Mann-Pirates of the Caribbean

December 29, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

The Mann and I have always loved to travel.  At first it was un-sophisticated and perhaps somewhat irresponsible: we were young, we had credit cards and jobs, we did whatever we wanted and after several years we wound up with a pile of debt.  In our early years, we traveled a lot to Disney World and Mexico but not much anywhere else.  During the recession, we scaled back and spent our vacation days at a family property in Florida.  While I will never complain about Florida vacations, we were definitely in a rut, bored and disconnected.  Things were not so fabulous at the Mannsion.  So… At the beginning of this year we decided to recommit to engaging travel, discovering new places and each other.  We needed to bring a new energy into our lives, reconnect and explore.

We kicked off our mission with a trip to Puerto Rico!  As I mentioned in a previous post, we started a new tradition of surprising each other with travel details.  For this trip, the Mann chose the hotels, restaurants and activities.  We arrived at San Juan airport and immediately hit the road.  I was so excited because I had no idea where we were going (ok, maybe I had a suspicion, shhh).  We drove east for about 45 minutes until we reached the sleepy coastal town of Fajardo.  As we arrived at the Waldorf Astoria (!!!), a huge rainbow straddled the property as if to welcome us to the hotel, the island and this new chapter in our lives.

Firstly, the Waldorf Astoria is HUGE and comprised of several unique resorts.  The Mann chose the more secluded Las Casitas which is a village of colorful, 3-storied villas overlooking the ocean and adjacent golf course.  After a tiny kerfuffle about our room (they were oversold and put us in a different room type than was booked), we settled in, took in our surroundings and started our adventure.

Photo courtesy of El Con Resort

We walked around the sprawling resort and checked out the pools, ocean views, fountains and little patio bar in our neck of the woods.  We then ventured over to El Conquistador, the other part of the resort where there were even more pools, bars, restaurants and a FUNICULAR!  What’s that, you say?  It’s like a gondola but rather than being suspended from cables, it is on a ground-mounted track that goes up a very steep hill.  We took said FUNicular to one of the resort’s casual restaurants in the marina, Ballyhoo Bar & Grill, for dinner.

Photo courtesy of El Con Resort

Ballyhoo is a huge, totally open-air tiki hut at the edge of the water where you can see boats lit up in the marina and hear the waves lapping on the shore.  We had a good but not especially memorable dinner, several drinks and then headed out for another stroll through the property.

We popped by the casino and night club in the main building of the El Conquistador, relaxed in the beautiful lobby and tried to find our way back home.  The Mann had more surprised in store…

The next day we headed over to Palomino Island, the Waldorf’s private beach.  The resort itself is situated on a cliff without beach access.  But who needs a beach, when you can have an entire island?!  We jumped on a ferry for a quick trip to the island.  We grabbed a couple of lounge chairs on the quieter part of the beach (the area closest to the ferry has mini golf, water sports, a restaurant and a couple of bars; hence children, noise and more people).  The water was beautiful, the beach was picturesque and the drinks were cold and delicious.  We hung out for a few hours looking out at the tiny Isla Palominito which we recognized from the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Once back at the main resort, the Mann dropped me off at the spa for a massage.  A friend who recently visited the area recommended the hot stone massage and that is what was waiting for me when I arrived.  The spa, like the resort, is huge.  I hung out in the hot tub, steam room, sauna and lounge until my appointment.  I am a massage junkie, but rarely get them at resorts because they are so expensive.  I’m so grateful that the Mann spoiled me … by the time I was done, I felt 5 pounds lighter, 10 years younger and like I was floating on air.

But wait, there’s more!  Stay tuned for our off-property adventures and mind-blowing meals.


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