Puerto Rico Blog

If you never visited Puerto Rico, this island is one of the must see destinations because it is full of life and lots to do. Puerto Rico is an American territory but main language is Spanish and English is second language. We all heard the stories about the pirates and this is where all started. Puerto Rico is known for its Rum. The world known Rum company Bacardi is located in Puerto Rico. Before you pack your suitcases and get all excited to visit Puerto Rico here are things that you need to know.

Visa

Applying for Visa can be hard because you are basically visiting a US territory. Once that is taken care then call it a success because I will mention another surprise for you in the end of this blog. If you are a US citizen, you do not need a passport, you only need a photo ID. I recommend you carry your passport in case you want to jump to neighbouring islands.

Rent a car

If you want to move around in the Island, it is better to rent a car. It may look like a small island but moving around paying for taxi can be costly. The downside of renting a car is finding a parking space if you are staying in Old San Juan. Here are the reasons why I recommend renting a car:

  1. Old San Juan to El Yunque Rain Forest- 1Hr drive
  2. Old San Juan to the Ferry-ship- 1.5 Hr drive
  3. Old San Juan to the Longest Zipline on the other side of the island- 2 Hr Drive
  4. Weather is unstable, so imagine taking a cab and then it starts raining. Hard luck!

Old San Juan

I highly recommend staying in Old San Juan. The area is full with hotels, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping and all tourist attractions. It is very nice and safer than other areas in Puerto Rico. You can walk around or hop in a cab for another attractions such as the casino, or the fortress San Cristobal. Old San Juan is full of life at night. Lots of bars and clubs for dancing depending on your choice. Old San Juan has beautiful architecture. Lot of colors and nice building with graffiti on the walls. You can relate the city to the Spanish history.

El Yunque Rainforest

El Yunque rain forest is about one hour drive from old San Juan. The forest might seem small on the map, but do not be fooled. You will need a whole day to hike depending on the weather conditions. The forest is known to be safe from any wild animal and rarely you will find snakes. You can drive inside the forest, and find parking on a week day. Also there are maps for the trails provided if you decided to hike. The trails are muddy so a special shoes and ponchos are a must. There are some waterfalls inside the forest and some people like to to swim. Another cool activity that I did was ziplining inside the forest. Check the weather in advance because sometimes they close due to heavy rain.

Vieques or Culebra

There are two neighbouring islands that are about 45 minutes ferry ride. This part is tricky when it comes to seeing these islands. These are the things that you need to know about visiting these amazing islands. Vieques is known to have great activities. Culebra is known for the best top ten beaches in the world.

  1. Check the weather before you go
  2. You have to be at least 2 hrs in line waiting for the ride and you maybe lucky to find a place on the ferry.
  3. Once you buy the tickets, stand in line, and do not leave. Local people have the priority, so purchasing the ticket does not mean you have a secure place on the ferry.
  4. Book a hotel with transportation in advance because you will be lucky to find any.
  5. Depending on which island you are going, they have different times of leaving and returning.
  6. The other way to get to these islands is by plane.

Night Life

I love music and dancing, and Puerto Rico is the place to be. We all know Mark Anthony, J Lo, and famous “Despacito” song by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. All from Puerto Rico. If you are ready to get down, you have to practice on some moves.

Food

Puerto Rico has many different types of cuisines but they are famous for their Mofongo. They have nice breakfast places in Old San Juan. You can also hit some nice restaurant on the weekend depending on your mood.

Surprise

Once you get the visa to Puerto rico, it does not hurt to jump to the Virgin Islands-St. Thomas- check out my blog “Surrounded by water”– It is with no doubt heaven on earth. Flights are so cheap from Old San Juan to Charlotte Amalie is about $140 round trip and 45 minutes flight. ENJOY PARADISE.

Conclusion

I had great time in Puerto Rico, check the weather forecast before you travel to that amazing island. People are very nice and friendly. The island has so much to offer and lots of beautiful scenery. I highly recommend visiting.

Bonus Tip

If you are from the US, T-Mobile phones work good without any extra charges. ATT has better connection in the caribbean islands.

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Salsa Dancing

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Thank you for Stopping By!! I have something really exciting for you, ENJOY!!!

Here is a video of me dancing with one of the world dancers from NYC. A little teaser for some of my hobbies. Something I do while traveling also. I will be posting more videos often.

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Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

Most of you, of course, have been to Cancun Mexico, but many people fall into these things that if known in advance, it will save you money and time. Here are the things that you do and don’t do in Cancun once you land.

