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24 Hours in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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We spent the beginning of June traveling south for an anniversary cruise! We have a slight love affair with the caribbean to begin with, but this. trip. was. sick! I want to do each city/island justice with pictures, so I’ll be breaking this down into a few posts. We’re starting with a country that I’ve had a soft spot for since first visiting three years ago…Puerto Rico!

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We woke at 4 AM, bleary eyed but SUPER EXCITED. This was our first flight since we went to Denver in late October, and a big trip was long overdue! We basically didn’t sleep at all from excitement. An uber driver and 10 minute ride later (our living situation and distance from the airport was absolutely not a coincidence :p), we were at RDU!

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Nothing like sunrise sessions from the sky <3

After a quick layover in Miami, we were in San Juan by 1 PM, out of the airport by 1:30, and in our uber heading to Condado Beach.

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The last time we were in San Juan, it was a port on a cruise we were on for college spring break. We were there for 8 hours which was just long enough to get a taste of the city and specifically Old San Juan, but when it came to this trip we were totally in the dark on where to stay! We came one night early so we could spend the night in SJ before our cruise, and we wanted to do it RIGHT! There are actually a lot of choices in San Juan, including a few really beautiful boutique hotels that caught our eyes, but we decided on the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel. This hotel, built in 1919 and given a little revamp recently, was actually built by-you guessed it- the Vanderbilt family who also inhabited the Biltmore Estate just four hours from us in Asheville, North Carolina.

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By the water? Check. Luxury? Check. Historical? Check.

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As we’re walking around this beautiful hotel with complimentary champagne along with the concierge who was giving us a tour, we’re having one of those “pinch me” moments. This hotel is BEAUTIFUL. It boasts beautiful marble floors, Spanish-inspired decor, art, and gives you that we-so-fancy-even-though-we-not feeling. We end our tour at our room and that’s when I realize I’m actually in wonderland.

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The room has incredible views, a bathroom that could eat two of our apartment bathrooms alive, a king sized bed I could fall asleep for 20 years on, a kitchenette and living space, and a balcony overlooking the pool area and ocean. LIKE, I’M NOT ACTUALLY LEAVING.

I wish I could say we really took a bite out of SJ and made the most of our 24 hours. Which, we did. But it wasn’t necessarily from going out and exploring all over the place like I thought we would. Because guys. This hotel and this space was just mind blowing. You could spend a few days just on the hotel grounds! It’s breathtaking and it’s huge.

I could totally spend a week here. If you’re traveling to San Juan, its the perfect resting place to return to after a long day exploring Old San Juan or hiking the El Yunque (neither of which we actually got around to LOLLLL). But this was day #1 of travel and day #1 of vacation and the one night we had in this hotel….so that was the extent of our first night. And we were just fine with it!

So, moving along to what we ACTUALLY did..

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We headed directly downstairs to the pool area, consisting of two in ground and one infinity pool overlooking the ocean. The clouds couldn’t keep us away or make these views any less spectacular!

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With sunset came a brighter view and empty stomachs…and the hotel property also included one amazing restaurant Tacos & Tequila. A few Medalla Lights and taco plates and we were officially having THE BEST DAY EVER

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AND THIS CHURRO SANDWICH. I MEAN WHAT IS THIS?!?!?! This is heaven. That’s what this is.

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What? Did you think we WOULDN’T be milking this anniversary thing for all it’s worth? Which is apparently its weight in gold because this little cake was amazing.

The next day was bittersweet because we were already having such a great time in San Juan…but we had a boat to catch at 3! Puerto Rico was so great already, how could that beat it?!!? We woke up early to make the most of our day. We saw a paddle board rentals stand coming into the beach the day before, so OBVIOUSLY we needed to hunt that down. We paddle boarded on Laguna del Condado right down the road from our hotel for a mere $20. Best way to spend a morning!

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Then, we headed to get some breakfast and what was probably one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had at Orozco’s Restaurant in Condado. All I need in my life is this omelette. Everyday.

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The remainder of the day was spent packing, prepping, and catching the cruise! [We’ll get to that!] 24 Hours in PR is a little more like 24 Hours in Condado, but the area deserves a shameless plug. Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend Condado Vanderbilt for your galavanting around San Juan needs. Until next time!

Happy traveling!

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