After a wonderful day in Old San Juan, we slept in the next morning and returned to Cafe Mallorca for breakfast. After enjoying a Cafe con Leche, we went back to the hotel, packed up, and picked up the car. We had a day of driving ahead of us.
We had booked a coffee tour through Airbnb Experiences. Puerto Rico used to be dotted with coffee plantations, but after the U.S gained control of Puerto Rico, sugarcane became the cash crop on the island instead. There are still a few coffee farms operating around the island that offer tours on select days of the week. This one had tours operating most days of the week and it was located in the middle of the island in the mountains of Adjuntas.
Our rental car was a 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage with low miles but the thing had no suspension. You felt every single bump and in Puerto Rico, there are a lot of bumps. For most of the drive, the car handled it fine, but when we got close to the coffee farm the roads turned to dirt and got steeper and we weren’t sure if our regular mid-size car could handle it. We ended up having to turn around and skip our tour. Once we got back to the land of cell signal, I reached out to Airbnb and they didn’t reply for a week. When they did they were very demanding that I talk to them even though I was back at work and not able to talk during work hours. After going back and forth with them for days and then getting lectured about using Google Maps, not Apple Maps (I never use Apple Maps so that lecture wasn’t necessary) they did refund my money, but it made me question booking experiences through Airbnb again. There is a reason this tour wasn’t on Viator or a more reputable site.
After deciding to bail on our coffee tour, we headed to Ponce, the second biggest city in Puerto Rico and the city hit hardest in 2022 by Hurricane Fiona. Many of the attractions in Ponce haven’t opened back up since hurricane Maria in 2017, but the architecture is just as beautiful as Old San Juan. We found a delicious spot for dinner at Rincon Argentino, an Argentinian restaurant. This is when I realized that if you get away from the tourist areas of San Juan, there is a good chance you will interact with someone who only has limited English. Luckily, my husband has been taking Spanish lessons for a while and he got to practice ordering for us.
After driving dinner and a little drive through town, we headed to our Airbnb in Fajardo. It was dark by the time we got in, but we were able to sit out on the balcony and listen to the waves before bed. Even though we didn’t make it to the coffee farm, we got to explore parts of the island that most people don’t get to see. I would say that while I probably wouldn’t attempt it again, I am glad we tried. Maybe on our next trip to the island, we will find a coffee farm that is a little easier to get to. Be sure to check back next week as I detail our experience at La Ruta de Lechon (AKA The Pork Highway).
Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Returning to Puerto Rico Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.