Archives for August 2016

10 Things You Shouldn’t Miss on Puerto Rico

East of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands lies the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. Approximately 3,500 sq. miles and about the size of the state of Connecticut, PR is a US territory and US citizens do not need a passport to travel to and from Puerto Rico. With one of the busiest cruise ship ports in the world, many tourists visit Puerto Rico before or after embarking on a cruise.

Puerto-Rico-Sunset copyright Rum Therapy
Although the list of things to see and do on this culturally colorful island is extensive, we’ve listed 10 Things You Shouldn’t Miss on Puerto Rico to get your travel planning started.

1. Old San Juan
Founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, the 7 square block area contains a wealth of history, culture, restaurants and shopping. Take time to walk down the streets taking in the colors, the historic buildings and delicious aromas surrounding you. Look to see if you can find the blue cobblestones in old town. The bricks were brought over on Spanish ships in the 1700’s and time and moisture have caused them to have a blue hue, but word has it that they are slowly being replaced due to cracking and unevenness.

Blue Cobllestones in Old San Jua - copyright Rum TherapyBlue cobblestones

2. El Morro and San Cristobal
It’s hard to miss the forts of El Morro and San Cristobal while walking around Old San Juan. Construction on Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) was begun in 1539 as a way to protect the city from an attack by sea, but it not completed until 1787. Castillo San Cristóbal was built to protect the city from attacks by land. The views here are phenomenal and history is always so much more interesting when you’re able to experience it in person.
Read more about exploring El Morro here

El Morro copyright Rum TherapyGun turret in El Morro

3. El Yunque
El Yunque National Forest is located approximately 25 miles southeast of San Juan.  Receiving over 200 inches of rain a year, this jungle like area is filled with lush flora and fauna (some species only found here), beautiful waterfalls and trails that crisscross the area for easy exploration. Listen to the sounds of 13 species of coqui fill the air and keep your eyes open for the endangered Puerto Rican amazon (parrot) – the only remaining native parrot in Puerto Rico.
Read more about exploring El Yunque here

El Junque copyright Rum TherapySmall waterfall in El Yunque

4. Drink a Piña Colada
Named the national drink of Puerto Rico in 1978, you won’t have a problem finding a bar or restaurant that serves one. In fact, two places in San Juan claim to have originally created the creamy rum drink, Barrachina and Caribe Hilton Hotel’s Beachcomber Bar. If you want to do a bit of “research”, you could try one at each location to see which you prefer.

Pina-Colada at Barrachina's by Rum TherapyPiña Coladas at Barrachina’s

5. Eat
Puerto Rican cuisine was not something we were familiar with before we started visiting the islands and now we love it. Not typically spicy – but well spiced, it seems to be a unique and tasty blend of influences from different ethnic groups that settled on the island. Mofongo (mashed plantain filled with steak, chicken, shrimp, pork, etc.), Alcapurria (fritters made of green bananas and filled with seasoned meat), Mallorca (Puerto Rican sweet brean), Bacalaítos (fried codfish fritters), Lechón (roasted pig) and Arroz con gandules (the Puerto Rican style of rice and beans made with pigeon peas and sofrito) are just a few of the succulent delicacies or dishes you might find.

Mofongo - copyright Rum TherapyMofongo

6. Roadside Food Stands
As if there’s not enough good food to choose from in Puerto Rican restaurants, there’s another place to sample great local cuisine with the added bonus of chatting with the cook/owner. On roadways all over Puerto Rico you’ll find roadside food stands selling everything from barbeque chicken to arepas to pinchos.  Want to wash it down with smething cold? Try a Coco Frio (coconut water), Medalla Light (the local beer) or another Piña Colada. Our favorite? A row of food kiosks close to Luquillo Beach!

Luquillo Food KioskLuquillo Beach Food Kiosk

7. Rum

Called the rum capital of the world, Puerto Rico sells 70% of the rum sold in the US. Bacardi is the best known and has a distillery with tours on island, but if you have the chance, be sure to sample the local favorite Don Q and our favorite – Ron Del Barrilito Three Star, considered the “Cognac of the Caribbean”.

