Outside the Race:
1st I have to say a huge THANK YOU to our wonderful host Isis Casalduc-2002 Miss Puerto Rico and Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2002. With her as our guide, we had the opportunity to visit parts of the island we normally would have never ventured out to see. Below is a list of must do’s once you visit the island of Puerto Rico!
Pork right off the Hog:
Restaurant: Angelito’s Place
On day 2 Isis took us to one of her favorite local delicacies. This place was amazing! The hog is prepared by roasting over an open fire and then the butcher with a machete cut off chunks of pork that was weighed and served fresh! Amanda actually was allowed to handle the machete!!! This is a must visit as this was one of the best meals we had during our stay!!!!
Coffee at Caficultura (located on the run course):
Isis knew that I was an addict coffee drinker, so she suggested one of her favorite coffee spots! Here we sat in Old San Juan and enjoyed a great cappuccino prepared by a barista with excellent skills. Just take a look at that bicycle art in my cup!!!!
Our Motel in San Juan:
WOW! Honestly we could have spent 3 days at this motel and had a blast! The Condado Plaza offers ocean and lagoon view rooms, semi-private beach, several pools and hot tubs, restaurant and casino!!! The ocean views were our favorite and both the hammocks and the beach allowed us to relax and unwind post race!! Highly recommend this if your stay will be in San Juan.
Trip to the rain forest El Yunque National Forest:
You might want to wait till post race for this excursion but it is also a must do!!! This is the rain forest and there is lots of hiking. Our 1st stop in the jungle was at La Coca falls. This waterfall is easily accessed from the main road and provides a great place to stop and take a quick picture. Moving up the road you’ll hit the Yokahu Tower at an elevation of 1575 feet you can enjoy a panoramic view of the rain forest, see the ocean and it’s beaches below! The views are breath taking!!!!
Our last stop in the El Yunque was Big Tree Trailhead-La Mina Falls. If you decide to take on this trail be sure to bring water, swim suit and a towel because it’s a long hike and you will get wet! The trail takes you through the rain forest to one of the prettiest waterfalls in the park! As you hike along the creek you will find pools of water, which are great for a post race “ice” bath! Yes, be prepared, this water is cold!!!! On a safety note be sure to wear shoes with good grip and exercise caution on the rocks with the humidity and algae the rocks can be quite slick. I may have slipped once or twice :-).
Beach: Luquillo Beach
Restaurant: Don Coqui
Amanda and I have been all over the world and if you know anything about my wife she loves, loves, loves the water. Her 1st reaction to this beach is “this is one of the best beaches I have ever been too”. That is a huge statement coming from her, with the exception of Antarctica she has visited beaches on every continent on the planet. Just before we took to the beach we stopped at the local market for some treats. Amanda and Isis both ordered Pina Colada’s-non alcoholic, while I went a bit further and ordered the Relleno De Papa (ball pictured) and the Taco de Pepperoni! Wow! Yum! These are also known as “fritters”. While eating we were presented with a rose and a fish on-a-line, by a local, both handmade out of coconut palm.
Once on the beach Amanda said all she wanted to do was take a nap. But once we saw the water… into the ocean we all went! We swam out to the ropes marking the swim area and the clear blue waters were so clear you could see all the way to the bottom of the ocean floor! Runners, loungers, swimmers, kids, sunbathers, yes there is a place for all of us on this beautiful beach. As the day was coming to a close we stepped back and watched in awe of one of the most breathtaking sunsets.
In conclusion, we barely even scratched the surface of what Puerto Rico has to offer. This is one place we will definitely re-visit in the near future. If you are looking for an Ironman 70.3, Cycling Tour or Marathon take a look at Puerto Rico and make some time to enjoy the island! You will be glad you did!!!