Caribbean Islands Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

View all Caribbean Islands activity »
  1. 1 8 days in USVI, St. Thomas safe yet?
  2. 2 Woman, alone, islandhopping
  3. 3 Best 'Swimming' Beaches in the Caribbean- from SFO
  4. 4 Grand Cayman Ritz or Sandals Barbados
  5. 5 Birthday Celebration
  6. 6 DR - All inclusive
  7. 7 Young adults social scene at club med turks & caicos?
  8. 8 Young adults find others to spend time with at Club Med Columbus Isle?
  9. 9 Cuba in November
  10. 10 St. Lucia or elsewhere?
  11. 11 would it be safe to drive from negril to port antonino?
  12. 12 50th Birthday Trip in Nov
  13. 13 Calling Beach and Island Lovers .. Need your Advice!!..
  14. 14 Late May Trip
  15. 15 St Thomas Hotel by Airport
  16. 16 West Bay or Seven Stars
  17. 17 Trip Report St. Thomas is dangerous
  18. 18 Cheers to Beers!
  19. 19 Where To Go Post Xmas- Mid Jaunary for under $4G
  20. 20 any advice about the Cayman Islands?
  21. 21 New Years Eve / St John
  22. 22 Trip Report St Lucia Trip Report 2014 Bay Gardens Beach Resort
  23. 23 Island Choice
  24. 24 Aruba Car Rental
  25. 25 If we loved Cayman...
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.