when i spontaneously booked a trip to puerto rico this spring, i was not prepared for the amount of design inspiration i would find (or the amount of tequila i would consume), but san juan won me over with architecture, street cats, and carnitas. we split the trip into three areas of puerto rico: ocean park beach, the city of old san juan, and fajardo, to spend our last few days in the el yunque rain forest.
day 1: we stayed at the dreamcatcher in the ocean park area of san juan. to sum it up, this place is surreal. it is absolutely beautiful, down to every last detail. i felt so at peace here - from the communal kitchens, to the hammocks around every corner, i was ready to move in and stay forever. the dreamcatcher is a vegetarian guest house with nightly yoga classes, cute island dogs, and super cool outdoor showers. the owner and founder, sylvia, designed the space and made it a true oasis. each room has a unique style and i absolutely loved the design choices. it is a true bohemian paradise with a welcoming sense of home.
we stayed in the 'glass cottage', which was basically like sleeping inside a kaleidoscope. the stained glass hut was cozy with a lofted bed and vintage details (there are awesome antiques everywhere, collected from sylvia's grandmother's home!) the glass cottage is also listed on airbnb - you can see the listing here.
day 2: we moved into an airbnb in the heart of old san juan
old san juan was very walkable and very charming. staying in this airbnb was perfect because we could walk everywhere and we knew our way around by the time we left, really making it feel like home. the two bedroom apartment was simple, with connecting balconies and large shuttered doors which we kept open at night. the streets really are as colorful as they look on google images, and i was so inspired by the homes lining the blue cobblestone. each unit is completely different than the one beside it - like you're walking through life size pantone swatches. old san juan exceeded my expectations, and from the balconies filled with plants to the interior courtyards and intricate tile everywhere, it is a really dreamy place.
we filled our days in old san juan with a lot of sangria, gazpacho, popsicles, tapas and tacos.
check out a full list of our favorite grub and drank spots at the end of this post!
day 4: we moved to our final stop, another guest house in the middle of the rainforest.
we rented a car and headed east for our last few days. we had swam in the ocean and stayed out all night in the city, and it was time to hike in the rainforest. we stayed in fajardo, only about an hour from san juan. this guest house was in an extremely remote spot, totally secluded from main roads. just to get there, we had to drive up a completely unpaved mountain road and i spent the ride gripping the door handle and calculating the total costs of wrecking the rental car (we had a sad little kia hatchback and should've most definitely had a jeep for this adventure). once we got to the top, the views were pretty unreal. we climbed out our windows to eat avocados and drank coconut juice on the roof and fell asleep to the sounds of the coqui frogs.
el yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the national forest system, with over 200 species of trees and plants! it's easy to explore, as you can drive all the way through and stop at various trails to hike along the way. we stopped for crazy views from the yokahu tower and hiked la mina trail, which leads to the largest waterfall in the forest, la mina falls. we headed back to swim in some of the smaller falls higher up in the trail just because they were way less crowded (see below for super magical private waterfall scenario).