Category Archives: summer

The Picture-Perfect Beaches of Puerto Rico

Yo sé lo que son los encantos
De mi borinquen hermosa
Por eso la quiero yo tanto
Por siempre la llamaré Preciosa

-“Preciosa,” Rafael Hernandez

Marc Anthony’s rendition of the song, “Preciosa,” a love song to the island of Puerto Rico, still gives me goosebumps. If you ever want to know why I love the beach so much, all you need to know is, it’s in my blood. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, I always have been and always will be most at home near the ocean.

Visiting my family on the island is a rare, special treat these days, but every time I go, I try to see someplace new. If you’ve never been, here’s some of what you’re missing out on: some of the world’s best beaches, three bioluminescent bays, the third largest cave system in the world, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System, the world’s best food (I’m only a little biased), historic Spanish forts, lush green mountains with awesome hiking trails, tiny coquí frogs (our version of crickets at night), “coco, piña, parcha” ice cream at the beach, and so much more.

Our trip to PR in August 2016 was just what I needed — and by that, I mean, lots of beach time. Here are some highlights of our time at Cerro Gordo Beach, on Gilligan’s Island in Guánica, and on Vieques Island. If you’re looking for paradise-like beaches, read on!

1. Balneario Cerro Gordo

Located in Vega Alta, PR, about an hour west of San Juan along the northern coast, this is a government-run beach, part of the Parque Nacional de Cerro Gordo. We went on a Monday, so there were hardly any other people at the beach. I was excited to see the crystal clear and perfectly calm waters. My dad quickly found some palm trees from which to tie our two hammocks. (That’s one thing I love about PRican beaches — there are plenty of palm trees for shade and hammocks. You just have to watch out for falling coconuts!) Continue reading The Picture-Perfect Beaches of Puerto Rico

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6 Summer Things to Do in Northern Virginia

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but here in Northern Virginia, it already feels like summer. The weather has been incredible. So, in the spirit of feeling like summer is just around the corner,  I’m going to share six of our favorite things we did last summer in the NoVa, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas.

1. Luray Caverns

We visited the Luray Caverns on Memorial Day weekend, which, sure enough, meant it was ridiculously crowded. We waited in line for about 1.5 hours! But I’ll tell you what — it was absolutely worth it. (By the way, on the same grounds, they have a garden maze, rope adventure park, snack bar, and train and toy collection, among other attractions, to keep you and the kids busy during the wait.)

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The Luray Caverns are a registered U.S. Natural Landmark, and the largest series of caverns in the eastern United States. To call them breathtaking would be an understatement. We have been spelunking and visited caves in other parts of the world, but the Luray Caverns are unlike any of them. Magical. Continue reading 6 Summer Things to Do in Northern Virginia