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Told by: Anja Kropkowski & Carrie Miskill

Decisions to travel can be tough to make, there are many things to consider: cost, scheduling, who to travel with, where to go, etc. But for the two of us, both twenty-something personal trainers stuck in the never ending cycle of winter weather in Baltimore, the choice wasn’t too difficult. Being the beach loving- adventure seekers that we are, the invitation to join in on a Capital Adventure to Rincon, Puerto Rico seemed like an ideal getaway to sunshine and saltwater, but there was a slight catch- we would be competing in the Rincon Beachboy SUP race on this trip. Obviously that sounds awesome, right? To us, it was actually a bit intimidating considering that we have never competed in a SUP race before nor did we have time to adequately train (since it was winter and all). Honestly, we were also a bit unsure about traveling with a large group of strangers (who wouldn’t be!?).

So we went back and forth on the decision to go on the trip, but after a pep talk from our fellow adventure seeker friend and Cap SUP’s very own, Max Power, and some further deliberation the decision became easy and we decided that we couldn’t miss out on such an amazing trip.


a sunset over a body of water


a cup of water on a beachWe arrived to our home for the next 5 days, the Sunset Paradise Villas, late on Thursday afternoon, just in time for the sun to set. The villas, being just steps away from the beach, offered a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean and Desecho Island. The view only seemed to get better each morning as we drank our morning coffee while watching the sun rise. Morning coffee was followed by rooftop yoga sessions under the warm sun to a serene ocean wave soundtrack.


a group of people on a sidewalkOutside of our villas we spent a majority of our time outdoors (of course). On one of our mini outdoor adventures we hiked the Gozolandia waterfalls where we all enjoyed watching each other jump from cliffs and rope swing into the crisp water flowing from the mountains. We also visited several different beaches throughout the trip, all of which were gorgeous. When we planned to come on this trip we both agreed to spend as much time on the beach as possible because every moment spent in the sand and salt water was time well spent. One of our favorite beaches was Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla. The crystal clear aqua blue water framed by the bluffs and blue sky were like a scene straight from a postcard.  We spent one of the hottest days of the entire trip at Crash Boat Beach swimming, snorkeling, jumping off piers, paddleboarding, and soaking up the sun (maybe a little too much sun for Carrie). It was the definition of a perfect beach day.

Although we were well aware of the damage done to the island by Hurricane Maria before the trip even started, the spirit of Puerto Rico seemed almost unaffected. Even in the paths clearly damaged and destroyed there was always still so much beauty. We can only hope that the island continues to rebuild and recover and that the beauty remains.


We competed in the 10th Rincon Beachboy race, which is held annually at the Villa Cofresi.  On the morning of race day our villas were filled with excitement and pre-race jitters amongst our squad of athletes. Many of the more experienced paddlers seemed to have their pre-race ritual down to a cool, calm, and collected science while we nervously geared up and followed their lead. Before we knew it, it was start time! Hundreds of paddlers, of all ages and experience levels, lined up at the buoys marking the starting line. The announcer counted down from 10 and just like that we were off to our first race ever! Being newbies to this whole SUP race thing, we opted to compete in the 3 mile race and paddled our hearts out for the entire duration (a little over an hour) of the race. We navigated from buoy to buoy to finally the beach, our legs were like jello but our hearts were full (Anja’s face was also sunburnt). We were immediately greeted by cheering crowds and smiling faces upon sprinting through the sand covered finish line. The cheers and congratulations continued as race volunteers placed medals around our necks. It was truly an amazing feeling. After the race, we reunited with the Capital SUP squad on the dance floor to celebrate, fresh coconuts in hand! Villa Cofresi knows how to party!


a woman standing next to a body of waterTHE FOOD:

Lets just start off by saying that Puerto Rico has some delicious food, but one of the best meals each day had to be breakfast, which was expertly prepared by Uncle/Chef John every morning. It was such a treat to have breakfast with all of our travel companions right in our villas to get us ready for a day of a new adventure. Our very first meal in Rincon was quite memorable for both the food and the atmosphere. We went downtown and enjoyed some delicious beer and our very first round of tacos from Rincon Beer Company. Our tacos (which were absolutely delicious) and beer were followed by laughs and dancing to live music. If there was one food that we were most excited about each day after being out and about, heading from one adventure to the next, with our stomachs growling it was most definitely TACOS. Just about everywhere we went we tried every fish taco we could find and it was like they got better and better each time. Outside of tacos we also had our fair share of tostones and as much fresh seafood as we could find. Another highlight on the food scene was our last meal on the island, which consisted of a feast at Pool Bar. We must have ordered 4 or 5 times by the time the meal was over, but it seemed like just about everything on the menu was worth having. Our favorites from Pool Bar were the fresh coconut wahoo ceviche (that we’re still dreaming about), the coco loco sushi roll, and the crab wontons. It was a perfect way to watch our last Puerto Rican sunset through the palm tree lined skies with bellies full of amazing food.


In the beginning, we boarded the plane from BWI to SJU as two friends eager to embark on a whole new kind of adventure with 25 other strangers and in the end, we departed from SJU to our home towns with collected seashells, tanned skin, and a journal full of new memories with our group of amazing new friends. We can’t thank Kevin Haigis and the Capital SUP squad enough for the wonderful trip, as well as everyone who helped out to make this trip fun and easy for everyone involved. One of the biggest things we can take away from our experience was the positivity. As mentioned earlier, we are both personal trainers which means we also tend to have hectic schedules that can be pretty stressful, so being able to travel with people who give off great energy and POSITIVE VIBES was truly a blessing.  The experience we had was one of a kind and we are ready for the next Capital SUP adventure.


Anja & Carrie

Recap Video: Brian Meyer

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Photos: Brian Meyer & Jeff Sanfacon:

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