it

 

I have a series of gift guides planned for you guys and I will cover all my girls (the foodie, the girlboss, the homebody, the beauty addicts and the girls like me, with a serious case of wanderlust! There will be one for him and even some stocking stuffers, if we’re not completely shopped out by that point!) These will be interspersed with the usual sunny Caribbean content. We will cover a whole range of price points with some save and some splurge items – I got you ladies, feel free to leave this browser open for your boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, room mate, friends or parents as a not so subtle hint…  

 

So, first up to bat are my travelling girls and I LOVED shopping for this one (who am I kidding? I loved shopping for all of them) – as always, I would never recommend anything that I wouldn’t buy myself and boy did I have to stop myself from buying all of these little treats… I still might, let’s be honest! 

So what have I got for you? 

GIFT GUIDE FOR THE TRAVELLING GIRL

The Gift Guide for the Travelling Girl - Show her that you care with thoughtful gift suggestions at a variety of price points, that are sure to make her smile!

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Packing Bags | Retro Silver Spinner Case | Facial Spray | Clarity Clutch | Tech Envelope | Always Take the Scenic Route Travel Journal | Leather World Travel Journal | Bose Headphones | Leather Luggage Tags | Latitude and Longitude Cuff Bracelet | Lonely Planet’s Ultimate TravelCarry-on Cocktail Kit | Baggage Tag Charm Necklace | Scratch Map | Mini Cross Body Bag

:: Kate Spade Packing Bags – 

You guys know that I am obsessed with organization when it comes to packing. I am all about the packing bags and the packing cubes and believe that they are fundamental in efficient packing and easy travelling. The travelling girl in your life will love these chic and simple black and cream ones from Kate Spade. 

 

:: Retro Silver Spinner Case – 

Good luggage is essential for fun travel – nothing worse than a busted wheel or a broken lock when you are miles away from home. These gorgeous retro cases look as sturdy as they do stylish and are definitely on my wish list! (Comes in six different colours too!)

 

:: Facial Spray – 

Long haul travel can be tough on your skin – I’ve been loving these facial sprays from Mario Badescu which really help to revive and refresh your skin when it’s feeling dry after all that time in the air-con. Just a little gift to show her that you care, which will surely be appreciated! 

 

:: Clarity Clutch – 

Because those little ziplock bags at the airport are a horrible use of single-use plastic and these beautiful leather-trimmed TSA compliant clear clutch bags are a much chicer alternative. Keep your jewelry and your liquids safe with these Clarity Clutches from Truffle. 

 

:: Tech Envelope – 

More stylish storage with this Tech Envelope from Mark & Graham to keep all your cables and devices safe and organized. I have been using my blush leather Tech Envelope for years, but I have my eye on this white and tan option now… These can also be monogrammed for that extra personal touch.

 

:: Travel Journal –

Every travelling girl needs a journal to record her adventures. I’ve given you two gorgeous options at very different price points. A colorful and practical Erin Condren planner (with packing lists and space for your itinerary details), or a luxe leather journal from Mark & Graham (with illustrated maps). Either would make a glorious gift for the girl in your life with itchy feet. 

 

:: Noise Cancelling Headphones – 

The biggest splurge gift on my list – she’ll definitely be travelling in comfort with these gorgeous noise-cancelling headphones from Bose. Truly the mark of a serious traveller, you need these in your life once you start racking up the air miles (hint, hint husband).

 

:: Leather Luggage Tags – 

What’s the point of having that gorgeous new suitcase if it’s just going to get lost. Put your contact details on these luscious leather tags so that everyone knows who that lovely luggage belongs to. They’re tan, to match the suitcase – you’re welcome! 

 

:: LatandLo Cuff Bracelet – 

Another cheeky splurge, these latitude and longitude bracelets come in 6 different metal options, ranging from $89 – $1,050 depending on whether you choose gold-filled or solid gold. I love the gold-filled finish. Pick a location that your travelling girl would love – will she want a reminder of home or your favourite travel adventure location? 

