When I was trying to decide where to go for my vacations, a friend recommended I’d book a trip to the Caribbean. She suggested to find an “all inclusive vacations to Puerto Rico” but I wasn’t convinced. I didn’t want to go to Puerto Rico and just stay in one place so the “Puerto Rico package” option was out of the table. I decided to go to Puerto Rico but on my own terms. No restrictions!

by My Puerto Rico Experience

I decided to stay at the Doubletree by Hilton San Juan because a couple of my girlfriends had traveled to Puerto Rico a few months before and pointed to Loíza Street as the up and coming local neighborhood. FYI: The hotel gives you a warm chocolate chip and walnuts cookie when you arrive. I have a sweet tooth so I asked for two. The most delicious chocolate chip cookie in Puerto Rico is at Doubletree.

All my mornings started with a light breakfast and a delicious “Café con Leche” in the Starbucks at Gallery Plaza. Sipping my hot coffee outside while watching people walking about made me realize how lucky I am to still have my best years ahead of me (I just turned 33!).

The days went by quickly as I explored the amazing local stores down the street. The first one that caught my eye was Moni & Coli. The summer dresses were spectacular with their colorful patterns and geometric shapes. The Quartz necklaces and sunglasses were all must-haves! I couldn’t choose between all the options because all of them looked amazing. The best part? Necklaces started at $14 and shades at $12. I got 3 of each for less than $95, tax included!

Just a few steps away I discovered Len.T.juela, a vintage boutique haven. The lacy dresses, trumpet style skirts and hair accessories made me feel like I had walked into 1970. After spending a little over an hour at the store, I decided to treat myself to a Salted Caramel Almond cupcake from Double Cake Baking Studio.

The cupcake was delicious and I helped myself to a second one, Dulce de Leche. I also ordered another coffee, because hey, it’s always a great time for coffee. I sat down for a while and as I tasted the second cupcake (which was fresh and fluffy), I smiled acknowledging how strange it felt to be traveling by myself after 8 years of always traveling with someone. It was such an incredible feeling, to feel right at home in a street where I’d never been before.

Across Double Cake I saw what I thought was an art gallery. Turns out, it was more than that: Color Conspiracy Tattoo Gallery. The designs were stunning and I really wanted to get a tattoo but the waiting time was a couple of months, which was a bummer.

I headed back to the hotel to eat sushi at Silk, since I had plans to go out afterwards. The staff greeted me promptly, the service was top notch and the Beef Teriyaki Roll was fantastic.

At 8pm I was ready to go and walked to El Bar Bero, a Barber Shop themed craft cocktail bar. As I was getting near, I could hear the sound of the congas playing and knew I was going to have a blast. Loved the fact that it was a 3-minute walk from the hotel!