  1. Don’t take 1st offer as final.

As soon as you get your luggage, you will see people approaching you to offer a cab with jacked up prices. Depending on where you going it should be no more than $25-$30 going from airport to downtown area. Also it is better to arrange your pick up through the hotel, it will be way cheaper.

  1. Double check on menu prices before you eat in restaurant tourist areas.

Speaking of service, Can I say Horrible? YESSS!! I ordered 3 mini-tacos and 1 drink for $17. Now am not cheap but that was very expensive comparing Mexico VS USA with price and portion, also took 30 minutes to deliver dish from time of taking order. And not to be mean, tacos were horrible, I got charged extra for cheese.

  1. Do not buy tour packages online.

If you are looking to buy tour packages online, prices are triple what you can pay if you walk around and purchase from a legit agent in a kiosk that has a business card, cellphone and location. I wanted to buy tour for 4 activities online, price was $365 vs $60 with the same tour. $305 is lots of money to do with in Mexico. Coconut water was $10 in Cancun VS $4 in Puerto Rico. That is a rip off.

  1. Keep your immigration paper entrance.

When you go through customs, they give you a red paper that has a number once you enter the country. DO NOT THROW IT IN TRASH! I had to pay $30 to get another one because I didn’t know I had to keep it, and of course NO ONE TOLD ME. DUH!

  1. Airport Terminals

Read you tickets carefully and make sure you will be dropped off in the right terminal. My ticket said Air-Mexico and in small letters beneath said operated by Delta airline. My taxi driver dropped me on a terminal where Air Mexico operates but wrong terminal, so I had to pay $15 for another cab to drive me from one terminal to my actual terminal so I won’t miss my plane. Luckily I made it on time. I guess my mistake but I was PISSED!

  1. Drones

Do not use drones in tourist areas like I DID!! I had to run away once I got caught. HEHE!! Watch videos below

Click >> Drone Video Click >> RUN AWAY

  1. Do not drink tap water, buy sunscreen from the where you coming from as sunscreen is triple what you pay for in Mexico. Keep cash money at all times. You will need Pesos. Make sure that when you exchange currency, the rates are good. Also buy OFF spray to keep mosquitos away. OH BOY!! those bites are no fun. Hydrate at all times, because the sun will get you.

Cancun was a great experience. There is so much to do there. Tulum, Coba, Cenote, Snorkeling, Museum under water and Cancun beach are small portion that I got to do in 3 days. Do not waste your time in clubs and drinking, I mean you can drink but not excessively because it will drain your energy and you will miss the real fun adventure. JUST SAYING!

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Cuba Libre!

Cuba Libre!

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The minute I found out about the restrictions for all US citizens from traveling to Cuba, I was very disappointed. Main reason was I had planned to visit Cuba and explore the island with their unique culture, food, music, dancing and history. Coming from a person who loves traveling and adventures, I had to sit back and think why would president Trump would take such a decision?

I want to eliminate the fact that some people think Trump is reversing everything Obama administration did. Also take out the fact  Trump wanted to build a wall between USA and Mexico. Without any bias, I asked myself the very good question that any person with brain would think about.

For most of us who heard him say that he did that because he doesn’t want to support the military of Cuba. Hmmm! OK!! Let’s agree with him on that one. One reason is not enough to convince half the nation to make such decision. In any situation when making a major decision in life, people with common sense they create a list of pros and cons. So let’s put these and see which are more and based on that we can make that decision and agree.

Pros

  1. This act means no more support to the military and the Cuban government.
  2. Support the human rights for the Cuban people against the regime.
  3. By giving them “appeasement” the Trump administration argues that this act is giving the Cuban government more power, it must be reversed.

Cons

  1. Cutting off the people of Cuba from resources coming from outside.
  2. Business owners in Cuba already have hard time making a living, by diminishing tourism, their income decreases.
  3. Cubans’ main income is from nowhere except the island itself, their additional income from from tourists.
  4. Many Cubans had their homes as a place to stay for tourists. Their income comes from renting space, cooking food and also dance lessons. 3 incomes from one visit.
  5. Americans will look for other ways of traveling to Cuba, either through Canada or Mexico.
  6. This ban will create more conflicts between 2 countries.
  7. Communist countries will take advantage of this act and give the Cuban government a better reason to keep doing what they are doing.
  8. American airlines will lose their route to Cuba, and some revenue will be lost.
  9. Average family income in Cuba is $25/month. Tourists will help those families survive for 4 month if they spend $100. Imagine!!!
  10. By this decision, we created a wall restricting Americans to have the freedom of travel which is against our values, with some exceptions.