:: LONELY PLANET ULTIMATE TRAVEL – 
How better to pique her travel interest and get her excited about all the adventures than the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel Guide. 500 of the best destinations around the globe, ranked in this incredible book full of beautiful photographs. Describing itself as the ‘definitive wish list of the best places to visit on earth’ this stunning coffee table book is sure to inspire her travel dreams.   

 

:: Carry-on Cocktail – 

The perfect little gift to make her smile – these carry-on cocktail kits are TSA compliant and come in various classic cocktail options. I’ve picked the champagne cocktail but whether your travelling girl likes a Mary or drinks a Mule, there’s something for everyone. (BVI friends – these have been spotted at House BVI). 

 

:: Baggage Tag Charm Necklace – 

I love these simple travel charms and, with 340 different locations from around the World to choose from, there is bound to be one with significance for your travelling girl. They even have one for teeny, tiny Virgin Gorda airport which is mere footsteps from my house. What an adorable little keepsake of her favourite journeys and adventures.  

 

:: Scratch Map

The ultimate reminder of all those globe-trotting travels is surely the Scratch Map – a beautifully simple concept and a wonderfully visual way to record and remember your travel experiences. They come in a couple of different colour options but I love this simple gold and white colour way which would sit tastefully in any home. 

 

:: Mini Cross-body Bag – 

A cross-body bag is the ideal handbag when you’re on the go – hands-free but nice and close to you. This buttery-soft leather cross-body is made by the Cambridge Satchel Company – one of my favourite British brands for a well-made bag (I already have their convertible Cloud Bag in red). Just big enough for your phone, passport, room key and some cash, the Mini Tassel Bag makes a lovely travel companion that will also slide easily into your carry-on or beach bag.


So there we have it – just a few suggestions for some tempting treats. Do you have anyone to buy for that would appreciate a couple of these pressie ideas? I’m certainly hoping to find a couple under my Christmas tree!  

Need even more inspiration? Find my travel essentials post here, which features all of my favourite travelling accessories – many of which would also make for gorgeous gifts!

Stay tuned for the rest of the gift guides which will be coming soon!

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How to travel with only your carry-on

How to travel with only your carry-on

I love traveling and I will seize the opportunity to travel every chance I get! Because I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit, I like to think that I am starting to get quite good at it. One of my favourite travel talents is that I am now something of a packing ninja. So much so that I have two long (3+ weeks) multi-destination trips under my belt, across South-East Asia and a road-trip around California, armed only with my carry-on… How did I manage that? Read on for my packing ninja top tips!

 

Many people don’t believe that it’s really possible but there are so many benefits of only traveling with hand luggage. For us, it was necessitated by some extremely tight connections – any checked luggage simply would not have made it with us to Los Angeles (one of our connections was only 45 minutes! I like to live life on the edge…) But whether it’s ease of transportation or just less hassle and waiting around at the airport, whatever it is that motivates you to try traveling with carry-on just go for it and embrace the simplicity! 

HOW TO TRAVEL WITH ONLY YOUR CARRY-ON

:: Lists – 

This style of packing only really works if you’re super organized. Because of your smaller luggage space you can’t just throw everything in and hope for the best. Lists will be your best friend. 

Think carefully about the items you want to take and how well they pair together. You’re going to want your shoes (3 pairs max – one pair trainers, one pair flip flops and one pair heels or smarter sandals) and handbag(s) to go with as many different outfits as possible, for example. Curate your travel wardrobe carefully. Think about items that can be layered, mixed and matched, worn more than once. Include versatile items that can do double duty – scarves, sarongs and kimonos are great for this.

Write a list of everything that you want to pack and then edit it down. This will better help you visualize exactly which outfits to bring. 

Remember also that you’re probably going to find a few super cute items while you’re on your travels which are always a lovely souvenir and also a chance to switch things up a bit if you’re tired of the things that you brought with you. 

