At midnight I closed my eyes knowing after a quick 2-hour nap we’d have to get to IAH to catch our 5:20 a.m. flight to Puerto Rico.
And then it was 4 a.m.
We rushed to IAH only to miss our flight by 5 minutes. And the connecting flights we would need were full. Would we make it to the wedding? What if only one standby seat were open instead of two? Would we even see Puerto Rico this weekend?
By a miracle and some fast footwork up escalators and through terminals, we arrived in San Juan only two hours behind schedule.
Day 1 – See the Bride-to-Be, Explore Old San Juan, Mingle at Rehearsal Dinner
This is Andalucia Guesthouse, the perfect spot for travelers who want to explore San Juan, hit the beach and enjoy Puerto Rican culture. The layout is like a typical Puerto Rican house with a courtyard in the middle. It’s easy to miss this place, just another home amid the others in Ocean Park.
Usually brides are mired in wedding details before the big day, but we got to spend time with Alice down the street at Kasalta bakery as soon as we stepped out of our room. My friends Julie, Anna and Sharon were there too, a lovely reunion.
We all trekked a few blocks to Hosteria del Mar, the beachfront hotel where the wedding would take place. We met Alice’s mom and other friends and family.
Later, we shared a cab to Old San Juan. This place is 400 years old. We salivated over the street tacos — pork, cilantro and piña. Who knew a little piña could make a taco so tasty? Puerto Ricans know how to flavor their meat. Each ingredient was fresh and stood out on its own.
Eventually, we made our way back to Calle San Justo for the rehearsal dinner. Jochen and Alice put on a fun party!
Day 2 – Santurce Market, Old San Juan again, the BEACH! and the nuptials
Sajan and I awoke bright and early, grabbed breakfast at Tasca de Yiyo and walked a few kilometres to Plaza del Mercado in the Santurce area. Fresh fruits and vegetables were gleefully piled for morning shoppers. We hopped a bus to stroll Old San Juan again. Then it was back to Ocean Park with a Belgian waffle brunch at Mango’s Restaurant. We eagerly walked to the beach, ready to dip our toes in the ocean waves. The waves were wild but had such a calming effect on us. We sat at the shoreline. I grabbed piles and piles of sand to build a little sandhouse that the waves enjoyed crashing on. We washed off, ate the best yogurt ever at Yogen Fruz, then dressed for our first ever beach wedding.
What a sight! Jochen and Alice looked stunning. Their families were so kind and beautiful. Jochen’s sister Nina officiated, and the couple wrote their own vows. We ate dinner on the rooftop of Hosteria del Mar under the night sky. Then we danced the night away. Alice and Jochen performed a jaw-dropping salsa number. Later, Sajan and I walked back to the guesthouse enveloped in ocean mist and rain drizzle.
Day 3 – Adventure Outing, Mofongo and Eternal Sand
Sunday morning brought us to a lush 2,300 acre estate, Hacienda Campo Rico. After kayaking across a pond and climbing scary rope bridges missing planks, we ziplined hundreds of feet in the air. Iguanas perched above the canopies and waved their tails hello as we whizzed by. It was breathtaking and thrilling.
Later, I was curious to try Mofongo, a dish of mashed green plantains topped with juicy meat of your choice, preferably pork. Bebo’s is a spot in Ocean Park where the locals eat and where we dined for lunch.
Sajan, Julie and I explored and found Cinema Paradiso.
Then the sand called to us, and we came.