I’ve been to Puerto Rico four times since 2011, which might make it my most traveled destination besides Science Guy’s hometown of Louisville. We boarded our honeymoon cruise from San Juan two summers ago and also went there for our first big vacation together  back in 2014. So it’s safe to say the Island of Enchantment has a special place in my heart.

I always recommend Puerto Rico as a destination because you can get a true tropical getaway without a passport or exchanging money. But even though it’s a U.S. territory, it is a distinct and different culture. Before I went with Science Guy in 2014, I had traveled there under the sheltering wings of tour groups and bilingual locals, so I hadn’t quite realized that Spanish is not just the language of the streets and homes but of the whole island. Even in some of the heavily-frequented tourist areas, many local business owners wanted to speak to us in Spanish, which surprised me a little, considering we were an Asian girl and a white man with a cowboy hat. I got a 5 on my AP Spanish exam 12 years ago, but oddly enough no one was talking about Paco’s favorite food and holiday. Weird, right?

I shot three whole rolls of film on this trip, which is a lot considering we were only there for about 5 days. That’s not much compared to the hundreds of digital photos we took, but film is slow, fiddly, and spendy to shoot and develop so I tend to be lazy picky about my shots. And it was worth it. There’s just something about film that’s a little bit magic, or else why would there be so many filters that try to emulate it? Here are some of my favorite takes from our trip in 2014. (3 years ago, wow!)