We recently moved to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. I was a little nervous about the culture shock of leaving our hot, dry desert city and adjusting to small town, island life. It sounds weird, but it turns out growing up in Phoenix has actually prepared me for living in Puerto Rico.
Here are 10 ways growing up in Phoenix, Arizona prepared me for living in Puerto Rico:
Close connection to foreign countries.
It is faster to drive to Mexico from Phoenix than any state in the US, Mexico is Arizona’s neighbor to the South. Likewise, Puerto Rico’s closest neighbors are definitely not the US mainland (Hello Dominican Republic and British Virgin Islands)
Everyone is (a little) Bilingual
Anyone who grew up in Arizona speaks at least a little Spanish. I even attended a bilingual elementary school for English as Second Language (ESL program). Everyone speaks a little English in Puerto Rico. Many people are fully bilingual in both Arizona and Puerto Rico. Admittedly, Arizona Spanglish is a different dialect that the Puerto Rican Spanish, but it is a good foundation to build upon. Plus I was always really good at charades, so I can act out many difficult phrases.
There are more Snowbirds than Local Residents half the year
Winters in Phoenix are overrun by people from the Mid-west desperately trying to escape the cold and warm up. Since arriving in January, we have seen the population dwindle as the snowbirds leave the island for summer. I just cannot escape snowbirds!
Explore the incredible Art scene of San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Museo de Arts de Puerto Rico and the surrounding neighborhood.
Puerto Rico is known for amazing beaches and a variety of rum drinks, including the famous Pina Colada. What about Art? Today, I set out to explore the art scene in Puerto Rico, starting with the capital of San Juan.
Overview of Fajardo, Puerto Rico for Seven Seas beach, Bio Bay kayaking tours, scuba, dining, and the El Conquistador hotel.
Our first experience with Puerto Rico was Old San Juan, and I was hooked! When planning our next visit, we knew we needed more time, and we wanted to explore several areas of the island. We started in beautiful Isla Verde, just outside of San Juan, then rented a car and headed out to Fajardo for a few days. Six months later, I find myself back in Fajardo.
Fajardo is an hour East of San Juan, at the meeting point for the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea on the Northeast tip of the island. Fajardo boasts one of the world’s rare bioluminescent bays, a must-see at night during the new moon, when it is darkest.
For the luxury portion of our Puerto Rico vacation, we checked into paradise, officially known as the El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf-Astoria property. It has that Latin America laid back culture, but quite posh at the same time.
Our room was simple, with sunken bathtub and huge walk-in closet. The real in-room feature is the balcony!
The resort property is massive, with a little bit of everything. Just getting there involved driving through the enormous golf course (slight pun intended). There are several pools on each level, complete with poolside cafes, and many different restaurants. The engineering geeks (us) were very excited for the funicular, an inclined plane cable car, to carry passengers safely up & down the steep incline from the Lobby to a lower room level and the marina.