One of the perks of grad school is that I occasionally get to travel to some amazing destination that I couldn’t otherwise afford. It’s enabled me to travel to Alaska, Portland (back when Oregon was exotic to me), Dublin and by proxy Paris, and Moscow. …Okay, it was Moscow, Idaho, but close enough.

If you’d have told me at the beginning of grad school that I would have the opportunity to travel to some amazing destinations from all corners of the world, I’d never have believed you. I definitely think that something of that magnitude would be hard to believe. Even though I’ve traveled to some great places already, one destination remains on my list – Jamaica. I know that this is a stretch, but wouldn’t it be great? All of those beautiful beaches and accommodations, like these villas in jamaica are out of this world, and just being able to relax and unwind in this country is exciting to me. My friend went not so long ago and said that if my grad school ever gave me the opportunity to go, that I shouldn’t even hesitate in agreeing. But this hasn’t happened yet. I’m just trying to look forward though, as I have a brilliant destination to visit next.

My next grad school adventure is taking me to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in June. I’m giving a talk about my research for the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, which was a great conference when I attended in Dublin. I’ll be able to vacation in Puerto Rico for three days after the conference since my department doesn’t mind if you take personal days, as long as it doesn’t make the flight more expensive. I have read that Puerto Rico is the perfect destination for cheap solo travel (click here to see my source) so I am very excited to be able to explore and relax.

Considering they allow us to enjoy some vacation time while away on these trips, it’s making me want to give a talk at a conference in Costa Rica with these Guanacaste excursions catching my eye! I feel like I’ll want somewhere exotic again after I’ve spent some days in Puerto Rico.

So the big question is…what the heck do I do while I’m there? Other than sit on a beach sipping rum, of course, which is how I plan to spend at least half of my vacation time. I’ll already be hiking in the El Yunque rainforest, which is a trip organized by the conference. I’m excited because not only have I never visited a tropical rainforest before, but I get to do it with other nerdy evolutionary biologists. I’m also considering visiting the Arecibo observatory. Contact is my favorite movie of all time, so I feel like I kind of have to visit the gigantic telescope.

Do any of you have suggestions on what I should check out? I’m still debating if I’ll stick around San Juan, or if I’ll rent a car and be more adventurous. I will be traveling alone, so I don’t know how brave I’ll be about heading to the opposite side of the island or a totally different all together. But if you’ve been to Puerto Rico, I’d love to hear what you think!