If You Like Piña Coladas

img_6060

How did it get to be 2016 already? I’ve been MIA, I know, all for good reasons though. I’m excited to be sharing some things about my blog and my life, just bare with me! 

In the meantime, please enjoy this photo of a piña colada that I enjoyed during my time in Puerto Rico earlier this month. Ahh, to be sipping frozen drinks by the beach. Those were the days. Also, you can always catch me on Instagram, of course.

[Puerto Rico] Toro Verde Zip-line Adventure

Zip-lining Puerto Rico Toro Verde

Haven’t we all, at some point, wished we could fly? I know that was always my super power of choice when I was a little kid, you know, like Peter Pan and stuff. Still, with age, I have developed a sometimes irrational fear of heights. I even get the jiggles if I get too close to the bars of a balcony, even if it’s not that high.

This month, I got to channel my inner child and fearless Girl Scout spirit while zip-lining at Toro Verde in Puerto Rico. Toro Verde is an adventure park in the middle of the mountains (Orocovis, to be exact). I actually did not know that there are more miles of zip-line cables in this adventure park than any other park in the world!

Puerto Rico Toro Verde

If you are visiting Puerto Rico, Toro Verde is a must. Not only do you get to experience some thrill, but there is also so much beauty to take in and delicious food to eat along the way (more on that soon!).

 Puerto Rico Toro Verde

I recommend you keep an eye out for flash deals that regularly come up for the adventure packages. Either way, the money you pay is worth it. I did the regular zip-line tour ending with “La Bestia” (The Beast).

Last (and only) time I did zip-lining was in Costa Rica in 2004. I don’t recall it having been challenging. This time for me, the first cables were the hardest (although they are technically the easiest). I was nervous and afraid, what if my long hair got stuck on the cable?! What if I accidentally put my fingers in the wrong spot and they got chopped off by the equipment?! These were my fears. My mother’s fears were more along the lines of “What if I fall?!” – I guess that made more sense. I honestly did not even fear the heights on the first few because I was so focused on looking at the cable that I did not even look down.

Zip-lining Puerto Rico Toro Verde

Then, it was time for la bestia (cue for roar). The beast is the highest and second longest cable in the world. I believe the tour guide mentioned that the longest one is in South Africa, but don’t quote me on that.

Zip-lining Puerto Rico Toro Verde

You get all prepped up and told you will be laying face down and flying all the way to the other side for like a minute and a half. It seemed scary, but once I was in the harness waiting my turn, all I felt was peace. It was SO weird to feel calm and steady when I was diving across unknown heights in the middle of the mountains. I did not have to worry about any cables because I was going to be lying down so I was like, poof, no worries here!

They pushed me and so I started flying. What a freaking fabulous feeling. I was a bird. Like, as much as a bird as a human can be. I felt the wind on my face as I was zipping around and I was able to take in all the beautiful sights around me. There was a little river, I saw some birds flying near by, it was all wonderful. All I could think was how amazing it felt to be so close with nature and fly. I also thought, damn, I wish I had a GoPro strapped up on my helmet!

Zip-lining Puerto Rico Toro Verde

Seriously, if you are ever in Puerto Rico, experience the beast. It’s breath-taking and I would even consider it a therapy session. I had forgotten the thrilling sensation of facing your fears and the adrenaline rush that comes with it. Big thanks to our tour guides (pictured above) they really took us through this adventure and always made sure we were comfortable, safe and having fun!

Puerto Rico Toro Verde

P.S. Zip-lining: When you learn the value of fanny packs.

New Hobby? Hiking at El Yunque Rainforest

IMG_9462

When I was little, someone got lost in El Yunque Tropical Rainforest and was not found until about 3 days later. I’m basing this all on my memory, so forgive me if I mix up the details. Anyways, that story really stuck to me. I think he was only able to survive because he knew which plants were good to eat and he was able to ration whatever little he had. Regardless of the accuracy of my memory, I must say I’ve developed a sense of respect for the rainforest.

Sure, I went on all the Girl Scouts adventures, but being the good girl I’ve always been, I always followed the rules. In the past few years, I’ve been bringing different friends from all over the world to come see El Yunque. In all of these trips, I stuck to the basics. The basics are safe and you can’t get lost on your own. I have no idea why I was being so stupid, I just never questioned my typical short visit excursion.

Until this Holiday break, of course, when my adventurous boyfriend was all like “let’s hike up to the tallest mountain in the rainforest” and I was like “no”. Being the amazing girlfriend that I am, I decided to take him beyond the first tiny waterfall.

IMG_9457

Turns out, there are actually different trails in the rainforest. How did I not know this before? All this time here I was thinking that the man got lost because of lack of proper signs.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

It really was a beauty to walk through these wonders of nature. Granted, I kept looking down in the ground to make sure I did not trip and fall off into unexplored territory. We also got into a crowded trail, which was a little too stressful for my taste. If you want to have a more tranquil experience, go during a weekday.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetHere is another story that I’m not so sure how accurate it is. When I was little, my dad would tell me that these white leaves that you see above could predict whether it was going to rain or not. They are called “Yagrumo” leaves and they belong up in a tree. You see, only one side is white and by checking if that side is facing up or down, you’re able to predict if it will rain. A quick Google search didn’t really validate this story and I’m not going to look very into it. To be honest, I like to believe that these are magical leaves, I think that’s pretty cool.

IMG_9455

After a 45 minute hike, we arrived at this beautiful waterfall. Mind you, I would say this is the second most touristy waterfall in the rainfall, we got even better ones! If you want to go super off the beaten path, you may, but I am completely unable to tell you how to get there. Also, the water was freezing for my standards. My true American boyfriend, on the contrary, found it cold but bearable. You could tell people apart very easily in this spot, people in the water were clearly not from Puerto Rico.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Back from the waterfall, we ended our first hike with a little sweat but still smiles on our faces. I was ready to get going and hit the beach but of course, this adventure was not over. My boyfriend was super ecstatic about hiking and stood firm on his original plan to reach the top. In the back of my mind I was prepared for this and had brought us lunch. Again, aren’t I the best?

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

We found a great picnic area for our gourmet meal, it was like being in elementary school all over again. I think companies should have field trips, just as we did back in school. We can all wear t-shirts, ride the bus together, learn about nature and stop at the shopping outlets on our way back!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Speaking of gourmet meal, take a look at our feast! This was probably the healthiest I ate during my two weeks in Puerto Rico, I do not regret that for one second. I’ve always heard that nuts give you a lot of energy, so I made sure to back plenty in case we got lost in the rainforest for three days.

We got on the car again to drive closer to the top and start another trail. On the way there, I worked my magic and was able to persuade my boyfriend into abandoning our super ambitious hiking plan and head to the beach (yes!). The beach was great and afterwards we had dinner at the Kioskos de Luquillo, which is a great stop after you go wandering around a rainforest.

All jokes aside, I really enjoyed hiking. It’s also always nice to go with someone whose company you enjoy, kinda crucial when you get lost in the rainforest for 3 days. We decided we need to go hiking more often. Come to think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever been hiking in the US. I find this hard to believe, but my brain confirms it. As long as I can get my picnic on, don’t encounter any bears and don’t fall off a cliff, I think I can get used to this hiking thing.

All pictures taken & edited by Cristina Nogueras – (iPhone 5)

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.

20131226-170735.jpg

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

20131226-170827.jpg

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)

Wordless Wednesday: Playa Crash Boat, Puerto Rico

image (21)

image (20)

image (22)Aguadilla, Puerto Rico – March 2012 – Photos by Cristina Nogueras ©