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Top Ten 2013 New Years Resolutions for Puerto Rico


As 2012 draws to a close, I've prepared a brand new list of New Year Resolutions for Puerto Rico. I've also got a list of Puerto Rico resolutions for you, dear reader, but these ones are for me. So I can discover even more about what Puerto Rico has to offer, and share those stories with you. And unlike getting in shape or going on a diet, these resolutions should be a whole lot of fun to cross off my list. Wish me luck!

1. Go kiteboarding

Photo © 15 Knots
My first experience with Juan Carlos Morales of 15 Knots was enough to make me a fan of kiteboarding. But our lesson, thrilling as it was, could have been even better had the wind picked up a bit.

One lesson is hardly enough to learn this sport well enough to go at it alone, but you know what? You also don't need too many more before you can feel the joy of the wind in your kite. One of my resolutions for next year is to go back for more. And for those of you who have never tried it, you'd be surprised how easy, affordable and enjoyable it is to learn.

2. Enjoy a food festival

Photo © Zain Deane
This resolution comes from long and satisfying experience. Ever since my first year participating at Saborea in 2010, I've been a huge fan of food festivals in general. And their popularity tells me that we'll be seeing more of them in the future. So whether it's Saborea, the Sofo Fest in Old San Juan, or another culinary celebration, I plan to attend at least one in 2013.

3. Attend a fiesta patronal

I'm ashamed to admit this, but I have yet to enjoy a fiesta patronal in Puerto Rico, and it's one of those must-dos on my list for 2013. These rustic folk celebrations of each town's patron saint is celebrated throughout the year all across the island. And rather than attend one of the major ones, like in San Juan, I prefer to visit a small town in Puerto Rico and enjoy the joy of a community coming together for a few days of revelry.

4. Stay at a new luxury hotel

Photo © St. Regis Bahia Beach
In 2012, two elite new hotels opened their doors in Puerto Rico: the St. Regis Bahía Beach and the Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Dorado. And in 2013, the Condado Vanderbilt will welcome guests for the first time in decades. Do I want to check in at one of these beautiful new properties in 2013? You bet I do.

5. Visit the Galapagos

On my list of ten things you probably didn't know about Puerto Rico, an island so remote and replete with a unique ecosystem that it's been dubbed "The Galapagos of the Caribbean." It's quite the trek from the west coast of the island, and it's not easy to even set foot on the island. But I'm committed to making the trip in 2013, to explore both what is above and beneath the waves at this distant jewel.

6. Play a round

Ok shameful admission #2: I have never played golf in Puerto Rico. But in this case, I have a good defense; golf has never been my sport. And for the record, I have walked on a few of the island's best courses. But in 2013, I'm willing to take a lesson or two on the shores of the Caribbean or in the shadow of the rain forest. Kinda like kiteboarding, I have a feeling it will be the first of many games played on the island.

7. Once and for all, learn craps

Photo © San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
I've been to San Juan more times than I can count. I've been to the casinos in San Juan practically on every trip. But for the life of me, I can't figure out how to play craps. That's not the fault of the casinos here; it's all on me. I first played the game in Las Vegas, and fared well. Then I took my "game" to the Sheraton Old San Juan and quickly lost my shirt because I had no idea what I was doing. Puerto Rico's casinos often hold lessons during the afternoon and early evening. And at one of those lessons, I'm going to master craps. And then lose. Again.

8. Buy local

Photo © Zain Deane
And by buy local, I mean buy local art. I have a lovely vejigante mask hanging in my home, but I want to add a bit more Puerto Rican art. In particular, I'd love to acquire a santo from a respected santero, a gorgeous stained glass work from Ferraioli, or something manageable from a gallery in the old city.

9. Ride a Paso Fino horse

Photo © Zain Deane
To be honest, I might have already done this; I've been horseback riding a handful of times in Puerto Rico. But I'm not a hundred percent sure, because I've also seen these amazing creatures in action, and that lovely, elegant gait is something I'm pretty sure I haven't yet felt beneath my saddle. I hope I get to experience what makes these fine horses earn the distinction of having the smoothest gait on Earth.

10. Cruise to PR

Photo © Zain Deane
The last of my shocking admissions is this: I have never, ever been on a cruise. And that's even more unforgivable when you consider that I live in one of the cruise capitals of the world. But that ends in 2013 (or at least, that's the plan), when I take my first cruise to the Caribbean, with a lengthy stop (I hope), in Puerto Rico.
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