Puerto Rican Rums - copyright Rum TherapyPuerto Rican Rums

8. Check Out the Non-Tourtisty Areas
Sure it’s great to be able to visit the popular tourist attractions in PR – they’re popular for a reason! But there are so many other things to experience on PR if you have the time and some transportation. If you’re staying on-island and  can rent a car, check out some of these less touristy, but still cool destinations. Spend some time exploring Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla – the site of a former military port that still has some of the military pier infrastructure, surf in Rincon, a sleepy town on the west coast that is a favorite of expats, kayak over to Gilligan’s Island (Cayo Aurora) from Guánica and do some snorkeling, visit Café Gran Batey Coffee Farm in Utuado for a tour, a tasting and some coffee beans to bring home, and explore the neoclassical architecture of Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second largest city, founded in 1692 by Ponce de Leon’s great grandson.

Boat-Crash-Beach copyright Rum TherapyCrash Boat Beach

9. Explore Puerto Rico’s Beautiful Out Islands 
There are approximately 143 islands, cays, islets and atolls surrounding the island of Puerto Rico and the only inhabited ones – Vieques and Culebra are great for day trips or longer and easy to get to via ferry.

Sun-Bay-(500)-OSun Bay, Vieques

10. Relax
After all the sightseeing, don’t forget to just take time to relax, breathe in the tropical air and enjoy the sunshine. After all, you’re in paradise!

Rio Grande, Puerto RicoGreat place to relax in a hammock in Rio Grande

 Find many of the places mentioned above on our Puerto Rico Map

To see more posts on Puerto Rico and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

10 Things You Shouldn’t Miss On Virgin Gorda

Ahhh, Virgin Gorda. This hilly beauty is rumored to have been named “The Fat Virgin” by Christopher Columbus who, upon approach, thought the profile of the island resembled a plump lady lying on her side. At 8 square miles, it is the 3rd largest island in the British Virgin Island chain, and although it offers a variety of luxurious resorts and villas and one of the highest rated beach attractions in the world, it still somehow maintains it laid-back island feel.

Are you planning to spend some time on this beautiful island? Here is a list of 10 Things You Shouldn’t Miss On Virgin Gorda to help you start your planning.

10-Things-You-Shouldn't--Miss On Virgin Gorda

1. Hike the Trail Through The Baths
Giant boulders surrounded by crystal clear, blue water. The path takes you through a maze of boulders and calm, turquoise pools of water where you can spend hours lounging and exploring. The path leads to Devil’s Bay – another stunning white sand beach. See Exploring the Baths of Virgin Gorda

The Baths - copyright Rum Therapy
2. Top Of the Baths
After exploring The Baths and Devil’s Bay, make a stop at the Top of The Baths for a little shopping a dip in the freshwater pool and a delicious rum cocktail with a beautiful view of Sir Francis Drake Channel and Tortola in the distance.
Find out more about the Top of the Baths here

Top of the Baths copyright Rum Therapy
3. Spring Bay
Just north of The Baths is another great beach and area to explore. Same huge boulders, more crystal clear water and a few less people. Sound good? It is…

Spring Bay copyright Rum Therapy
4. CocoMaya Restaurant & Bar
After a full day of sun, salt water and fresh air, there’s nothing better than watching a colorful sunset with a cold drink in hand from a cushy chair around a beach campfire – well, technically a gas fire pit, but it’s a beautiful atmosphere nonetheless. CocoMaya is located on the beach  just south of Spanish Town. We hear the food is pretty awesome as well.
Find out more about CocoMaya here

CocoMaya - copyright Rum Therapy

5. Saba Rock
Technically located in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, this private island offers a lot in just less than an acre. Saba Rock boasts not only a famous over-the-water lounge bar and restaurant, but also an 8 bedroom hotel, 10 slip marina, gift shop, gardens and sun deck. Go for dinner, the views, and a famous Saba Rock Banana Daiquiri.
Find out more about Saba Rock here

Saba Rock - copyright Rum Therapy
6. Leverick Bay
 Leverick Bay is a Resort & Marina located on the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. Laid back, colorful and fun, this is a great place to dock a boat, rent a suite, enjoy a scenic dinner at the Restaurant at Leverick Bay or sip a rum punch while savoring a roti at the beachside Jumbie’s bar.
Read more about Leverick Bay here

Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda - copyright Rum Therapy
7. Michael Beans Show
This musician, sailor and showman puts on a “Happy Arrr” musical pirate show at Jumbies at Leverick Bay Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5-7 pm during the season. The entertaining two hour show includes a lot of audience participation and good clean pirate fun for the whole family.

