Between the rainforest and the sea sits Luquillo, “La Capital del Sol,” or the Capital of the Sun. The lagoon is carved into the island, has soft red sand, an unobstructed view of the horizon, and a coconut grove. The waves are more gentle than on other parts of Puerto Rico’s northern Atlantic coast, due to the presence of coral reefs.
In Puerto Rico, all beaches are public beaches (even the ones lined by fancy hotels). I spent way too much cash on a taxi to San Juan the day before (although once I got there it was breathtaking), I decided to rent a car for the drive to the rain forest of El Yunque and skip the cab (that disaster of a story for another day). Plus I love driving in foreign countries (yeah, yeah PR is American in many ways, but driving on a Caribbean island is a different thrill than driving to Tulsa). Thus, with the car and a free afternoon, we drove the 20 minutes or so from my hotel in the Rio Grande to Luquillo.
We parked right on the street (took no time to find a spot!) and plopped down in the sand. I’ve been on a lot of beaches, and I can’t get over how soft and cool the sand was! I kept running my fingers through it.
We brought Rum and Coke and made our own cocktails to sip while the sun went down. When I think of Puerto Rico, the purple sunsets are the first thing that comes to mind. They were so warm and brilliant, taking over the entire sky.
After dark, we headed over to the Kiosks, an awesome collection of about 60 open-air food stalls just down the highway. The buildings are bright and colorful, like just about everything we saw in PR. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good pic of the place. Bad Stephanie!
The Kiosks are a great place to enjoy local cuisine. Stalls run from very touristy to very NOT touristy–depends on what you’re in the mood for. Many have English menus (though some do not).
I took the opportunity to try Mofongo, a local Puerto Rican dish of garlic mashed plantains topped with steak. So delicious! I followed that with some fried sweet plantains, which I just can’t ever get enough of.
The afternoon was so peaceful and beautiful, followed by a delicious dinner with some new flavors I’d never experienced before. This was a really easy afternoon and evening, and I would highly recommend a trip to Luquillo if you’re going to be in San Juan or nearby.
Have you been to Puerto Rico? What was your highlight? Please share in the comments!