 

:: Wear your bulkiest items on the flight – 

I like to travel in super comfortable athletic wear, which is practical for two reasons. Firstly, as already mentioned, it is super comfortable which is exactly what you need for a long flight. Secondly, they are usually the bulkiest items that I am taking, my trainers, my sweatshirt, my jacket (if I’m taking one), my big scarf. By wearing these instead of packing them all it saves some serious packing real estate in my luggage. 

 

:: Luggage – 

Choose your luggage carefully. I like to use a structured cabin-sized wheelie case and then a duffel bag. The case is my hand-luggage and then the duffel is my personal item. My little handbag will then go inside the duffel when we board the flight. (Bonus: the duffel bag doubles up as an excellent large day bag/beach bag once I reach my destination.)

This system works for me because I can rest the duffel bag on my wheeled suitcase and I don’t have to carry it everywhere. To make this even easier I use my super dorky, but infinitely practical, bag bungee. (Note: this might look like it came straight out of an infomercial or an irritating sponsored post on Instagram, but people actually come up to me in airports and ask where I got it from, it really is useful!

Always research your airlines luggage policy to ensure that your carry-on will comply and that you won’t be forced to check-it at the gate (totally defeating the point of the whole exercise!)

 

Traveling with only your carry-on. The Barefoot Angel shares her 7 golden rules to help minimize your luggage and maximize your travel experience.

 

:: Packing Cubes – 

I’m only going to say this once – you need to invest in some packing cubes, or use gallon ziplock bags as an alternative. I am a packing cube convert (and I will try to convert everyone else!) I now cannot travel without packing cubes. My favourites are these ones because they are super durable, and these ones because they have a  cute cactus print. Not only do they help save a ton of space when you compress down all your clothes, but if you’re super organized when you pack them they mean that it is really easy to find whatever you need without tearing your bags apart at every destination.

I use one cube for active wear and casual day-wear, one for dressier items, one for underwear and swimwear, one for toiletries (more on that later), one for dirty laundry and one for tech items. When I’m looking for something I just grab that cube and leave everything else neatly in it’s place. It’s life changing. 

I also have little bags for jewelry and prescription meds – it’s like a Russian doll for bags inside my case… 

 

:: Roll – don’t fold – 

Speaking of packing, make sure that you are rolling your clothes instead of folding them. I am sure that you are aware of this already but rolling your clothes reduces the space that they take up as well as minimizing wrinkles – win, win! 

 

Traveling with only your carry-on. The Barefoot Angel shares her 7 golden rules to help minimize your luggage and maximize your travel experience.

:: Toiletries – 

Just don’t take ‘em! I hate traveling with toiletries, apart from the fact that they take up a huge amount of space, I also then worry about bag explosions. I try to take as few as possible with me. This is especially important when you are traveling with hand luggage since (a) you have limited space and (b) all your liquids need to go through security separately in their own clear bag. I carry a few travel-sized mini essentials (toothpaste, moisturizer, sunscreen, perfume, face wipes etc.) along with my day-to-day make up (7 items) and then I rely on the fact that either my hotel will provide the necessities (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion) or that I can pick them up when I reach my destination. 

Note: I carry all of my travel toiletries in my smallest clear packing cube and have never (touch wood) had any trouble taking them through security. But, for that one TSA agent that I will likely one day cross paths with, I make sure that all my liquids will fit inside one of their baggies should they need me to. 

 

:: Minimize your electronics and tech gear – 

I am probably still guilty of taking more tech gear than I need but I am getting better. One of the things that has saved me on recent trips is my travel charger (I have it in white) – with multiple usb charging ports it enables me to charge all my devices on the one interchangeable plug. 

Dual-head charging cables are also really useful – this one charges my iPhone, my kindle and my Apeman underwater camera

Lastly, my kindle is one of my favourite travel companions enabling me to take my whole library with me, while taking up hardly any space! 

 

Traveling with only your carry-on. The Barefoot Angel shares her 7 golden rules to help minimize your luggage and maximize your travel experience.

