15 Summer Essentials Inspired by the Beauty and Resiliency of Puerto Rico

15 Summer Essentials Inspired by the Beauty and Resiliency of Puerto Rico

By Huckberry
Huckberry’s new summer catalog celebrates the generosity and strength of Puerto Rico’s residents.

You’ve seen the headlines. Devastation descended on the island of Puerto Rico with the back-to-back hurricanes of Irma and Maria. Before that, news of mind-boggling government debt and an injured economy. 

Here in these pages, we have something else entirely. Some of my most treasured memories took place on this island. As a child, I ran like the wind through the lush, green mountain town where nearly every resident is a member of my family. What struck me as I followed the news in Puerto Rico from the comfort of the States was the absence of the island’s vitality, vibrance, and humanity in the media’s coverage. 

Nearly two years since Maria, many people stateside have expressed confusion on whether the island is ready for travelers. So as we brainstormed locations for this catalog, the jaw-dropping natural splendor and the generosity and strength of Puerto Rico’s residents echoed in my mind. We chose Puerto Rico as the proving ground for our summer gear—not just to show the world, yes, you can visit—but to highlight a few of the faces and places that make this island so resilient. There’s a different flavor of paradise here for every traveler’s interest—serene screensaver-like beaches, a food and beverage identity all its own, adrenaline-pumping outdoor recreation. Through our adventure around Puerto Rico and conversations with a local climber and disaster relief responder, the founder of a homegrown cocktail empire, and a surf-obsessed chef, we hope this catalog offers a look beyond the dreary headlines and into what makes this island one of the richest places on earth, no matter what comes its way.

—Luis Angel Cancel, Huckberry Managing Editor

Puerto Rico’s Cocktail King Leslie Cofresí

Knock a few back with Leslie Cofresí, the man responsible for elevating Puerto Rico’s craft cocktail scene to international acclaim. 

These days, no thirsty wanderer has any excuse to sip a sub-par cocktail, thanks to Leslie Cofresí. He, too, was frustrated by the limits of the islands beverage scene and decided to do something about it. 

In 2013, Leslie and his team secured a huge, historic building in Old San Juan and transformed it into La Factoría—a sprawling, multi-room, bar-scene-within-a-bar that’s become the beating heart of Puerto Rico’s cocktail renaissance. The venue’s landed itself on the prestigious World’s 50 Best Bars list for three consecutive years and has allowed Leslie to further his mission of making Puerto Rico the Caribbean’s premier craft cocktail destination. 

Get Leslies's Adios Pantalones cocktail recipe here.

Shop the Look
W&P Mason Shaker
Inspired by the classic southern icon, the Mason jar, the Mason Shaker is a unique four-piece cocktail shaker that harkens to America’s past.
Portuguese Flannel Vince Shirt
It’s no question that comfortable shirting is necessary for the dog days of summer, and when we’re really feeling the heat, we turn to Europe’s critically acclaimed shirt-makers at Portugese Flannel to cool us down while upping our style.
Viski Strainer
Upgrade your home bar cart with Viski’s professional-quality, handsomely designed barware. The combination of professional-grade quality and a luxurious polished teak wood handle make this strainer and absolute pleasure to use. Easy to clean, easy to use, and works with any kind of mixing glass.

Private Chef-Slash-Surfer Dario Tani

Living in Puerto Rico and traveling worldwide as a private chef, Dario Tani makes arepas when he’s feeling homesick for Venezuela.

Some celebrities were name-dropped, others kept private. There were mentions of Connecticut. The South of France. Waves in Kauai. Mega yachts. Conversations with private chef-slash-surfer Dario Tani feel like speed-reading the Robb Report. Through his profession as a cook-for-hire, he’s constantly traveling and whipping up meals for clients in ridiculously opulent settings. At home, however, he lives a much simpler life.

Dario’s obsessed with surfing—he had enough boards in his quiver to provide for each member of our crew that visited Puerto Rico. He’s more interested in local agriculture than the restaurant scene. And above all, he’s committed to his community in Puerto Rico, assisting Sylvia in the reconstruction of La Finca Victoria and hosting pop-up meals on the island. 

Get Chef Dario's rosemary arepas recipe here.

Shop the Look
Wellen Hemp Tee
Wellen's hemp blend fabric is hands down the best we've ever pulled on. The ace up their sleeve? Sourcing the highest quality hemp and blending it with just the right amount of organic cotton to create a soft and durable fabric that’s better for the environment so you can feel good about wearing it.
Pacifico Optical Campbell Sunglasses
From their homebase in Bondi Beach, Pacifico Optical designs a line of eyewear made with with high-quality Italian materials that captures not only their coastal lifestyle but also a discerning respect for what came before.

The Climber Behind the Caribbean's Only Climbing Gym

A leader in the climbing community, Bryant Huffman recently opened El Bloque in Puerto Rico.

Nearly a decade ago, the only rock climbing gym in San Juan was a disaster. It was staffed by young students that had no interest in the sport. The community of serious climbers was nearly non-existent. Accidents and injuries were common and, in no time, the gym closed. 

It was within this problem-plagued gym that Bryant Huffman first dreamt of opening a bouldering gym of his own. Along with a small crew of like-minded friends, Bryant sought out climbing spots all around the island, cleared trails, and tapped his unbridled enthusiasm to become Puerto Rico’s most visible rock climbing evangelist. He founded Climbing PR, a touring company that guides visitors and locals alike to outdoor crags. Over the years, the scene began to steadily grow.

