Paddle through a bioluminescent bay, go back to summer camp, and jump out of a plane.
Mon May 10 2010
Kayaking Puerto Rico
By plane: San Juan, Puerto Rico (4 hours from NYC)
Puerto Rico's natural wonders are the main draw for tourists with a wanderlust and a taste for cheap thrills. Landlubbers can lace up their Merrells as soon as their Jet Blue flight lands and jump on Eco Action Tours' guided hike of tropical rain forest El Yunque (787-791-7509, ecoactiontours.com; $50, park entrance fee $3). "This rain forest has more species than all the forests in the U.S. put together," says Eco owner Peter Zervigon. "It's like Jurassic Park in there." Those more interested in exploring under the sea can hop on East Island Excursions Sand & Sea day sail (877-937-4386, eastwindcats.com), where $69 (plus $14 for transportation from San Juan hotels) takes you to a coral reef and an uninhabited island for some snorkeling and beachcombing; in true island fashion, rum drinks are included onboard. Come nightfall, join up with Kayaking Puerto Rico (787-435-1665, kayakingpuertorico.com) for a tour of PR's bioluminescent bay, full of plankton that sparkle a brilliant blue when disturbed ($45, plus $20 transportation charge from San Juan)—you can't swim here, but your paddles and boat will glow. When hunger finally catches up to you, try the cuisine at Ajili Mojili (1052 Ashford Ave at Joffre St; 787-725-9195, hdmdesigns.com/ajili); named after a local seasoning, the restaurant offers Puerto Rican dishes like the house specialty, veal mofongo (fried mashed plantain dough with garlic and pork rinds, $23).
Hosteria Del Mar B&B (1 Tapia St; 787-727-3302, hosteriadelmarpr.com) offers rooms from $69 per night (including complementary breakfast), is located conveniently between the airport and scenic Old San Juan, and—best of all—is right on the beach.