 

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Travel anywhere with only your carry-on with a comprehensive packing guide from The Barefoot Angel

Duffel BagBag Bungee | Clear Packing Cubes | Cactus Packing Cubes | Kindle | Travel Charger | Apeman Camera | Dual Head Cable

 

So there we have it – my 7 golden rules for traveling with only your carry-on. Totally do-able! Do you think that you would be tempted to give it a try? Which top tips do you have for me to try next time? And, most importantly, where are you off to on your next adventure? 

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My Summer Essentials

My Summer Essentials

Living in the islands of perpetual summer and being fortunate enough to enjoy sunshine around 90% of the year, I have had plenty of time to get my summer wardrobe and summer essentials pretty much sorted. Summer seems to be flying by (June disappeared in the blink of an eye!) but we still have plenty of warm weather left and I wanted to share some of my summer staples with you. From top to toe I’ve got you covered. So, whether you’re going on holiday soon, or just enjoying some warm days in the park in the sunshine, these are a few of my summer favourites! 

MY SUMMER ESSENTIALS

Summer Essentials - Beach and Holiday Style Post

 

 

1 :: Kimono – 

A great kimono can really elevate that simple shorts and t-shirt outfit. It adds a splash of colour and an additional layer of interest. They’re chic and they keep the sun off your shoulders, win win. They are also great for keeping in your beach bag and throwing over your swimsuit as a cover-up. I favour a bright floral or a leafy palm print. These Amazon kimonos are fantastic for only $15 and come in 26 colours and patterns.

 

2 :: Sunglasses – 

I have to hold my hands up here, I have soooooo many sunglasses! Too many sunglasses, you could say… but I refuse to apologise for it. Against the bright sunshine I am basically blinded as soon as I set foot outside and always have to have a pair on hand. (In my car, in my beach bag, in my hand bag, on the side board, on my dressing table, on the coffee table, on my desk… they are liberally scattered around so that there is always a pair within arms reach!)

Along with my favourite Sojos pair, Amazon have thousands of pretty styles at really affordable prices, many of which are polarized (which is my preference) and still don’t break the bank. I have my eye on this pair to add to my collection, don’t tell the husband… 

 

3 :: Summer & Rose Microfiber Towel – 

Featured in my FabFitFun Summer box (and now available on Amazon.com), I was an instant fan of this lightweight and quick-drying beach towel. I hate carrying home soggy beach towels full of sand after a day by the ocean. This beauty is a great size, a vibrant print, easy to pack and you can just brush the sand right off! A beach day game changer! 

 

4 :: Beach bag – 

I have a number of really cute beach bags, and switch between them regularly, but sadly that still doesn’t stop me constantly looking for new ones! I am a complete sucker for a pom pom or a tassel – which is why I am totally obsessed with this one by Daisy Rose, isn’t it adorable? I love the neutral straw with the brightly colored embroidery and the tassels are to die for. I also love the striped inner pouch and the fact that it has a zip closure to keep all my beaching knick knacks secure. It is on my wishlist!! 

 

5 :: S’well water bottles – 

I have been a big advocate of reusable water bottles for the longest time. But, as the weather warms up, it’s even more important to ensure that you are appropriately hydrated and carrying around one of these full of icy water can help ensure that you won’t get sucked into buying single-use plastic bottles of water when you’re out and about and start to feel that thirst! Keeping your water cold for a whopping 12 + hours, throwing one of these in your beach bag makes life so much easier. S’well does lots of beautiful patterns and colours, but I love my tropical print bottle. 

 

6 :: Reusable straws – 

In my bid to cut down on the amount of plastic I use I have been attempting to ensure that I have reusable alternatives to the common plastic straws when I am out. There are so many available on the market but the two I have tried so far are these beautiful copper ones and this bamboo set. Yes, it’s a little bit more effort to walk with these, and you have to clean them! But plastic straws are so bad for the environment and just so unnecessary! Starbucks hit the news last week as they revealed that they will be phasing out plastic straws and eliminating more than 1 billion straws a year by completely eradicating them from their stores by 2020. I say ‘Bravo!’ to Starbucks and urge you to join in on this initiative! 

