Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.
At the end of June, Mr. Charming and I went to Puerto Rico. It was a vacation we desperately needed to take together and it most likely will be the only one we get together until well after the baby is born. I had a gap of five days from work and we went for it. Could we afford it? Technically yes, though we weren’t planning on it so we did take a wee hit in July making up for it. But, hey, we have to live sometimes, right?!
I still feel regenerated after that trip. I was desperate for a relaxing vacation and we got one together. We relayed on the beach all day one day, we had a few adventures, experienced some Puerto Rican culture, had some delicious food, and have wonderful memories. Now, I can check spontaneous weekend getaway off my list of things to do (does it still count as spontaneous if you booked it ten days prior?).
Why Puerto Rico?
We chose Puerto Rico for three reasons: the flight was under 4 hours from Atlanta, there was a rainforest (El Yunque) there for us to trek through, and they have something called Bioluminescent Bay where we went night kayaking and experienced these little microorganisms that lit up the water and made it shine like diamonds.
I’m a believer in packing lightly anyways, but it isn’t as easy as you think to pack lightly for a five day beach trip. We had a range of activities planned (yes, I know, we were supposed to relax, but we aren’t going to pay to go to the Caribbean just to lay around – we can do that at home!): kayaking, trekking, swimming, snorkeling, and a nice dinner out on the town one day. Not too mention, I’m a photographer, I definitely brought my DSLR and two of my favorite lenses! Personally, I’m a Nikon girl and I recently recommend this beauty to a friend as a starter DSLR.
Husband and I each had a carry on suitcase and a backpack. His was similar to this SwissGear City Pack where it could double as anything we needed it double as and hold some of the non clothing items during the flight, like our snorkeling gear and electronics. We always bring heavier duty backpacks like this when we travel. Yeah, it may shout “tourist!”, but when you travel like us (I always plan perfect itineraries in my opinion) and like packing and traveling lightly and economically, it really is so helpful. Plus, you want to protect your valuables, right? Like my aforementioned DLSR and any tablets, e-Readers, phones, headsets, etc.
Why We Loved Puerto Rico for Our Babymoon
Day One: we got in late and just chilled at the resort and in the pool. It was a one hour drive from the airport in San Juan to Fajardo. We stopped at a spot for some lunch and tried some local cuisine that was definitely delicious.
Day Two: we went to the beach and just set up shop for the day. It was also my husband’s birthday. We did a little picture taking, read, did some snorkling (with our own equipment to save money – we dive/snorkel), had some drinks (mine were virgin), and just enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Then we went back because we had reservations to kayak Bioluminescent Bay. I do not have pictures from that because it isn’t wise to really bring electronics when you go kayaking, much less at night. Friends, I tell you that was such an incredible experience! I honestly think it’s a main reason people go to Puerto Rico and a must-do if you are ever on the island.
Day Three: we drove to the El Yunque rainforest and just walked around, doing some very light hiking because it was very crowded. Giving up trying to find a parking space, we started to leave when we just happened to find a little beaten path at the very edge of the rainforest we thought we should explore. This is where we set up shop along the river with the rainforest all around us. It really was like a scene out of the movies. The picture above with just me is where we were. We spent the next few ours there where we chatted about our dreams and our hopes for the baby (not knowing the gender at the time). That night we tried another restaurant around our resort that had the best piña colada I’ve had in my life. Did you know piña coladas were invented in Puerto Rico?
Day Four: we had a lazy day, just wanting to spend another day in paradise on the beach. Had an easy dinner at the resort and then retired early (because we were tired bums).
We left on day five relatively early (an hour to airport with a flight around noon). We didn’t want to get in too late to Atlanta and home so that we could be well rested to return to work the next day.
So we created a lot of great memories and we didn’t even need our passports! We had passed through San Juan together on a cruise a few years ago and though we enjoyed it briefly, we weren’t expecting to ever visit Puerto Rico again. However, we both are so glad that we did. This trip was perfect!
Quick Tips on Saving Money
- Definitely buy your airline tickets on a Tuesday morning.
Never do it on a weekend. There was a $150 price difference between Friday night and Tuesday morning. Obviously, it’s cheaper to buy in advance, but we did it only ten days in advance so we did what we could. What helped was that we use Delta 98% of the time (honestly, people, Delta is actually very competitive in pricing and is rarely more expensive than other airlines — at least for where we fly). We used our SkyMiles for husband’s flight and I was able to book my ticket using something I have making it interest-free credit for six months, same as cash. Maybe that’s ill-advised, but we always pay our credit off quickly, expect with these special offers in which case it’s just nice to not pay everything right away.
- Grab yourself a great, heavy duty backpack like this SwissGear City Pack, and bring what you can to save money while traveling.
Eg, we bring our own snorkeling gear (saved $20 per person), we bring our own sunscreen (you know sunscreen is incredibly expensive at tourist spots!), and we bring our own nonperishable food items for the plane/car ride/etc.
- Grocery shop.
We always find a local grocery store and stock up on some food items and drinks to hold us over and lower the cost of spending money out. And even just stocking up on water and bring your own snacks and drinks to the beach is so much cheaper than buying from the waiters in that tiki hut.
- Make your pictures your souvenirs.
I used to buy things when I traveled, but it quickly became excess crap. Then I just fell in love with taking pictures and stopped buying things. I create photo books of each vacation and even blow up prints of my favorite photos from that to hang around the house. It really does bring me back to that memory. I refuse to put up pictures that weren’t personally taken by husband and I (unless it’s of loved ones or ourselves) because any other artwork just doesn’t have the same effect as a picture from the time we found a picturesque little spot nestled in the Puerto Rican rainforest. Invest in a great camera, like this Nikon, and you’ll never really need to waste money on hoarding souvenirs again.
Now, friends, spoil yourself with a $25 giftcard to Target so you can go invest in your next trip by picking up a great camera, grabbing a heavy duty backpack, or even just getting some camping gear to really save money and just camp the island of Puerto Rico yourself! (I know someone who just camped throughout Hawaii for a few weeks and I’m totally jealous!) There really is just so many ways that Target can help you on your next adventure! Take a look for yourself on their registry here.