Puerto Rico: Food, Moms and Fun (Did I Mention Food?)

I expected to have a great mother-daughter weekend at the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino with Hadley. I did not anticipate falling in love with Puerto Rico’s culture, scenery and food.

Believe me, I have the extra pounds to prove that latter point.

(At least two of those pounds can be attributed to Puerto Rico’s signature dish Mofongo, a mashed mound of plantains into which a combination of seafood, meat, or vegetables is added.)

The great thing about Puerto Rico (besides the food–did I mention the food?) is it feels like an exotic international adventure with all the conveniences of home that make traveling with kids a cinch.

As an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico uses U.S. currency, locals speak English and Spanish, there are no roaming charges for most cell phone providers and Americans don’t need a passport.

They’re pretty swell to Canucks, too.

Puerto Rico is also resplendent with local culture. Latin music fills Old San Juan’s cobblestone streets, culinary delights ooze with flavor and the white-sand beaches host families and sun worshipers from all over the world.

Rio Camuy Cave Park

Puerto Rico’s rainy season is in October, May and evidently whenever I visit because it was downpouring when we arrived.

The excursion I most looked forward to was a trip to Rio Camuy Cave Park. This is the only place in the world you will find an extensive cave system with a tropical underground river thundering through it. With three crater-like sink holes, two caves and a trolley that descends into a sinkhole, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Or in my case, an ain’t-gonna-happen one.

Much to my dismay, the caves had to be closed due to copious amounts of rain.

Museo de la Bilia’s Indoor Playground

Kara (the publicist who arranged the trip) scrambled to switch our itinerary and arranged a visit to Museo de la Biblia. As one whose Spanish proficiency is limited to Dora the Explorer tutorials, I thought this was some kind of Biblical museum. I could not have been more wrong.

Though there was a whole lot of kid-worship going on.

My fellow travel bloggers (Corinne of Have Baby Will Travel, Debbie of Delicious Baby and Colleen of Travel Mamas) and I trailed our little ones as they euphorically tackled the aquarium, dinosaur exhibit, miniature golf, small amusement rides, video games and and lunched at the affordable pizza parlor. There was even an ice-skating rink in the tropics. The price was reasonable, too: $20 for an all-inclusive pass.

While I certainly would not consider the Museo de la Bilia a destination unto itself, it was a fantastic rainy-day activity.

Unless you walk outside and discover it had been sunny the entire time you were indoors and it then proceeds to rain when you were scheduled to go to the beach that afternoon.

Evidently, Puerto Rico’s weather did not take our itinerary into consideration.

Stay tuned for details of the San Juan Marriott’s glorious pool and why a rainy day at the beach is better than, well, pretty much anything. Be sure to also read my first post, Almost reaching perfection at the San Juan Marriott Resort.

Note: I participated in a travel blogger press trip sponsored by the San Juan Marriott. The views are entirely my own and I was not compensated in any way.

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