 

7 :: Kindle – 

There is no better accompaniment to your beach time or pool time than a really good book. In fact, I have a post on my recommended summer reads that you can check out right here! I have been a kindle convert for some time now (I literally can’t leave home without it) because I love the freedom of having so many books at my fingertips, if I finish one – no problem, I have another just waiting to get started. It’s so freeing taking all those great titles with me in my beach bag without any of the weight of carrying the books. Recently I have been thinking about starting with audible too – might be good for workouts or when you’re lying by the pool just gently snoozing. Have any of you tried it? Audible have an offer at the moment for two free audible books when you sign up for a free 30-day trial, which I might just need to take advantage of. 

 

8 :: Bamboo Ark Bag – 

A beautiful and affordable dupe for the Cult Gaia Bag – this has been my favourite purchase of the summer. Available for just $40 and coming in both small and large (mine is a small for reference) this bag is the perfect summer accessory. Sturdy and stylish it goes with every outfit and has been the object of many admiring glances and compliments (even from the boys!). The small is a great size and roomy enough for all my daily essentials (wallet, keys, lipstick, iPhone 7+ and kindle) I just have to stop myself buying the large one as well… 

 

Summers Essentials - Beach and Holiday Style Post

 

9 :: Hat – 

A great sunhat is an absolute must for the summer! Fantastic for keeping the sun off your face and protecting your most delicate skin. (Also a great photo prop in my honest opinion…) I like to keep one in my beach bag just in case. I love all the summer hats with the cute adorable embroidered sayings. I already own this perfect ‘do not disturb’ hat, but there are a couple more that I have my eye on!

 

10 and 11 :: Coola Mineral Sunscreen – 

I shouldn’t need to tell you that spf is so important for the summer months. Regardless of whether you are going to be sunbathing or not, at the very least you need to make sure that the delicate skin on your face and décolletage is protected, even as you go about your errands. I discovered the Coola products a year or so ago and I love their organic formulas. Even better news, the Coola Mineral Sunscreens are also reef safe! I had been researching sunscreens a lot recently with the increasing amount of information coming out about the risk of regular sunscreen to our delicate reef life. Oxybenzone (one of the main active ingredients in the majority of sunscreens) is a major contributor to coral bleaching. Hawaii has lead the way in banning sunscreens containing reef harming ingredients like Oxybenzone and hopefully it won’t be long before other places follow suit. Get ahead of the curve and start looking out for reef-safe sunscreen. I was thrilled to discover that I could still use my favourite brand if I was just a little more selective about which of their products I was using. Also available – this cute 4-piece Coola Mineral Travel Set

 

12 :: Sandals

 Obviously a great pair of sandals is a must for summer weather – a little smarter than flip flops but still super comfortable and practical for sand and cobbles and other holiday terrain. I like a pair with a bit of interest, so these studded beauties are just perfect. I think that they are somewhat reminiscent of the gorgeous Rockstud Valentino sandals, without being an obvious dupe. They have great reviews!

 

13:: Swimsuit

I feel like people are always really surprised to learn that the majority of my swimsuits come from Amazon. Like maybe they hadn’t considered Amazon as a place to shop for swimwear? I own a couple of these Cocoship suits and absolutely love them, they are fantastic quality for the low price and come in a lot of different colours and prints. The high-waist is super flattering and they are surprisingly supportive… giving you the perfect 50’s pin-up figure!  I feel like this pretty blue and red floral one needs to come home with me! 

 

14 :: Denim shorts – 

An absolute summer essential, I virtually live in mine. I love a white pair for a clean and fresh look. Pair with a vest top, a t-shirt, a cami, a tunic or just a bikini top. Super versatile, perfect for pool days, no self-respecting summer wardrobe should be without a pair.

