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A Cannabis Traveler’s Guide: Puerto Rico

I had the privilege and honor of visiting Puerto Rico this month, with a front seat to one of the coolest blossoming cannabis industries in the country (sometimes people forget… yes, Puerto Rico is a US territory). I went for a couple of reasons: I had travel credit on Southwest that was expiring, I’d been wanting to go for a long time, and my dear friend Carmen, who owns the San Juan-based travel agency Local Guest, had invited me to check out the medical cannabis industry around the island. I was finally able to slip away for a work trip/beach vacation, and it just so happened that my BFF Mikey (you’ll know him as Michael Cassini, founding father of The Cannabis Cactus) was free to join me. I couldn’t say no to a few days of adventure, sun, ocean, and weed, and with Mikey, travel is always a hilariously fun crapshoot because he talks to everyone and does pretty much anything he pleases.

Puerto Rico Cannabis Travel

Heidi | Mikey

Ok, so Puerto Rico is shockingly easy and affordable to get to from the Continental US… I flew from Denver, and though I took a brutally early morning flight, was basking on the beach by 3pm on the same day. We stayed in Ocean Beach area of San juan in an Airbnb, for which we paid $35/night. It wasn’t cannabis-friendly indoors, but one of the first things that we discovered about Puerto Rico is that NOBODY gives a damn where you smoke. In fact, as soon as we got onto the beach, our noses were welcomed by the aroma of sweet sweet cannabis, and we got right into making local friends and sharing joints.

Puerto Rico Cannabis Travel

Heidi | Mikey | Carmen

Carmen recommended several local dispensaries to us, and we checked out both Pura Cepa and Cannawave in the two days that we were in San Juan. The interesting thing about the cannabis industry in San Juan is that if you don’t have a medical card, you can enter, but can’t buy (that’s me). If you have a US medical card, you can buy everything EXCEPT flower, including kief and 1000mg edibles (that was Mikey). If you have a Puerto Rican medical card (like Carmen), you can buy it all, no limits… but watch yourself, because some of those edibles are incredibly strong (which we found out unintentionally one night before meeting Carmen for dinner). What we saw varied from 6mg per dose to 650mg per package, so be sure you know EXACTLY what you are buying and how much you’re indulging in.

Heidi | Mikey

San Juan, Puerto Rico

We spent much of our time in San Juan in the Santurce and Old Town neighborhoods. Santurce is where Carmen’s Local Guest studio is, and she already does some cannabis-friendly and community-building events in her incredibly rad space. Old Town is one of the favorite spots for tourists to check out, and boasts two castles that are hundreds of years old (it’s $7 for a ticket which gets you entry to both, and you could spend ALL day there if you so desired). We were traveling at the beginning of October, which is still technically hurricane season and hits right before tourist season starts, so Mikey and I felt like we had many places all to ourselves… we were even able to sneak in smoking a joint in the castle dungeon (complete with drawings and messages from prisoners, hundreds of years ago— super cool but creepy) because nobody else was around. There is a huge open grassy area in one of the castle courtyards, and I saw Mikey eyeballing a kite stand when he confessed he had never flown a kite before in his life. Thanks to a local family, we were able to wrangle a kite so that he could experience his first kite-flying adventure in an age-old castle overlooking the ocean. We ended the night with an incredible dinner at Cocina Al Fondo, an amazing restaurant in the back of an art gallery, with small plates of locally sourced food by Chef Natalia.

After two days in San Juan, Mikey and I headed just a bit inland (it only takes an hour to drive across Puerto Rico from North to South, and a few hours horizontally) to New Era Cannabis Humacao, where we got a VIP tour of their beautiful grow facility. It was the first time I’ve experienced a recycled rainwater system in a cannabis grow, which was cool to see, and their production facility was excitingly innovative while being comfortingly familiar of the many grows I’ve experienced in California and Colorado.

Puerto Rico Cannabis Travel

Mikey flying a kite

Mikey and I spent the next couple of days smoking and eating weed instead of learning about it, and also eating various types of Mofongos (YOU MUST TRY THIS) and with a luxury beach condo in Luquillo for just $55/night, we definitely couldn’t go wrong. One of the most beautiful places in Puerto Rico is the El Yunque National Forest, which is incredibly green, lush and terpey, and offers lots of hiking and even natural waterfall diving spots. We also had the opportunity to do an all day snorkeling and island cruise with East Island Excursions to Culebra, which is listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world every year.

Puerto Rico Cannabis Travel

Heidi Keyes

Honestly, you guys, as a vacation destination and a cannabis one on top of that, Puerto Rico was incredible. Puerto Ricans are not only extremely proud, vibrant, and fun, but insanely kind and welcoming (also gorgeous… they’re all like, super hot. I need their skin care secrets). We were absolutely delighted at the quality of their cannabis scene, and how willing people were to talk with us, explain things, recommend products and dispensaries, and just generally welcome us into the industry and to their island. I can’t wait to go back… and thankfully, that looks like it will happen sooner than later, because Puff, Pass & Paint is hitting San Juan soon. Adios y hasta pronto!


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