Bioluminescent Bay, Pina Coladas, and Weed
Are you ready to embark on a wild and exciting adventure through the thriving cannabis culture of Puerto Rico? My first peek into the cannabis community surprised me within an hour of my flight landing. Our first stop was a late-night grocery store snack mission. I spotted a weed leaf-covered bag of cannabis-infused coffee called Cannabissimo on the shelf and thought to myself, finding weed on my trip here would be easy. So, grab your bong and let's explore the cannabis scene on the beautiful islands of Puerto Rico!
Cannabis in Puerto Rico
When you google search "Cannabis in Puerto Rico," there isn't much information about the lively cannabis community! Despite limited public information, medical cannabis use has been legalized on the island since 2017, providing residents access to the plant through licensed dispensaries with a medical card. Coming from a fully legalized country, I was excited to return to my roots and explore the black market for local herb.
La Hierba Locale
We began our first day on the beautiful beaches of San Juan. Warm tropical breezes, perfectly blue skies, and the sweet smell of cannabis. From tokers lounging on the sand to those strolling along the shore: A weed smoker's dream. As we wandered, I noticed a dude chillin', leisurely smoking a joint, and asked him if he could point me toward some good local bud.
To my surprise, he worked at a nearby medical dispensary. We had a friendly chat about what it's like to work in cannabis in Puerto Rico and, of course, what it's like to work in cannabis in Canada! Regretfully, he informed me that because of the medical card policy in Puerto Rico, he couldn't help but keep asking around, as cannabis was literally everywhere, and someone would definitely hook me up.
A few minutes later, while getting an iced coffee in a nearby cafe, my friends started waving at me through the window, giving me the universal signal for "puff puff." I actually ran outside, and the man standing with them said, "I heard you were looking for weed."
Word spreads quickly in beach towns. The weedman tells me he gets his green from medical dispensaries, charges me 20$ for about two grams, and just like that- I've picked up weed on day one!
There is cannabis everywhere on this island. An hour later, near a more touristy beachfront, there's a guy sitting at a busy corner to sell cannabis to tourists, openly smoking a fat blunt asking, "Weed? Weed?".
Later that night, at a massive street festival in the old town of San Juan, with music on every corner, food vendors, and lots of dancing. Walking past a streetside hotel, the MC was hyping the crowd outside, and I clearly hears him freestyling that you could buy marijuana inside for $5.
Undeniably, the medical market has created an opportunity for black market cannabis. This always makes me wonder: Why not legalize it recreationally?
Los Dispensarios Médicos
When in San Juan I couldn’t resist the urge to try to check out one of the medical dispensaries. Some of them are small street side shops with opaque windows, while others are giant warehouses. As a curious adventurer I walked over to the closest one in San Juan although it was intimidating. It was a big warehouse- barbed wire fences, security cameras, and a vacant parking lot. The entrance was clearly marked and more welcoming once I got closer. I buzzed the doorbell, and a young guy came to answer, asking for my medical card. Trying to speak in my terrible tourist-level Spanish, I managed to say, “Soy escritora de cannabis de Canadá” (I am a cannabis writer from Canada), and explained that I wanted to see what a medical dispensary is like in Puerto Rico, hoping it would get me in.
I have received the same response from every dispensary that only serves medical card patients in every country and city I have ever visited; No card. No entry. As a seasoned cannabis traveller, I wasn’t fazed. After all, I already had my weed, and let’s be honest, the least exciting part of cannabis tourism is visiting dispensaries.
The Weed in Puerto
Let's talk about the weed I scored outside the coffee shop. I got a party pack of mixed nugs in a little container. Admittedly, it wasn’t the prettiest weed I’ve ever seen- some of the nugs had undesirables like anthers (nanners)- but it was very comparable to average mid-grade Canadian cannabis. The high was potent, and the flavour was delightful. It tasted fruity with tropical and citrus notes- the perfect flavour profile for paradise.