Virgin-Gorda-8-(600)-O
8. Hog Heaven
Hog Heaven is a Bar & Grill sitting high atop Virgin Gorda with an absolutely beautiful view of the entire North Sound. If you have the chance, take the drive up the hill to enjoy a plate of delicious BBQ, a Blondie Special (a rum drink named after the owner) and a spectacular view of the entire North Sound, including Necker Island, and on a clear day, Anegada.
Read more about Hog Heaven here

Virgin-Gorda-9-(600)-O
9. Rent a Dinghy and Tour North Sound
Got a full day to explore? Rent a dinghy from Leverick Bay (call ahead to reserve one – they sell out) and take your time exploring all that beautiful North Sound has to offer, including Bitter End Yacht Club, Saba Rock, Prickly Pear Island,  and Fat Virgin Café. Our rental instructions included a warning – seaplanes have the right of way!
Read What to See and Do In North Sound here

Dinghy in North Sound - copyright Rum Therapy
 10. Hike Virgin Gorda Peak
To be honest, you can get some almost as good views of both sides of the island (without hiking) from the road that takes you to the trailhead, but making the trek to the top is worth it to check out the foliage (seems odd to see cactus on a tropical island!) and to burn off some of the amazing rum drinks you’ve probably been enjoying in paradise. Best to go on a clear day for the best views (as  you see, we didn’t), and bring water and a snack. It takes about 50 minutes to get to the summit and there are picnic tables at the top.

Virgin Gorda View - copyright Rum Therapy
BONUS –
Savannah Bay
From the moment we first sailed past this pretty beach, we knew it would be one of our favorites. Usually very quiet; it’s a long arc of soft, light sand fringed by gorgeous turquoise water. Great place to put your toes (and more!) in the water…

Virgin-Gorda-2(a)-(600)-O

Find many of the places mentioned above on our Virgin Gorda Map

To see more posts on Virgin Gorda and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Happy National Rum Day! Test Your Rum IQ!

Happy-National-Rum-Day copyright Rum Therapy
To celebrate National Rum Day on August 16, we’ve assembled a short and informative quiz regarding this most fabled of spirits! Test your Rum IQ by comparing your answers to the answers here: Rum Quiz Answers


National Rum Day Quiz*

1. What is the oldest brand of rum in the world?

2. What is the strongest rum in the world?

3. It is reported that ____________ had two drinks of rum before taking his famous ride.

4. What is the most expensive rum in the world?

5.  Sailors in the British Navy were given rations of rum to prevent what disease?

6. Which US President served a barrel of Mount Gay Rum at his inaugural party?

7. Which of the following is not a nickname for rum?
a. rumbullion
b. kill-devil
c. nelson’s blood
d. pirate’s drink
e. cup o’ tot
f. rumbastion
g. navy neaters
h. splice the main brace
i. demon water


Happy National Rum Day!

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without
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*Fun Fact Sources: Huffington Post, Ministry of Rum, Caribbean Journal, Mag for Women, Mobile Cuisine

Raspberry & Rum Slushie


The kids are heading back to school and we know that we’ll soon be heading into (gasp!) fall – but while we can, we’re gonna hold on to the last weeks of lovely warm summer with a delicious, cold and fresh Raspberry & Rum Slushie. You can substitute strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or a combination of berries to make use of fruit that’s fresh in your area.

Raspberry-&-Rum-Slushie-(600)-O
Raspberry & Rum Slushie
(makes 1)

1 c. fresh raspberries
2 oz. white rum
2 tbsp. sugar (add more or less to suit your taste)
1/2 tbsp. lime juice
1-2 cup(s) ice

Add the raspberries, rum, sugar and lime to a blender and blend until smooth. Add 1 cup ice and blend until smooth and slushy. Add more ice, if needed, for a thicker consistency.

 

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Boozy Banana

We recently received a bottle of Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum and looked to the Blue Chair Bay Recipe Page for a little “rumspiration”! Everything looked delicious, of course, but one recipe stood out and so we gathered the ingredients and gave it a try. The recipe? A Boozy Banana – easy, cold and tropically delicious! Excuse me while I go make another…

Boozy-Banana-(600)-O
Boozy Banana

(from the Blue Chair Bay Rum website)
(makes 1)

2 oz. Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
4 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. cream of coconut
1 oz. orange juice

Add all ingredients in a shaker filled with a few ice cubes/ Shake and strain into glass filled with ice. Garnish with cherry and orange wheel.

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC