Caribbean Islands Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

  • Announcement:
  • Recent Spam Attacks
    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
View all Caribbean Islands activity »
  1. 1 Trip Report Welltravbrit's Cuba Trip Report - Finally!
  2. 2 Puerto Plata Lifestyle Crown Residence Suites
  3. 3 Cuba weather in March
  4. 4 Trip Report Best Luxury Place to Stay in T&C
  5. 5 St Lucia - Where to Stay
  6. 6 aruba planning advice
  7. 7 Move to grand cayman
  8. 8 Bitter End Yacht Club or somewhere else?
  9. 9 Looking for affordable, secluded honeymoon bungalow/villa?
  10. 10 Malaria Punta Cana
  11. 11 Fun Ideas for Christmas Eve Family Dinner?
  12. 12 What to pack for Bahamas in Dec.
  13. 13 Last min 5 night stay suggestion
  14. 14 Cuba for 6 Americans
  15. 15 New Destination
  16. 16 Which island for first visit? April/May
  17. 17 Bahamas help
  18. 18 Cayman VS Jamaica
  19. 19 Hilton Rose Hall Jamaica for toddlers -- how's the food?
  20. 20 Vacation suggestion, please
  21. 21 Best use of 800,000 Hilton points for family with toddlers?
  22. 22 Good time of year to visit Turks & Caicos
  24. 24 Best Itinerary - Brazil, Puerto Rico, Dom Republic and Cuba
  25. 25 Fun Family Lunch Spot in Anguilla?
View next 25 » Back to the top

San Juan, Puerto Rico; looking for tips for our first trip

Jump to last reply

My wife and I are going to San Juan next week and are hoping to get some tips from people with experience in PR. After some more research, we are rethinking some items from before. Strongly considering doing a day trip to Culebra rather than Vieques, any thoughts there? Also, our thought now is to not rent a car (even though we have one booked) except for maybe the day we travel to whichever island (and then also rent a jeep on that island). We're hearing mostly great things about the Ritz Carlton so are leaning more toward spending more time there and their pool/beach at Isla Verde. Rather than a rental car, hoping for a tour arranged by the hotel for El Yunque. So those are our thoughts as of today. We would love to hear from people, specifically about:
-Culebra versus Vieques for a day trip
-restaurants referrals in old San Juan
-viability of hotel-arranged tour of El Yunque versus doing it ourselves
-peoples' experience with the Ritz Carlton and/or Isla Verde beaches
I posted the below a week or so ago but neglected to tag it, hoping that is the reason for lack of responses.
Going to Puerto Rico in a couple weeks, we'll be away from our two younger children (6&7) for a bit. A few years ago we posted a tentative itinerary for Italy here and received so many helpful suggestions; we totally changed our plans. So I thought I would do the same thing this time.

We arrive at San Juan International around 12:30 pm on a Tuesday. We're staying at the Ritz Carlton in Carolina for four nights. Based on some advice here we plan to rent a car as we're a bit from Old San Juan, taxis seem expensive, it would give us more freedom to explore the island, and rentals seem very reasonable (~$30/day). Get the insurance right? Not sure if we get the car Tuesday or wait until the following morning. Thoughts are relaxing at hotel beach/pool Tuesday or maybe go to Old San Juan and night out in hotel or San Juan.

While we certainly just want to relax by the water, we thought we would get activities out sooner than later. Thinking one morning, get up early and drive to El Yunque (1 hour or so?) and spend the morning through lunch hiking and experiencing the forest. Does a few hours for this make sense? We figure we would try to be back to hotel late afternoon. Is there a specific entry point or site to see in El Yunque?

The next day we are thinking of again getting up and trying to get to Vieques island. Again with the rental car we can get to Fajardo, take a ferry to Vieques, rent a car there as I understand that is best way to get to best beaches, and try to make it through to the evening to see biobay at Mosquito Bay. Then begin trip to home base, look to catch a ferry back to Fajardo. Drive back to Ritz Carlton. This day is the one I am most unsure of. Does this plan make any sense? Do people have thoughts about Vieques logistics and or specific suggestions? Mosquito Bay/biobay sounds really cool as do the beaches on Visques but should we dedicate a whole day to this? Are Vieques beaches (specific beach suggestion) so much better than Isla Verde? Would Culebra make more sense? Do logistics from/back to Carolina make it too much?

The next day (Fri) we can relax at hotel pool/beach and or explore San Juan. We depart around 2 pm on Saturday.

We are very much looking forward to it but are eager to get feedback/suggestions:
-renting a car makes sense?
-any specific restaurants that are must-do's?
-thoughts on El Yunque and/or Vieques

Any help would be most appreciated. Thank you.

  • Report Abuse

    We just returned from San Juan, Condado area, two weeks ago. Regarding restaurants, there are quite a few on the "strip" of Ashford Ave. of Condado. If you'd like a nice, typical Puerto Rican restaurant, a very popular one is "Ropa Viejo". If interested, we'd suggest having your hotel concierge call ahead for reservation, as it's very popular and normally gets crowded.

    We rented a car and took our own trip to El Yunque. It's easy to find, and nice to be able to explore at your own pace. After actually going there, we were glad that we hadn't joined a tour. (One caveat: the road which goes closest to the summit was closed for repair when we were there. Maybe it has re-opened.) Following our trip to the rainforest, we drove to Luquillo Beach where we had a wonderful lunch in the town at a little local place: "Ernestina's". We lingered longer than we had anticipated, having great conversations with some local people. Had we had more time, we would have explored a couple of the resorts located in the general area.

    We took a taxi to visit Old Town San Juan. Someone gave us the tip of having the taxi take us up the hill to El Moro, the highest point of the old city. Though we had explored the fort on a previous trip, it is a gorgeous view, and our exploration of the town would be all downhill! We ended our San Juan experience with a wonderful Italian dinner at "Sophia's". The staff called a cab for us, and we had an easy trip home. (We learned from a previous experience that the city buses aren't dependable in the evening.)

    The weather in San Juan was wonderful. . .hot, sunny, and only some very brief light showers on a couple of the days. We had dinner outdoors on most evenings. We wish you an equally relaxing, enjoyable trip!

1 Reply |Back to top

Sign in to comment.