Sunday, October 30, 2011

Puerto Rico Gets Highest Hotel Occupancy

Puerto Rico is the place.  The evidence points to Puerto Rico getting the highest hotel occupancy ever.   According to a new report by Smith Travel Research, Puerto Rico got the highest hotel occupancy rate among the Caribbean’s main destinations during the first eight months of 2011.  The report was presented during the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico got a 73.5 percent occupancy rate so far this year, ahead of competitors including the Dominican Republic, which was second at 69.8 percent, Aruba 66.5 percent, U.S. Virgin Islands, 64.5 percent, Barbados 63.1 percent and the Bahamas, 61 percent.

The Smith Travel Research report found, that the hotel occupancy rate in Puerto Rico rose 4.2 percent compared to the January-August 2010 period.  Revenue per room jumped to 6.8 percent.  The Puerto Rico Tourism Company shows a total of nearly 3.1 million hotel room nights sold so far for 2011, the highest amount ever for the island of Puerto Rico.  It looks like more people each day, are discovering that, Puerto Rico Is The Place!





Sunday, October 23, 2011

WestJet Airlines Adding Flights To San Juan, JetBlue Expands In Puerto Rico

WestJet Adding Flights To San Juan, Puerto Rico

WestJet Airlines, the Canadian carrier is adding service to Puerto Rico.  WestJet is adding San Juan to its itinerary, The Calgary based airline, will introduce nonstop flights from Toronto, to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.  Puerto Rico is a new route for WestJet.

Starting November 5, 2011, WestJet will take you twice a week to experience the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  WestJet will launch new nonstop flights between Toronto and San Juan, twice weekly on Saturday and Sunday.  One-way fares begin at $189 plus taxes and fees.

WestJet is the third international carrier to enter the Puerto Rico market this year, following British Airways and Condor of Germany.

JetBlue Expands In Puerto Rico

JetBlue Airways plans to add nonstop service from San Juan to St. Thomas and St. Croix as the airline continues to expand in Puerto Rico.  The airline wants to add more options and more destinations for visitors and residents of Puerto Rico.

JetBlue will launch twice-daily flights between San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) and St. Thomas International Airport (STT), as well as once-daily flights between San Juan and St. Croix International Airport (STX) starting December 12, 2011.

JetBlue is now Puerto Rico's largest carrier.  It now offers more than 30 daily departures.
During this past year in Puerto Rico, JetBlue has grown 38 percent.  The New York based carrier has surpassed longtime local leader American Airlines as the biggest airline in Puerto Rico.

Later in the year JetBlue will increase service between San Juan, and Santo Domingo from three to five daily flights.

Puerto Rico Is The Place shirt

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Catch The Fever And Celebrate Puerto Rico In Style

The island of Puerto Rico is getting much deserved exposure, due to great amount of publicity, thanks to the upcoming movie premiere of "The Rum Diary", with actor Johnny Depp.  The Rum Diary is based on a novel "Rum Diary" written by the late Hunter S. Thompson in the late fifties.  During that time, Hunter S. Thompson worked as a journalist in Puerto Rico.  The Rum Diary was filmed entirely in Puerto Rico

Actor Johnny Depp, has talked publicly about the great experience he had while working in Puerto Rico and about the wonderful people in Puerto Rico.  It looks like Johnny Depp has discovered that Puerto Rico Is The Place.  Catch the fever of Puerto Rico, and be in style! 

Take a look at some of our store items and celebrate Puerto Rico in style:








Sunday, October 16, 2011

Leatherback Sea Turtles In Puerto Rico

At least four of the seven species of marine turtles are found in the waters of Puerto Rico, or nest in the  beaches of Puerto Rico.  Those turtle species are: the Leatherback, the Hawksbill, the Green Turtle, and the Loggerhead.  The Hawksbill turtle and the Leatherback sea turtle, are critically endangered.  All coastal waters surrounding Culebra and Mona Island in Puerto Rico are designated as critical habitats by the federal government.

Leatherback turtles can be found primarily in the open ocean.  Leatherbacks follow their jellyfish prey throughout the day.  Its favored breeding beaches are mainland sites facing deep water and they seem to avoid those sites protected by coral reefs.  Leatherback turtles have the most hydrodynamic body design of any sea turtle, with a large, teardrop-shaped body.  A large pair of front flippers power the turtles through the water.  Like other sea turtles, the Leatherback's flattened forelimbs are adapted for swimming in the open ocean.

The coastal area from Ocean Park to Isla Verde, lined by condominium towers and hotels, has the most popular beach spots for tourists and locals in San Juan, Puerto Rico, bringing thousands of visitors on a daily basis.  Despite the crowds and development, this sandy stretch remains a prime nesting ground for sea turtles.  Beach goers in Puerto Rico, have been able to witness first hand the birth of Leatherback turtles.  An example of this happened along a crowded stretch of beach in Ocean Park, in the San Juan area.  Dozens of endangered sea turtles were born, emerging from their sandy nest after two months of incubation and headed straight to sea, to the delight of people on hand to see the spectacle.  The crowd of people at the beach helped the newborn turtles to the water, as they welcomed them to the world.  Most hatches take place at night, to protect the turtles from predators, so this was quite an experience for the crowd.

Some species of sea turtles, are believed to return to nest many years later, on the same stretch of coastline where they were born.  Pregnant sea turtles come out of the sea and lay their eggs into the sand.  Once hatched, the baby sea turtles emerge from the sand and quickly try to reach the sea.  Sea turtles face threats from predators and human intervention before they are even hatched.  Local environmental officials, activists and community members work to protect these nesting grounds.  Recently, a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources held a legislative hearing, on a bill introduced by Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, which would authorize the allocation of $5 million annually over each of the next six years to protect endangered sea turtles in Puerto Rico, other areas of the United States, and around the world.

