Why Yes, You Absolutely Deserve a Solo Wellness Weekend in Puerto Rico

·5 min read
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton


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Like everyone else here on Planet Earth, I've been at peak burnout levels the past few months years. So when I was offered the opportunity to take a "wellness–inspired getaway" for a few days in Puerto Rico, I immediately yanked my dusty suitcase out from the depths of my closet and added the city of San Juan to my weather app. I visited Puerto Rico in late February, and while said weather app forecasted three straight days of rain, every day I spent there ended up being absolutely gorgeous. It's like the old saying goes for the tropics, "if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute." That reasoning alone is why Puerto Rico is the place to go year-round.

Another thing: This is your sign to take a solo trip. I have never really vacationed on my own before, so I was nervous about traveling alone. However, my hosts at the gorgeous La Concha hotel made me feel so welcome, and everyone I met on the island was so warm and friendly. I feel like this trip got me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible: I hiked barefoot through the Yunque rainforest, took a dip in the literal fountain of youth, and ate so many (edible) flowers while learning a lot about Puerto Rico's wellness practices. I definitely left this trip feeling re-energized, and maybe I wouldn't have actually tried all of those things if I hadn't flown solo. Do yourself a favor and copy some of these excursions (esp the chocolate yoga).

Major shoutout to La Concha and Discover Puerto Rico for hosting me too! (Full transparency: This entire trip was paid for in order to write this review.)

Stay

  • La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort: A gorgeous hotel right on the beach in San Juan? An absolute dream. I'm not exaggerating when I say my room had one of the most ah-mazing ocean views. Every night fell asleep in my room to the sound of crashing waves and every morning I was treated to complimentary room service. What more could a girl want? My first night there I sampled La Concha's signature drinks in the stunning lobby bar and a got a full tour of its impressive beachfront grounds. There are multiple pools to choose from, including an infinity pool that overlooks the ocean (yes!) and is thankfully an adults-only section of the property (win/win).

Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton

Play

  • Coamo Hot Springs: According to legend, this is where Indigenous people native to Puerto Rico told Ponce de Leon to go when he was searching for the fountain of youth :0. These thermal baths have a high mineral content, and may or may not have healing and restorative powers, legend has it. The grounds are very chill and filled with a steady influx of locals who come daily to bathe in these ~sacred waters~ so you know it's the real deal. If you do visit, I recommend going early in the day, as midday becomes a lil too hot for comfort with the sun beating right down on you.

  • Casa Alternavida: During my stay, I spent the day at Casa Alternavida, a wellness retreat dedicated to helping people de-stress, promote well-being, and set new habits and intentions for a healthier and well-balanced lifestyle (amen). Located in Rio Grande, it's truly a stunning property with *the* warmest and friendliest staff you could imagine. A group of us spent the morning doing yoga on the rooftop with our instructor, Sitara. Their chefs prepared breakfast and lunch for us, with a wide variety of vegan, vegetarian, and—much to my delight—meat options!

Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
  • Rainforest hike: In the afternoon our Casa Alternavida guide Yancy took us on a hike in the El Yunque rainforest. This was a pretty challenging trek (and between you and me I'm a mfckn city gurl) but our guide was so knowledgable about the forest and our route I never once felt unsafe. In fact I even had–dare I say it—fun. I took my shoes off. Yeah, my shoes. In the muddy rainforest. According to Yancy, it's a process called "earthing" and is supposed to connect you more with nature, so I was into it. He showed us the different native plants and edible flowers (I actually ate a lot of flowers on this trip, tbh). The trail finished at the most picturesque river where we swam and took turns jumping from a rope swing! I know it sounds corny to say this this experience changed my life, so I won't. What I will say is that it made me see my relationship to both my well-being and nature a lot differently.

  • Chocolate Ohm: While I was in Rio Grande, I went to a *chocolate yoga* session, which was as delightfully weird as it sounds. We mediated in a penthouse studio room that had glass walls and a killer view of the ocean below. Our teacher performed a relaxing Reiki sound bath and covered our faces with chocolate masks while we meditated. Def a 10/10 experience! Please enjoy this embarrassing photo of me!

Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton

Eat

  • Pública: Pública is situated behind a chic gallery space which adds to the cute lil industrial-warehouse-meets-art-gallery vibes. The food not only tasted delish, but the dishes were practically works of art as well. I'd recommend trying their jollof as well as the mozzarella salad. As for desserts, the papaya y queso was h-e-a-v-e-n! I'll let the pics speak for themselves...

  • Más Abajo: Another absolute must-try spot is Más Abajo, located in Los Llanos, Coamo. Equal parts eclectic and authentic, Más Abajo is an outdoor restaurant with amazing Puerto Rican dishes and a fab garden atmosphere. I had a traditional Puerto Rican dish of plantain-stuffed pork that was divine!

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