The good news is that you can still travel to Cuba under certain rules and regulations. But it is more difficult than before. To find out more click here.

I believe deep down that these restrictions are for long term personal business interests. Who knows? Time will tell. You be the judge. Viva CUBA!!

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Salsa Dancers!

Most new salsa dancers are making huge mistakes. But Wait!! Before you start judging, please read till the end.

We always love to have new dancers joining the community, and I am talking about the Latin dancing scene such as salsa and bachata etc. I have been dancing for the last 10 years going on 11. I traveled many countries, danced and performed in many congresses but that does not give me a superior title to be one of the best. In fact, I consider myself a non-stop learner who always willing to learn and no matter what level I am. Here are the common mistakes:

  1. BE HUMBLE

Most New dancers think that they got it all! They think by learning a routine and performing, they made it to the top. For instance, I asked a girl to dance which she is only been dancing for 6 months, her reply was “oh, I have a line.” Now I don’t want to go with details because she end up dancing with me BECAUSE THERE WAS NO LINE. WOW!! Alien Ramirez will kindly tell you that someone asked before and will love to dance after. Ladies take notes.

  1. TRAIN VS CLASS

Most dancers think that only classes is going to get them better. YES and NO. Yes, a class will give you a great kick start, but if you want to make it to the top, you have to TRAIN. Do you think Emily and Junior, or Karen and Ricardo made it to the top because they took classes? They train 8-9h/day. NO JOKE!!

  1. Cross-training

Salsa is not only one kind of dance, it is a combination of many dances put together. Take different kind of dancing lessons and learn different styles. This will help a lot to enhance your body movement. Franklin Diaz trained afro-Cuban, jazz, ballet, mambo and list can go on for 15 years to become the dancer he is today. Oh, not to mention his performances in flamenco. He learned from the best to be the best.

  1. Social Dancing

Most common mistake at congresses is that same city or studio dancers dance with each other. Now why would I want to dance with someone I dance with on daily basis?  Think about it for a second. Dance with people you don’t know, you will learn different moves, styles, leads, follow, and will be more interesting. Dancers don’t take it personal.

     5. Workshops

Most dancers at the workshops complain they are tired and sleepy. Main reason is because.. of course… partying and drinking till 6am. If you are serious about dancing, you will manage your time properly, excluding some exceptions.

 Dancing is all about having fun, do it from your heart. Feel free to comment in the box.

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Salsa Ambassador “Albert Torres”

 Albert Torres/Salsa Ambassador/father of many dancers

Many of you in the salsa community know Albert Torres who passed away not too long ago, was the biggest and most influential salsa and dancing promoter and father figure to many champions around the world. I can write a book on what Albert Torres has done for the community.

I met Albert Torres personally in 2009 at the Houston Salsa Congress. I was much honored to meet such a great, humble, and talented person. After I started digging deep into his work, he is not only a guy that goes on stage and announce the dancers. I found out that he is like a father for all the dancers around the world. He helped so many children around the world with scholarships and donations to keep out of the streets and give them a purpose and hope to fight and strive for the best in life. These talented amazing dancers look up to him and follow his advice. He was such a great inspiration for many champions and pushed them to the extreme limits so they make it to top. Many of these dancers travel from all over the world and compete in Miami Florida for the World Latin Cup dance (WLDC) every year. I was very lucky to be part of his presence and events for the past 8 years in different parts of the world. I remember him saying at the Houston Salsa Congress 2017: ‘there are many people came today to see you on stage, have fun, put on a good show, and dance from your heart” with his final famous ending “UNA BUUYAAAA.”

Albert Torres emphasized not only on dancing, but also to know all the different components of dancing, such as productions, singers, writers and musicians. He wanted us to learn and be more competent about the music so we can advance and dance better. One of his favorite workshops was to have meet and greet to talk about music and history of salsa with the singers that come and perform at the congress. Albert Torres was a well experienced man who traveled, connected, and created big healthy communities all over the world. He made salsa globally known. I wrote this blog in his honor, as because people like him should always be remembered. Our mission is to keep his message  and continue to spread love, harmony, teamwork, knowledge, peace and happiness around the world.

UNA BUUYAAAA!!!

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Albert Torres Giving his Speech Before Shows

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