As the harsh winds of winter set in, the all-encompassing cold brings with it daydreams of sun dappled palm trees and warm ocean breezes. Though spring break seems far away and visions of the tantalizing tropics seem unattainable, with a little fiscal management and a lot of planning the vibrant island of Puerto Rico could be in your future.
The first step to achieving a tropical vacation is the purchase of a plane ticket. While this step is by far the most expensive and stressful, technology now offers some ways to cheat the system and find a ticket in your price range. The first rule is never travel when it is most convenient for everyone else. The cheapest tickets will always be for the most inconvenient times, whether that means during the nighttime, during the week, or the least popular part of spring break. When it comes time to purchase a plane ticket that follows all those guidelines be sure to look for your ticket under the incognito browsing option. Travel sites that offer discount tickets are able to track how many times you visit the site allowing them to hike the prices of the tickets they display to you when they can tell you are interested. Last but not least, my personal secret is the website hipmunk.com; this site compares multiple different flight deals, not only helping you find the cheapest offer but also the best airlines.
Now that you have a toolbelt of airline tricks, I will now try to persuade you on your destination. What if I told you there was an island only three hours away with an entirely different language, the only tropical rainforest in the United States, and warm sandy white beaches galore? Overlooked in past years, Puerto Rico is the ideal destination for those with not much money in their pocket but a great, adventurous spirit.
Whether or not you make it to Puerto Rico, recreate some paradise with the island’s answer to egg nog: coquito.
Makes About 7 Cups
Prep time: 5 min.
Total time: 5 min., plus chilling time
2 cans (12 oz. each) Evaporated Milk
1 can (15 oz.) Cream of Coconut
1 can (13.5 oz.) Coconut Milk
½ cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
½ cup white rum (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish, if desired
Cinnamon sticks (optional)
1. In bowl or blender, add evaporated milk, cream of coconut, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, rum (if using), vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. Blend on high until mixture is well combined, 1-2 minutes.
2. Pour coconut mixture into glass bottles; cover. Transfer to refrigerator. Chill until cold.
3. To serve, stir or shake bottle well to combine. Pour coquito into small serving glasses. Garnish with ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, if desired.