Puerto Rico: Beyond the Beach
With all those endless stretches of beach and blue ocean, it's easy to forget that Puerto Rico actually has some great inland offerings, as well. Timberland boots might not seem like a wise packing choice for an island, but you'll be glad you have them on a trek through the 28,000-acre El Yunque National Forest in the Liquillo Mountains about twenty miles outside of San Juan.
There are much for physically taxing rails, but to no one's surprise, I went with the shortest and easiest -- less than a mile -- which takes you straight to the basin of a spectacular waterfall. Luckily, there were so few other hikers around when I arrived that I could have a secluded swim in the icy waters.
Back in San Juan, I lunched at Ajili Mojili for a taste of local flavor. The menu is upscale, but full of reasonably priced traditional dishes. The plate of assorted appetizers is out of this world with flavor: barriguitas de vieja (deep-fried pumpkin fritters), pastelillitos (a kind of flaky pastry), and arañitas (shredded green plantain fritters.)
After stopping at a few fashion shows -- it is fashion week here after all -- I explored Club Brava, which has become one of the hottest spots in town and is located at the 400-year-old El San Juan Hotel & Casino. As many small cities go, stylish clubs like this are a mix of gay and straight. Live salsa bands had everyone cutting a rug, prepared to dance the night away Puerto Rican style!