The next day, we stopped at the hotel for breakfast and a coffee place around the corner before heading to Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. Again, this was something we could do because the kids weren’t with us, not because they wouldn’t have gone, but because we could take our time and not rush through the experience.
First, we had to have the experience, though, and apparently we got there too early! Google was “off’ by about 30 minutes for whatever reason, so we ended up finding a shady spot to kill time while watching folks walk around to the surrounding government buildings in what felt like the modern downtown San Juan.
Just before it opened, we checked out the gardens behind the museum, which were mostly empty, but is usually open for exercises, browsing, and yoga sessions. We strolled through it (it’s set up as a loop) near statues, trees, and plants, and eventually came to a bridge that was out, so we couldn’t complete the loop. Of course, this isn’t that big a deal, but it was still indicative of repairs still being made all over the island. In point of fact, right next to the museum, construction was still ongoing, likely putting up some relatively large government building. Near our hotel, multiple other hotels were being refit and renovated, so it was great to see progress on the island beyond simply picking up the pieces of Hurricane Maria like last time. We only hope they’re spared long enough to avoid more damage.
The museum was nice! We were there for maybe an hour an a half. Personally, art museums aren’t really my thing, but it was still nice to take in a different aspect of Puerto Rico. Some of the exhibits were specific to artists from the island, while others were from abroad, including from western Europe. We had a good time, and it was also good to see some school groups touring and learning about the artists and different artistic styles. Of course, they were learning in Spanish, so we couldn’t get much from it. Apparently I need to brush up a bit…
It rained a bit on us as we left the museum on our way to a grocery store, which we needed prior to visiting Playa Vacia Talega. We had to drive a bit to get there, mostly along the coast (obviously) until we found a relatively populated beach with cars just pulled off onto the sand. There were more people than we probably anticipated, but it still wasn’t that crowded. The picture above doesn’t really show anyone, but there were people pretty spread out throughout the area, mostly up and to the left in the picture, closer to the trees where there was some shade.
That night, we went to Rakuten Bar and Grill for sushi, as we figured some seafood would be a good idea while we were in an area with actual seafood. It was great, though there weren’t really any other people at the restaurant. We were, however, seated on the patio outside overlooking the four-way “not-stop” that really should have had stop signs. Seriously, there were no stop signs at any corner. So we’d see car(s) after car(s) come to that intersection and nearly hit each other. It provided plenty of entertainment, and to our knowledge, no one got hurt. 🙂
The next day was to be a beach day, as it was our last day on the island before heading out. Brooke found La Monseratte Beach, which wasn’t a free beach like the one the day before, but was still pretty cheap. It must have been attached to a resort or something years before, because it still had the infrastructure for bathrooms, food, a playground, and also had security dudes driving around patrolling. It was pretty nice! Very family friendly, and plenty of space to spread out.
It was a great last day. The weather was beautiful, the skies were blue, the water was warm, and we got to have fun in some pretty big waves! Brooke lost her sunglasses in the ocean when she got knocked over, which was rather hilarious. Her hip is still a little sore from it…but I think she’ll remember it fondly!
For the record, by some minor miracle, somehow we largely avoided sunburns.
For our last night there, we made reservations for a fancy restaurant, Ropa Vieja Grill, which isn’t really “fancy” as most people would say, but reservations were absolutely necessary and people were dressed pretty well, so it was “fancy” by Marshall standards. We hit up Tryst one last time for some drinks prior to the 8:00 pm reservation, but there must have been a conference in town because it was reserved for a group of mechanical engineers, so we got a small table off to the side and then went to the restaurant to wait for our table. Dinner was great, of course, and it was a lovely night to walk the streets of Condado before we left the next morning.
That Saturday when we returned was veeeeeeery looooooong. We figure it was about 18 hours of travel time. The flight to Dallas was around 6:45 am, plus we lost a few hours on the return trip due to the time zone change, then we had a 7 hour layover until flying back to Kansas City, so it took a bit of time in the airport. Thankfully, I had the foresight to figure out how to drop the rental car off the day before in Condado (we happened to notice they had a location a few blocks from our hotel, so I checked and, surprisingly, we could just take it there and Uber to the airport the next morning, saving us something like $150 in car rental fees…who knew??), so it made the exit from PR a bit more smooth. We also left Brooke’s car at the hotel we stayed at in Kansas City a few nights before, so after our plane landed at 9:00 pm, we called the shuttle, they came and picked us up, and we drove home to Marshall.
Thanks again to Mom for watching the kids while we were gone! It was a very nice getaway and we hope to go back again someday! I really enjoyed that part of the island, and spending more time getting to know San Juan (we were only there for one day last time), so next time, we probably need to hit up Ponce, or Vieques. Maybe for our 20th anniversary in 2025……. 🙂