Bermuda, Puerto Rico or somewhere else?

Old Jul 6th, 2015, 06:18 PM
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Bermuda, Puerto Rico or somewhere else?

I'm looking for somewhere warm and sunny we can escape to for 4 to 5 nights over the winter holidays. The plan is to fly to Philadelphia to visit family for a few days, and then find somewhere to escape to - just the two of us - that we can reach nonstop from Philly (to minimize possibly losing time with weather, delays etc.). I was thinking Puerto Rico, but was getting a less than enthusiastic vibe from other's posts...just looked at Bermuda and it looks lovely - but I gather it might be colder that time of year. I would welcome feedback, ideas. This trip thinking mostly beach - but of course any history or natural beauty/parks are always welcome. Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 7th, 2015, 12:26 AM
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Bermuda is not a winter beach destination. It is generally lovely that time of year for walking, golf, exploring, but not lying on the beach soaking up the sun.
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Old Jul 8th, 2015, 06:54 AM
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San Juan PR is easily reached from the east coast and I think it's a great option for a quick getaway. No hassles with customs since it's a domestic flight yet it has a feeling of a different country more so than many other Caribbean islands that actually are a different country. San Juan hotels, especially in Isla Verde (which is technically Carolina not San Juan) are right near the airport which again makes it all so convenient for a quick trip.

There are several resorts that line the beaches in Isla Verde and Condado but the beaches in San Juan are not like the "Corona commercial" with the brilliant white sand and turquoise water. However, they are nice enough and the water is warm enough for a swim year round. Isla Verde beach is a bit calmer than Condado which is better if you like to swim.

Old San Juan is a 15 minute taxi (or a longer bus ride) from Isla Verde and 10 minutes from Condado. In Old San Juan you will find cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture and two interesting forts. Old San Juan, Condado and Isla Verde have many restaurants to choose from. If you want some nightlife (casinos, bars, dancing) there is also plenty of choices in San Juan.

El Yunque rainforest is about 45 minutes from San Juan and you can also do catamaran day trips, snorkeling etc if you want.

Lastly, i don't think this forum is the best source for PR. Check out he PR forum on Tripadvisor for better information.
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Old Jul 8th, 2015, 07:01 AM
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One more thought, San Juan is best for travelers who like some beach time but also want to explore a bit and like an urban setting. If you are looking for something very quiet, then San Juan is not for you but there are other areas in PR that are quiet and remote. If you are looking for the "Corona commercial" beach then look at Turks and Caicos or Anguilla
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Old Jul 8th, 2015, 08:45 AM
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Can you fly direct to St Thomas or Grand Cayman from Philly? Those would be my suggestion for a mostly beach vacation. From St Thomas you can explore the gorgeous beaches of St John as well.
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Old Jul 8th, 2015, 07:14 PM
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Thanks genio67, that is reassuring about San Juan - do you have a favorite hotel there - we're not huge fans of huge resorts, but do like our creature comforts , and it would be nice to be near or on a beach. When I looked at Puerto Rico hotels on trip advisor it was difficult to identify which were Isla verde and which were Condado...any tips for figuring out where they are located? (I did order a Puerto Rico guide book so that may help).

and Mnag- thanks for the ideas...we were in St. John for our honeymoon ten years ago and loved it... haven't stayed on St. Thomas - have you tried that yet?

I don't think there are straight through flights to Turks and Caicos or Anguilla, but I shall check.
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Old Jul 9th, 2015, 04:56 AM
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We prefer the Isla Verde area. Condado is more commercialized and the beach is not as good as Isla Verde.
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Old Jul 9th, 2015, 05:36 AM
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I don't know about Philly but there are non stop flights from NYC to Turks but not Anguilla. To get to Anguilla you fly to St. Maarten and ferry over. St. Martin (French side of the island) is another place I really like. If you want French/Caribbean culture on your vacation it's worth looking into. Both Orient Beach and Grand Case have hotels on or very close to the beach.

Regarding San Juan. I am more familiar with the larger hotels but there are no all- inclusives, so although the hotels have restaurants, you will be eating at restaurants throughout Isla Verde, Old San Juan and Condado. I have stayed at La Concha in the Condado, which is quite hip and trendy with beautiful ocean views from many rooms. The beach in this area has some rough water at times. From La Concha you can walk to many restaurants. The Marriott Stellaris is just down the street and also on the beach. This area has a more urban feel than Isla Verde.

In Isla Verde I stayed at El San Juan. This is a busy hotel on the beach with an active nightlife scene on the weekends. Actually it's quite fun for all ages with live music and lots of dancing. The pool area is nice but loud on the weekends, especially the pool near the beach where the pool bar is located. The beach in this area is nicer than Condado but there are less restaurant options in walking distance. However, there are enough for a few nights and you will still be going to Old San Juan and possibly Condado anyway for a few meals.

The Intercontinental is next door and on the same beach with a nice pool area as well. I am not sure of your budget but other hotels on the beach in Isla Verde include the Ritz and the Marriott.
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Old Jul 9th, 2015, 05:37 AM
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One more thing, I think on Trip Advisor Isla Verde is referred to as Carolina as it is not technically in San Juan itself.
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Old Jul 9th, 2015, 05:54 AM
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Thanks genio67 and schmerl - I will definitely check them out - and thanks for the tripadvisor tip
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Old Jul 9th, 2015, 12:52 PM
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We stayed for one night at the Marriot (morning star portion of the resort) and then took the ferry over to St John for a weeks stay. From what we saw the resort had a relaxing vibe and sits on a really nice beach. The beachfront rooms are literally steps from the beach. We also enjoyed the shopping on the island on the last day of our trip as well. Also been to grand cayman twice and would highly recommend it for a short stay if there is a direct flight. 7 mile beach is wonderful, turtle farm, botanical gardens, stingrays, snorekelling and wonderful high calibar restaurants.
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