I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I went to Puerto Rico with Kent and 9 strangers. The trip was totally incredible, out of my comfort zone at times but ultimately one of the best weeks of my life.
So, I went on vacation with strangers. Well, strangers to me. The trip organizer, Dan, is a friend of ours and he invited a group of fifteen or so people, 9 ultimately committed to the trip. Kent knew a lot of these people from high school, which was only 15 minutes away from my own, but I hadn’t met any of these people. Naturally my reaction to this trip was “hell no, sorry, no way” at first. I mean – I was NOT comfortable with spending a considerable amount of money on a trip that I wasn’t guaranteed to have a good time on. Kent understood and we dropped the subject.
The week went on and I kept thinking about how Kent and I wouldn’t ever go to Puerto Rico on our own. We just wouldn’t. I would entertain the idea and then Google some cabin in Tennessee instead. Then I’d think about how I was depriving Kent of experiences. I knew full well he wouldn’t go without me and my decision was holding him back. I talked about it. I stressed about it. Ultimately, I told Kent I wanted to go and to tell Dan we were a “yes”.
Then, we planned. We bought our flights from Spirit out of the Orlando airport. I bought a suitcase. Tiny shampoo. Big hat. Travel sized q-tips because why not? I was still nervous, but as time wore on it faded into excitement. The months passed and we had paid for our flights, living situation, rental cars and excursions ahead of time. Now, we just had to go.
We stayed in Orlando the night before our flight and parked at WallyPark, which wasn’t a bad deal with a coupon I found. Spirit, on the other hand, was probably just as expensive as JetBlue after all the fees we paid. $30 to check a bag. $10 to check in at the desk. $15 to have our seats next to each other. Tall people must avoid Spirit like the plague, because my 5″4′ frame was SMUSHED. Anyway, two flights later we landed in Puerto Rico.
Between eleven people, we rented three cars. Around $17 a person, per car for a week. Gas is about the same price as the US, but most pumps are cash only. The driving is a little insane, four cars driving between three lanes and lanes merged without any warning. The toll booth attendants rarely spoke english so we just kinda waved and they waved back as we drove through.
The house we rented was in Vega Baja, about 30-45 minutes from San Juan. Hammocks, grill, pool and not far from a beautiful beach. We paid $140 per person for the week. Yeah, $140 for an entire week. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms with a serious bunk bed situation in one of the bedrooms. Air conditioning was in the bedrooms but not in the house, the windows were open all the time and there was a constant breeze. Overall, pretty comfy situation.
Sam’s Club and Walmart weren’t far from the house, so the night we got in we all drove over and made a huuuuuge haul. I’m talkin’ a couple hundred pizza rolls, mozzarella sticks, burgers, chips, snacks, beer, liquor – EVERYTHING. We ate out a good deal, but it was nice to have a stockpile of food in the house. I think everyone ended up paying $60 for all the food.
When we added it up, I think the entire trip ran us about $1000 a piece. I’ll write more about the excursions and everything we did while on the trip, but Puerto Rico is definitely one of those places you can go to, feel a different culture and not totally break the bank.
MORE TO COME!