 

15 :: Maxi dress – 

Is there anything more comfortable or flattering when the weather heats up than a loose and flowy maxi dress? Super forgiving, covering a multitude of sins, the maxi dress is a summer wardrobe essential. Amazon.com have some beautiful and affordable beach maxi dresses, which are so easy to wear but still make you look really put together. Perfect for evenings out after a day at the beach, or for summer brunches with friends. I love this tropical and leafy maxi, but it comes in 8 different colours and prints, if this one isn’t for you.

 

 

Amazon Prime Day starts today and there are hundreds of special deals exclusively for Prime subscribers. If you haven’t yet signed up for Amazon Prime you can start a 30-day free trial today.

 

Which would be your picks??

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San Juan, Puerto Rico – A Travel Guide

San Juan, Puerto Rico – A Travel Guide

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

So, in my last post I took you through all my top tips and recommendations for what to do and where to go in Old San Juan. In case you haven’t already, you can read more about it all here. Today we’re covering the wider San Juan area and my favourite spots in Condado, Isla Verde, Ocean Park, Santurce and beyond! I have been coming to Puerto Rico for years, it is one of my favourite places to get away from it all, but I still seem to find something new every time I visit! Sadly a few of my long-term favourites have closed since the hurricane but there is still so much fun to be had! This is my travel guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

 

Where to Eat and Drink: 

 

Santaella (Santurce) 

Puerto Rican fine dining at Santaella is such a treat. Home to renowned Puerto Rican chef, Jose Santaella, this restaurant aims to showcase the very best of Puerto Rican cuisine and sources many of the ingredients from the local farmer’s market. Very popular (be sure to make a reservation) this restaurant is a bustling and busy, leafy oasis in the heart of Santurce. Santaella serves up truly delicious Puerto Rican dishes with a specials menu that changes daily. Portions are generous so be sure to share some of the fantastic starters with whomever is lucky enough to be dining with you, and try to save room for dessert. 

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

 A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

Blonda (Condado) 

I take brunch very seriously (is there a certification in brunching? Because I’m almost certainly qualified!) and this place is seriously good. Huge (!) portions (the ‘Famous Blonda Breakfast’ (not pictured) is obscene!), extensive menu, a selection of different mimosas (orange, raspberry, guava, ginger, passion fruit, grapefruit, mango and acerola to mention a few) including an option to sample 4 smaller glasses for $15 (sold!!), what’s not to love? Try to get there by 10:00 am for the best chance of getting seated quickly (no reservations on the weekends) or expect to queue for a table. 

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

Kasalta (or ‘The Obama Cafe’) (Ocean Park) 

Made famous by (you guessed it) Barrack Obama’s presidential visit in 2011, this large bakery/diner is very popular with Puerto Ricans and packed at the weekends. Stop in for breakfast, join the queue, order from the huge menu of local favourites (you can order exactly what Obama had, if you fancy, but personally I like the Mallorca con jamon, queso y huevo) and then jostle for a seat at the busy communal tables. 

 

Ceviche House (Isla Verde) 

Slightly off the beaten track but worth the trek/Uber is the Ceviche House. As the name suggests, it’s famous for it’s Peruvian fish dishes. Great for lunch or dinner, try to make a reservation – if you can – or expect a wait for a table. Choose what sort of fish/seafood you want and order pitchers of sangria. 

Where to Stay: 

 

Serafina Beach Hotel (Condado)

On our most recent trip to San Juan we stayed at the Serafina Beach Hotel in Condado – truthfully I have so many pictures and so much to say about this hotel that it probably deserves a post of its own. So, for now, I will just say that I highly recommend it… [Read my full post here]


We collect nights with Hotels.com and I got to use a free night towards this booking which meant that it brought the price per night right down. 

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

 

The Condado Vanderbilt (Condado) 

San Juan’s premier 5* hotel, for old school glitz and glam you don’t get much more luxe than the Condado Vanderbilt. Think lots of marble and gilt and impeccable service.