When it comes to finding the perfect spot to light up, Puerto Rico has got you covered. With its breathtaking scenery and crystal-clear blue waters, you won't have to look far to find a picturesque smoking spot. While smoking on the beach is a popular pastime for many, it's important to keep in mind that smoking openly on the street can attract unwanted attention from the police. But don't let that put a damper on your high! Locals and tourists alike enjoy smoking cannabis discreetly in public places- it's all part of the Puerto Rican charm!
The Island of Vieques
If you're a nature lover looking for an adventure, Vieques is the place to be! This island paradise is known for its wild horses (yep, you read that right - wild horses!), birdwatching, and breathtaking beaches. But that's not all - Vieques is also home to a magical bioluminescent bay that will leave you spellbound.
As if that weren't enough, the island is very cannabis friendly! Its laid-back vibe and sustainable ecocentric living make it the perfect place to kick back and relax with a joint in hand. Whether you're spending a lazy day on the beach or hiking to the Cieba Tree, there's no shortage of things to do and see on this incredible island. Our crew spent three glorious days exploring Vieques, and it was hands down the highlight of my trip. From the friendly locals to the stunning scenery, Vieques has it all.
The Local Green
We were lucky to become friends with a local tour guide who brought us some of the best local weed. It was a bag of locally grown cannabis from last year's outdoor harvest on the mainland. The buds were shimmery green, and the smell was tropical as fuck. Beyond stoked to smoke some local flavour, we ripped a fat blunt- it turns out blunts are a local favourite here.
Meanwhile, the small grocery store in the city center sells Delta 9 vape pens and CBD pre-rolls. Curious, I unrolled one of the pre-rolls and found some stick bits and leaves. It wasn't the best, but it's always nice to have some backup when you're on the go.
You cannot miss this! It's an absolute must-see. It is a kayak tour that will leave you breathless. It cost around $60, and it's worth every penny. This is no ordinary excursion; it's a night tour across a world-renowned bioluminescent bay. It is one of only five bays like this in the world, and it's filled with bioluminescent plankton.
The tour guides will pick you up at a designated spot and take you to the bay, where you will get your kayak. As you paddle, the phytoplankton are disturbed and magically light up the water, creating an ethereal glow that will leave you in awe. Trust me; it's an otherworldly experience. And here's a pro tip: smoke a doobie before you go! The vibe is max chill, and many guides also smoke weed. So, get stoned and paddle through the sparkling bay under a starry sky.
San Juan Airport
A week in paradise was not enough. I would def recommend staying forever… I can't wait to go back! Although I will admit to bringing back a couple bags of Cannabissimo coffee...As tempting as it was to take some of the local weed home, I never travel with cannabis. Especially leaving Puerto Rico, the San Juan Airport has lots of K9s on duty.
To my absolute surprise, I found an excellent alternative - CBD drinks at the airport convenience store! I grabbed a strawberry fizzy water with 10mgCBD and a bottle of regular water with 50mgCBD, which made my flight back to Toronto much more relaxed. Why don't all airports have these?!
Goodbye Sunshine, Hello Winter
A bittersweet goodbye. Puerto Rico is a paradise, from the wild horses in Vieques to kayaking the bioluminescent bay, the stunning beaches of San Juan, hikes to sacred trees, the abundant tropical birds, and sunsets. These islands have so much to offer, with no shortage of places for cannabis lovers to enjoy some green.
Thinking about going on a trip to Puerto Rico? Check out my newest Cannabis Travel Guide to Vieques!
Step into the world of tropical cannabis with Amanda as she travels to Puerto Rico on a spontaneous adventure to explore its vibrant, thriving cannabis community. From tasting the local strains to hidden smoking spots, we discover the culture and rich history of Puerto Rico's relationship with cannabis to give you an exciting look at what to expect when visiting! We also interview Cesar, a local BioBay guide on the island of Vieques, who shares his knowledge of the local cannabis scene. So pack your bags, grab your rolling papers, and join us as we discover the wonders of Cannabis in Puerto Rico and find the best smoking spots in paradise.