Take a look at a video taken of a group of newborn Leatherback turtles making their way to the ocean:


Friday, October 14, 2011

Actor Johnny Depp Talks About Puerto Rico And Puerto Ricans

It looks like Johnny Depp has discovered that Puerto Rico Is The Place.  In a recent interview, Depp talks about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans.  Also, actor Johnny Depp talks about his experience working in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  

Depp was in Puerto Rico filming the movie "The Rum Diary."  During an interview for the promotion of the movie, The Rum Diary, Johnny Depp said, "The people of Puerto Rico are the sweetest people on earth." 

Take a look at a video of the interview:


Here is a video of Johnny Depp meeting fans in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico during the filming of The Rum Diary:

Video of a surprise birthday party for Johnny Depp in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while filming The Rum Diary:

The Rum Diary will be in theaters October 28, 2011.



Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Puerto Rican Pastel

Puerto Rican Pasteles
The Puerto Rican "Pastel" is the gastronomical symbol of Puerto Rico.  Pastel is a dish which includes diced pork with olives, chicken, capers, raisins, chickpeas, spices, sweet peppers, sofrito, and garbanzo beans.  This mixture is centered in dough made mainly of green bananas with a small portion of plantain, yautía, and potato.  The dough is tinted with annatto oil.  It is wrapped in palm leaf, tied with string, boiled, and later served with arroz con gandules (yellow-rice with pigeon peas).

The boiling and tying of the "Pastel" is Taino, the plaintain dough is African, and the meat and raisins are Spanish.  This is the fusion of the three cultures of Puerto Rico.  Pasteles is the signature dish during Christmas in Puerto Rico.


Puerto Rican Pastel






Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day Trip To Lago Dos Bocas, Utuado, Puerto Rico

After a friend returned from a trip to Lago Dos Bocas (Lake Dos Bocas) in Utuado, Puerto Rico, and told us how much she enjoyed it, we decided to make the trip ourselves.

From the San Juan area we took Route 22 (Autopista /Expressway) West to exit 75B, onto Route 10 South.  At KM 69.7, on Route 10, we turned left onto Road 621 toward Road 123, following the signs for Dos Bocas.  After approximately 10 minutes, we passed a Texaco gas station on our left.  Five minutes ahead we saw a sign to Lago Dos Bocas on our right.  We turned right onto Road 123, and continued until we made a left at the Embarcadero Sign (Wharf).  Be aware that, Road 123 is a small and winding road.

Once you park, you will be greeted by personnel of the different restaurants offering you their menu, and hoping that you choose their restaurant.  We had heard of the restaurant,"El Fogon de Abuela", a long time ago, so we asked for them and we were shown to the owner of the restaurant, who happened to be doing the greeting.  You have to take a motorboat to cross the lake, that is where all the restaurants are located.  Each restaurant has their own motorboat, and the government also provides free service.  It is a very enjoyable 10 or 15 minute ride and the view is breathtaking.

I ordered the "Asopao de Camarones" while on the boat and the owner phoned it in, as this dish takes a bit of time to prepare.  Once we arrived at the restaurant, we had a glass of the house red wine, which was excellent.  My friend ordered "Mofongo" and we also had "Sorullitos".  For desert we shared a "Flan de Coco" which was the perfect end to the meal.  Everything was well presented and extremely tasty.  The food is typical Puerto Rican cuisine, served on a covered terrace, where you can enjoy vistas of the lake and mountains.  It was a wonderful experience and so different from dining in San Juan.

"El Fogon de Abuela" is family owned and run, and they live up to the standards of "Abuela", who is now retired.  Her granddaughter is now the chef.  The service was a bit slow, but we were enjoying the wine and the view, so we did not mind.  We had more time to enjoy the surroundings and breathe in the fresh air.

Route 22 passes by an Outlet Mall In Barceloneta, so if you want to, you can stop and shop.  Just make sure you leave early, because the restaurants are only open until 6:00 PM.  The restaurants are only open on the weekend and certain holidays.

If you wish to extend your togetherness with nature experience, stay the night at Casa Grande  Mountain Retreat, which was named Green Inn of the year by the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association.  It is a short drive away on mountain roads.  Cabins have no television, radios, or air conditioning, so you can enjoy nature and the sound of the Coqui, the little frog native only to Puerto Rico, as well as birds and a owl or two.

Lago Dos Bocas, Puerto Rico
Lago Dos Bocas, Utuado, Puerto Rico
Lago Dos Bocas, Utuado, Puerto Rico
Lago Dos Bocas, Utuado, Puerto Rico
Lago Dos Bocas, Utuado, Puerto Rico
El Fogon De Abuela Restaurant Lago Dos Bocas, Puerto Rico
El Fogon De Abuela, Restaurant, Lago Dos Bocas, Puerto Rico
Sorullitos, El Fogon De Abuela, Lago Dos Bocas, Puerto Rico
Mofongo, El Fogon De Abuela, Lago Dos Bocas, Puerto Rico
Asopao de Camarones, Lago Dos Bocas, Puerto Rico
Lago Dos Bocas, Puerto Rico
Flan De Coco, El Fogon De Abuela, Lago Dos Bocas, Puerto Rico
Lago Dos Bocas, Utuado, Puerto Rico
From there you can visit The Caguana Indian Ceremonial Park, The Arecibo Observatory, or take in some ziplining at Batey Zipline Adventures.  Give Lago Dos Bocas a try and reconnect with nature!