Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

Now it would be quite the stretch for me to say that I have a lot of friends at school, but the few that I do consider dear to me, they’ve been places all around the world. From countries such as Germany and Thailand to Panama and Jamaica, they make me seem less of an international student myself considering how I’ve only travelled within my own country. Well to get back at the lads, I recently took a trip down to Puerto Rico and goodness gracious me, was it not just the perfect little slice of heaven on earth.

From John. F. Kennedy airport in New York to San Juan in Puerto Rico, the total flight time is about four hours. For those travelling there for the first time, those hours fly by almost instantly, but I know that for myself going there a second time, each second would be more agonising than the last because of sheer anticipation of what lies ahead of me. Upon arrival in San Juan, I made my way to the accommodations that I’d be staying in for the next two weeks, Universidad del Salgrado Corazon, almost immediately. Now it is important to note that I did not make this journey by myself even though I make it seem that way. I travelled with a group of 23 other students from my college and having numbers like this for a trip like that makes the whole experience 23 times better.

Puerto Rico gave me many precious blessings but at the same time, nearly ended my life on the one occasion. In a country with fantastic long stretches of exquisite beaches, the group decided to go try one out on the first weekend of our two week stay. Now, between you and me, I cannot swim, but I did not let that dampen the mood and I was there, participating in all of the activities the glistening water had to offer. But here’s the thing about us Zimbabweans, when we’re having fun, we want more and when more is offered, we usually take it up without thinking twice about things. I suffered from this lapse of judgement when the group decided to charter a boat and go to a good snorkelling spot, for a round of snorkelling. So there I was, on the boat, getting all geared up with the latest in snorkelling equipment and just for extra safety, I was provided with two extra floatation devices so my confidence was sky-rocketing through the roof. Goggles, set! Breathing apparatus? Working and ready to go! Ability to stay afloat ad swim? Well…I dived right in and nearly didn’t surface had it not been for the grace of God, and the unbreakable determination to not die that day. I have to say though, with the adrenaline I experienced in that moment, it was most exhilarating.

Moving on from that terrible, but hilarious episode, we now arrive at the culinary taste of Puerto Rico. Everything from traditional food to foods you could enjoy anywhere else in the world, was served with a warm and inviting smile and accompanied by a nice refreshing beverage of one’s liking. Walking through the cobbled streets of Old San Juan that served their own side dish of captivating history, it felt like you were walking through a food festival that ran throughout the entire day. What I enjoyed the most was how with the exuberant bars and enthralling restaurants that were all centred close to each other for your convenience, most of them offered free samples of the delights they had on offer. It is quite embarrassing to say that you got a bit tipsy because of a free sample, but considering how I had 6 free samples of a special type of vodka shot along with other beverages, I’m proud to say that I had the most fun of my life, absolutely for free!

Puerto Rico is a country full of so many amazing delights, from spectacular beaches, to an incredible taste in each region you visit, there’s always something to do, but never the time to do all of it. It’s a country that you need to visit about five to six times just to be able to say you did half of all the things that you put on your bucket list. Extraordinary is a word that can probably come close to really encasing the entire atmosphere of the trip in general and if there’s ever a place I would recommend anyone to go to, Puerto Rico would definitely be it.

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