August trip to Puerto Rico - advice?

Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 02:22 PM
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August trip to Puerto Rico - advice?

My family of 3 (parents and our 8 year old son) is planning August trip to Puerto Rico. I know August is not the best time of year given hurricane season but our vacation times are limited so we are going for it with trip insurance. I am considering splitting between the Ritz and El Con over about 12 days. We plan to explore Old San Juan, the rain forest, bio bay, caves and the Obervatory. Lots of beach, explore interesting shops and museums, eat and eat, and at least a day at the El Con waterpark.

We are from California, like exploring, cultural stuff and anything science related. For more info about us - we love traveling, not outrageously outdoorsy, for islands we prefer Oahu to other islands in Hawaii because we love going to Pearl Harbor and hanging out on Waikiki beach and then spending time on the quieter side of the island too.

How does all of that sound to seasoned Puerto Rico travelers? Should we add another hotel? I also thought we could do the first few days staying in Old San Juan so we can wake-up and explore on foot. Add El Convento for a few days? Any special places we should not miss? Should we spend time on Vieques or Calebra? Is the bio bay fine near Fajardo or should we definately go to Vieques for that?

Any advice appreciated. Thanks!
ReneeS is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2012, 12:03 PM
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I took my husband there for a birthday 3 years ago. We stayed at El Convento for 2 nights and had a great time exploring Old San Juan. Found some great restaurants: Mojito, El Jibarito. It is very quiet there (the hotel) but very pretty.

We went over to Rincon on the west coast for 4 nights because my husband surfs, so I can't talk about the resorts you mentioned, but friends have stayed at El Conquistador and I've heard mixed reviews...mainly people differ on the big resort style hotels. I"m not a fan but that's just me. If you are going to spend a lot of time exploring the island, you may want to split your time between the northeast and northwest areas - northwest beaches are beautiful.

We like to explore like you, but like a more funky style, homey atmosphere for our hotel.

We are taking our 15 and 16 year old boys there this Christmas for 14 days. Our plan is: 1 night in San Juan, 3 nights on Vieques at a guest house, 3 nights in Cabo Rojo or Boqueron (haven't chosen the accommodations yet) and 7 nights vacation rental in Rincon for surfing.

have fun!
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 06:40 AM
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Our trip to PR included a snorkel trip to Culebra, which was amazing. If you have time to fit that in, you'll not be disappointed as Culebra and Flamenco Beach are fantastic.

Also consider a trip to Guavate for the delicious Lechon!
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Old Jun 28th, 2012, 05:22 PM
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Thanks - on both of your advice we are going to add a couple nights stay on the other side of the island and, weather permitting, will try to get to Culebra.

Now over-thinking - if our goal when staying in San Juan is to spend a lot of time exploring Old San Juan and some beach/pool time (plenty of that at the El Con too) should we consider staying in Old San Juan and going to the beach during the day a couple of times? If we stay at the Ritz then we have to travel to Old San Juan each day by bus or cab. Would it be better to end up at a hotel in Old San Juan at night so we can enjoy the evenings/restaurants/music there? The Ritz seems a little generic. We could stay at the Convento.

Thanks!
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Old Jul 5th, 2012, 08:03 AM
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My only comment is to getting of San Juan to explore the island. Surely you will do more that laying on a beach and strolling the old city and El Morro. Recommended: El Junque Nat'l Forest and en route Luquillo Beach to the east. Ponce and en route Caguas with museum and Al Jibaro Monument and Tibes Ceremonial Center to the southwest. Rincon also Aguadilla on the coast and en route Arecibo Observatory and nearby Camuy Cave to the northwest, La Parguera and Boqueron to the far SW. You won't do all this as it means driving alot but I'm mentioning several sites (and I could recommend more) as Puerto Rico indeed has rural and coastal beauty to behold beyond Old San Juan.

Bill in Boston
P.S. On one occasion we took a cruise out of San Juan.
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Old Jul 7th, 2012, 08:52 PM
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Thanks. Booked El Convento and El Conquistidor. We will definitely travel around. Still considering a nite in Rincon. We plan the bio bay, caves, observatory, rain forest. So much more but have to save something for a second trip!
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