We met up with Bryant as he was putting some of the finishing touches on the his new climbing gym, El Bloque. While there was still plenty left to do when we arrived, it wasn't hard to imagine the place filled with a new generation of climbers, solving problems and getting hooked on the thrill of overcoming their own personal limits. Shortly before our arrival, El Bloque had just held their soft-opening event with a promising turn-out. If the crowd at the event is any indication, the island is ready.

Learn more about Bryant's climbing gym, El Bloque, here.

Shop the Look
Wellen Hemp Stripe Tee
Wellen's hemp blend fabric is hands down the best we've ever pulled on. The ace up their sleeve? Sourcing the highest quality hemp and blending it with just the right amount of organic cotton to create a soft and durable fabric that’s better for the environment so you can feel good about wearing it.
Rylo 360° Camera Adventure Bundle
The high resolution, 360° adventure camera that makes any adventure truly unforgettable. Capture everything from your weekend skiing in Tahoe, your trek through Machu Picchu, to your family vacation to Hawaii with the help of Rylo for endless memories you’ll get to relive for years to come.

How a Teacher Started San Juan's Coolest Coffee Shop

Ábner Roldán’s Café Comunión is bringing attention to Puerto Rico’s coffee scene as it recovers from Hurricane Maria.

Once Ábner Roldán left his teaching job, his passion for coffee kicked into high-gear. He was crowned champion of Puerto Rico’s National Latte Art competition in 2014 and 2015 which brought on a wave of international opportunities, landing him and wife Karla in Sweden, Australia, and Italy before deciding to hone their trade in the coffee-obsessed city of Portland, Oregon. The plan was to soak up all the operational knowledge they could and open a shop of their own back in Puerto Rico, but shortly after their return to the island, Hurricane Maria made landfall and damaged the storefront they’d secured.

Rather than wait for repairs, they took to the streets, offering drip coffee curbside to offer a sense of normalcy to their neighbors. Today the shop reflects every facet of Abner and Karla’s journey—a community-centered meeting place offering an education in craft coffee culture, a peaceful respite from whatever challenges lie outside its doors.

Learn more about Abner and Karla's coffee shop, Café Comunión, here.

Shop the Look
Stelton Collar Coffee Grinder
Italian design duo, Daniel Debiasi and Fredrico Sandri have created a minimalists and anesthetic coffee collection designed especially for all coffee aficionados. With Collar coffee grinder you can grind your own beans by hand which is essential for the characteristic espresso brew.
Wellen Stretch Chore Coat
Soft, sustainable essentials for sun and swell. Pursuing your passion is 99% hard work, countless hours that all culminate into that 1% payoff. For those behind the scenes hours, turn to Wellen’s Chore Coat.

This Caribbean Oasis Enters Its Second Act After Hurricane Maria

On the small island of Vieques, La Finca Victoria eco-lodge is a paradise lost and found.

Travel’s not always glamorous. The business of getting to your destination is often full of delays, hunger, and restless impatience. With any luck, you’ll end up at Finca Victoria, an eco-lodge on the island of Vieques. Hurricane Maria destroyed most of its original structures and the future of this oasis remained in question. Sylvia DeMarco, Finca’s current proprietor, emerged as its savior.

Fifteen years ago, in the midst of a career in film, Sylvia began what would become routine visits to the property and struck up a close friendship with its previous owner, Corky. "When asked about my favorite place to visit from all my travels, I’d say without hesitation, ‘La Finca in Vieques,’" Sylvia tells us. The land and lodge had inspired Sylvia, a Puerto Rican native, to move back to the island from New York and start a hotel of her own, the enormously popular Dreamcatcher in San Juan.

Following the hurricanes, Sylvia offered help re-build the place that inspired her new path and Corky was so struck with Sylvia’s commitment to the project, she passed the property on to Sylvia. In the short span of time Sylvia’s been at the reins, she’s managed to revitalize La Finca to such a degree that it appears to have never even witnessed a storm. Inspired by this victory over trying circumstances, she christened the lodge with the name Victoria. 

Learn more about La Finca Victoria here.

Shop the Look
Sobremesa Blue Rim Margarita Set
100% ethical from start to finish, Sobremesa is crafting handmade glassware that’s as good-looking as it is responsible.
Bloomscape Majesty Palm
Healthy, beautiful plants delivered straight to your doorstep. A couple well placed plants can go a long way toward making a space feel alive and vibrant, warm and cozy, clean and cool — whatever vibe you’re looking for, Bloomscape has the plants to help you achieve it. The plants spend the first...
Upstate Stonewashed Linen Sheet Set
Pure linen sheets, woven with generations of expertise. Cut from crisp linen fabric that sleeps perfectly in any season, these new sheets from Upstate are inspired by coastal weekend getaways just outside the city.

Related Reading:

16 Summer Essentials Inspired by South Carolina’s Lowcountry 

This post was originally published on Huckberry. We deliver the coolest gear at the best prices, inspirational stories, and a hell of a lot more to your inbox every week. Membership is free and takes seconds.


Get the Shop Newsletter

Smart shopping for the design obsessed. Find what you love in our expertly curated selection of finely crafted home, office, travel, and lifestyle products.