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29 September 2014 @ 10:50 pm
Escape Monthly: September 2014: Puerto Rico  
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ESCAPE MONTHLY: SEPTEMBER 2014
PUERTO RICO


Puerto Rico?  Funny, when I'm thinking of places I want to visit Puerto Rico never comes to mind.  I wish I knew more about the country; as I sit here, trying to think of what I know about Puerto Rico, very little is coming to mind.  I think it's tropical.  Probably has beaches and tasty alcoholic drinks and rainforests to explore.  But I truly know nothing about it.


What's new?

Set in a lush tropical atmosphere, Puerto Rico is a heavenly slice of the Caribbean.

Whether you're gazing at historic sites of Spanish conquest, or at some of the most beautiful beaches in the world on the small sister islands of Culebra and Vieques, you're sure to fall in love with Puerto Rico.

We're excited to share a taste of the Caribbean with you.  Relax & enjoy an exciting armchair-adventure of colorful tastes and culture.

The Caribbean is closer than you think!  Adios!

Happy Travels,
Escape Monthly


Sounds fun.  So what have we got?

Note: Escape Monthly lists the retail value of each item in the box on a pamphlet, but I often find that their numbers are inaccurate.  So I will list their value estimates in italics and the value that I caculated based on what I find online in bold.

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MOON HANDBOOKS San Juan, Vieques & Culebra Travel Guide: I can't help but wish this was a full Puerto Rico guide instead of just a few cities, but no doubt these are the major tourism hubs anyway. $16.99 / $16.99

YAUCONO CAFE Puerto Rican Coffee: I'm definitely interested in coffee, but when I realized that Escape Monthly was trying to claim this 4 oz bag was worth $10 I was instantly skeptical.  When I looked online, I found a 14 oz bag selling for $6.42.  Talk about an inflated value! $10.00 / $1.84

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DULZURA BORICANA Coconut Pineapple Candy Bites: These are really tasty.  Each individually-wrapped candy is basically a coconut macaroon infused with pineapple flavor.  I could eat the entire box in a single sitting, no problem. $5.00 / $1.85

MI MADRE Pique of Puerto Rico Hot Sauce: My husband loves hot sauce, so I'm sure he'll enjoy this.  It's a very chunky sauce, with the spiciness coming from habanero peppers.  Even this small 2 oz bottle should last a while. $2.99 / $2.99

EL ISLENO Plaintain Chips: Plaintain chips?  I'm intrigued, and curious to compare the flavor to that of regular potato chips.  I was disappointed to notice, though, that the bag of chips had already expired!  Granted, it was only a day ago - September 28th - but I would expect Escape Monthly to send out items with at least a month or two of "life" in them.  Escape Monthly claims that this small bag of chips is $3.00, which doesn't sound right, but as I can't find a single 1.2 oz bag for sale online I'll have to go with their price. $3.00 / $3.00

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"AUTHENTIC PUERTO RICAN SOUVENIR":  A variety of different souvenirs were available, ranging from little straw hats to maracas keychains to this bottle opener.  The website I found that sells these looks like a wholeseller, so even though they list the price as $3.00 I'll give Escape Monthly the benefit of the doubt and double it to a probable retail of $6.00. $7.00 / $6.00

CARIBBEAN VELA Coconut Candle:  It smells really good - just like a coconut.  The company's website doesn't list these candles for ordering, but a 3.5 oz candle costs $7.00 so I would estimate that this little one is worth about that.  $5.00 / $3.50

COQUI Pin: This tiny frog pin (on the upper right corner of the card) is the size of my fingernail!  You can order these on the same website as the bottle opener for $2.00 a pop, so I find it quite amusing that Escape Monthly claims people actually pay $9.00 for them.  A more accurate value is probably half that! $9.00 / $4.00

I was really disappointed with this box.  First, Escape Monthly is back to their old trick of overestimating value to justify the cost of their subscription box.  They had stopped doing that for a while, and I had hoped it was a permanent change.  Second of all, the items in this box were all small, cheap things.  It barely matches the amount I paid for the box - $39.95 - and it doesn't meet the subscription box's retail price of $49.95.

I've heard that when subscription boxes offer deals on sites like Living Social, the quality of the box often declines sharply as the discount vouchers are redeemed.  I'm guessing that's what happened here, as I know that Escape Monthly has been active on several Groupon-esque sites lately.

--

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broken: i <3 jack!!liich on October 23rd, 2014 02:27 am (UTC)
i landed in san juan one time when we were going on an eastern caribbean cruise. i think san juan is the capital. really pretty, but i bet not much different from southern california....except maybe hotter. we didn't stay there....it's just where the airport was.

all of the islands sell lots of coconut and banana type things....all the same stuff and many things that are just commercial items that you can find elsewhere (tortuga rum cakes can be bought in niagara falls, ontario!). thing is, many of them ARE those prices b/c they're being sold at tourist shops all over the islands. so, despite wholesale prices....tourist retail is probably what they're using. (also, remember, small items equaling the same amount of product = more packaging, which drives the price up.)

if you were't aware, plantains are close relatives to bananas, except i don't believe they're sweet. have you ever had banana chips? that's basically what you have there, but, as i said, not sweet. nothing like potato chips. i'm not the biggest fan of dried fruit (i don't like the taste of the sulfites used to dry them) but some people just love them.
the coconut/pineapple candies are the best part of that box! i had something similar one one of the islands and SO GOOD!!

not the best box you've had, but not a bad representation....at least of the general feel of the tourist parts of the caribbean islands.
Suzik00kaburra on October 28th, 2014 02:57 am (UTC)
:D
Small items having some mark up, I agree, but $10 for a 4 oz bag of coffee when the 14 oz is about $6.50? That's silly.

The plantain chips tasted just like regular potato chips. I thought they'd be more exotic, or at least more banana-y, but nope - if it didn't say plantain on the bag I would assume they were just regular ol' chips. I think they slice them so thin and fry them in so much oil they're virtually indistinguishable.

But the pineapple-coconut candy is SO GOOD. I would eat all of them for days.

Got the next box (London) today,and it doesn't look promising. I think this box has taken a permanent dip in quality and it's probably time to unsubscribe. :-/

broken: i <3 jack!!liich on October 30th, 2014 06:29 am (UTC)
that's so unfortunate that the boxes are starting to suck....i really like reading your reviews.

also, you've been really quiet lately.....everything okay?
Suzik00kaburra on October 30th, 2014 01:16 pm (UTC)
Life's just been busier than usual :-p I've been to about a half-dozen book events in the past two weeks and that, combined with chemistry classes at 7:30 in the morning, hasn't left me much time for the blogging :-p But thank you for asking!