 

Acacia Boutique Hotel (Condado)

For a more budget-friendly option try Hotel Acacia, a short walk from the main drag in Condado, Acacia is clean and comfortable with a large hot tub and pleasant cafe called Niche. Their sister hotel (Windchimes) across the street also has a swimming pool that you can use. 

 

What to Do and See:

 

Relax at the beach – 

It would be a shame on your Caribbean holiday if you didn’t hit the beach for a little bit. Condado/Isla Verde/Ocean Park are all located along the ocean front and are popular with kite-boarders, stand-up paddle boarders and other water sports, you can rent water sports equipment or participate in tours through companies like VIP Adventures. Or, if you’re looking for something a little bit more laid back, and staying in one of the many beach front hotels (like Serafina or the Vanderbilt), you can pull up a sun lounger on the beach by your hotel and still be only footsteps away from a really good cocktail (priorities people…)

 

Salsa dancing –

Santurce (where Santaella is located) is a neighborhood in San Juan that really comes alive after dark. If you had been to dinner at Santaella you’ll be right in the thick of it, if not there are plenty of little bars and food stalls around to grab a bite. Busy bars line the streets surrounding La Placita, the salsa music is loud and it’s not unusual to find couples dancing in the streets. 

 

Hire a car and explore Puerto Rico – 

Within easy driving distance of San Juan there are several fantastic Puerto Rican sights that are well worth taking the time to do. Here are my personal favourites: 

 

Cueva Ventana – Head out towards Arecibo to visit Cueva Ventana. Involving a relatively gentle hike and then a climb down into the cave, please wear appropriate clothing and consider your fitness levels (suitable for older children). All that exercise is worth it though when you descend down into the cave and see the view opening up in the side of the valley and the lush greenery. Watch out for the bats! 

 

Arecibo Observatory – While out in Arecibo you should pay a visit to the Arecibo Observatory. Famous for a few reasons (it was the world’s largest radio telescope for over 50 years) but you’ve probably seen it in the climactic scene of the Bond film ‘Goldeneye’ (Bond and Alec Trevelyan engage in a fight on the antenna overhanging the huge dish at the end of the film). As well as the view from the top, and the Bond-themed photo opportunity, there is also an educational science centre that is great for kids and adults alike.  

 

Horse-riding in the jungle – In the foothills of El Yunque National Rainforest is Carabali Rainforest Adventure Park where you can go horse riding through the forest. Suitable for beginners or slightly more advanced riders (the husband is a complete riding novice, whereas I rode a lot when I was younger), all levels can enjoy a couple of hours, at a fairly sedate pace, exploring the forest and out to the banks of the Mameyes river where you can cool off (and drink the water) with a quick swim. 

If you are a bit more of an adrenaline junkie and fancy something that moves a bit faster they also offer ATV tours through the rainforest. In order to keep both the husband and myself happy we compromised on a horseback tour in the morning and an ATV excursion after lunch.  (In case anyone was wondering, I’m really outstandingly bad at driving an ATV…)

 

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

A Travel Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico with The Barefoot Angel - Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to See and Do!

So, there we are, this is by no means an exhaustive list as there are literally so many things you can get up to in Puerto Rico. But I look forward to updating this post after more Puerto Rican trips and new adventures, and as I discover even more of the hidden gems. 

 

Have you visited Puerto Rico? What else should I be putting on my list of things to do?? 

Plan your trip to San Juan

Flights:

Puerto Rico is such a convenient destination with direct flights from many of the main US cities. If you’re a US citizen traveling from the US you won’t even need your passport! As an International airport, the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (airport code: SJU) is also a direct flight from many European capitals. 

Hotels:

I choose to use Hotels.com for all my trips away as I collect nights on my travels which can add up to free nights in the future. San Juan has plenty of fantastic hotels listed as part of their program and you can grab some great rates!

Travel Insurance:

Please always remember to take out travel insurance whenever you travel – lost belongings, missed connections or a host of other travel woes can really impact your trip. As expats we always use World Nomads because of their flexible coverage. 

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