[Puerto Rico] Orocovis: Roka Dura & Casa Bavaria

Orocovis Casa Bavaria

As you may have seen earlier this week, I was recently home in Puerto Rico and while I was there I got to do some fun zip-lining. Toro Verde Adventure Park is located in Orocovis, right in the middle of the mountains of Puerto Rico. A lot of people don’t think of mountains when they think of Puerto Rico, they just focus on the beaches but it really is a beautiful area. I mean, we do have amazing beaches, but our mountains offer a very different kind of beauty.

Orocovis Roka Dura

On our way down from Toro Verde we made two nice stops. After a morning filled with adventure and thrill, we were obviously starving. Locals to the area recommended we had lunch at Roka Dura, just a few minutes outside of the park. They said food was delicious and portions were generous.

Orocovis Roka Dura

They were not lying. This mouthwatering “mofongo” filled with chicken was even more delicious than it looks. The plate below is chicken with garlic cassava, better known as “yuca al mojo”. The chicken was nothing special, but the “yuca” was on point. I love “yuca” but have never ventured to cook it myself, I’m not even sure if I would be able to buy some around here so it’s always one of those special plates I treat myself with when I’m visiting home.

Orocovis Roka Dura

This spot had really nice views. It was early Friday afternoon and you could see the little bars around or “chinchorros” starting to get busy with people celebrating the weekend’s arrival. Although I was on vacation, I also joined the celebration admiring the killer view.

Orocovis Roka Dura Medalla

Second stop was Casa Bavaria. This one holds special memories for me. With a fusion of Caribbean and German traditions, Casa Bavaria was founded by a German couple who fell in love with the island and decided to make a life here. Its claim to fame has been their great Oktoberfest celebrations, that’s how I first got there. It is (or was?) tradition to organize “party” buses to take groups of people up the mountains and bring Oktoberfest to life in Puerto Rico. Each bus had different t-shirts and unique stories, often captured and plastered on Facebook. It was, well, a hot mess. Ahh, memories.

Stopping by this time with a fresh (and sober) pair of eyes, I was able to find so much more beauty in this place. People are so nice and the views are to die for. We only had drinks here, but a lot of people were enjoying a full meal around us. Oktoberfest or not, definitely worth the stop.

Hacienda Madrigal & Restaurante Raíces

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Horseback riding is a different way to explore Puerto Rico. I got the chance to visit Hacienda Madrigal for the first time this December and really enjoyed the experience. People were super nice and the views were spectacular. Needless to say, I also took my new baby camera out for a stroll. I can’t get over it and want to share as much as possible.

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Afterwards, we went to the original Raíces Restaurant in Caguas. A lot of tourists visit their location in Old San Juan because it’s closer to hotels and cruises. I haven’t been to the location in Old San Juan, but their original spot is pretty cool. Everything around the restaurant reflects the time when my dad was born. It really gives you a nice sense of Puerto Rican history and for that on its own, it’s worth it. If your mouth is not salivating right now for that mofongo relleno de churrasco, then I don’t think you’re human (if you’re vegetarian you’re excused, but not really).

Photos taken and edited by Cristina Nogueras – Canon EOS Rebel T5

Vacation mode, not that I’m bragging or anything.

Still in vacation over here. Enjoying some time in my beautiful Puerto Rico, can’t really complain.

2014 is right around the corner, but right now I’m enjoying the “now”.

20131226-170718.jpg Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico – Seriously one of my favorite views in the whole island.

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20131226-170800.jpg Up in the mountains of Adjuntas, having lunch with a sweet tropical breeze.

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20131226-170839.jpg Delicious mofongo, stuffed with skirt steak and other wonders. Basically, plantain gloriousness in a plate.

20131226-170846.jpg Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo. “Sucia” means dirty, but believe me, this beach is far from dirty. Guess we like irony?

So basically, been busy with family and tropical adventures but I shall be back in the tundra that is New York and face reality. 2013 has been pretty sweet, so some stories are in store.

Cheers everyone, Happy Holidays! (At least in Puerto Rico it’s still the Holidays)