Clueless about PR

Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 04:12 PM
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Clueless about PR

I'm planning to take a trip to Puerto Rico in the next few months and need some help. Since it's such a big island, I'm getting overwhelmed trying to pinpoint what area I want to spend my time in. Old San Juan?? Vieques?? I'm a total beach girl, so I would love to stay in a hotel on a beautiful beach, but also with easy access to nightlife (bars, casinos, etc.) From the brief research I did, it seems like you either stay in town near all the nightlife, or on the beach and have to take a cab to go out at night. Is this true? Do any areas offer what I'm looking for? If so, any hotel recommendations?

Sorry for being completely clueless...I just started doing my research so any information would be greatly appreciated!!
Valerie512 is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2006, 05:50 AM
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You should read ejcrowe's recent trip report - it will supply you with much of the information you are looking for!
paulalou is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2006, 07:51 AM
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Valerie512, I'm a total beach girl too, and I just spent a week in San Juan for work. Stayed at the Caribe Hilton which had it's own little piece of sand, not exactly what I would call a beach. My meetings were at the Ritz Carlton, which also had it's only little piece of sand (slighly nicer). But colleagues who live in PR and know of my love of playas said that on the island Luquillo is a nice beach, but that the ideal white sand beaches were on Culebra, with Vieques a close second. I explored Old San Juan only a bit one evening, and while it's now high on my list for further exploring, it won't hit my 'beach spot'. Nightlife there (and in my hotel) was very fun, and the Puerto Rican people and culture are probably the warmest I've experienced in my travels. I very much look forward to going back. One note - I'm a very adventuresome soul and a bold driver, but I think that San Juan is one place I would only drive as a last resort - rely on taxis if you plan to stay in the city!
seasweetie is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2006, 05:52 AM
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Valerie - There are three main areas in San Juan. Old San Juan, Condado and Isla Verde. Old San Juan has most of the shopping, restaurants and nightlife of the area. However, there are no beaches.

The area closest to Old San Juan is Condado. It is about a 10 minute taxi ride from Old San Juan (longer on weekend nights when there is a lot of traffic going to and from). The Condado area itself has some good restaurants and some nightlife. The hotel with the best beach in Condado is the Marriott, which has a lobby with live music and dancing and a small casino. There is also the Condado Plaza, which has a large casino and music. However, it really has no good beach, although it is right on the ocean.

The next area is Isla Verde. This is further away from Old San Juan and closer to the airport. It is approximately a 20 minute taxi ride from Isla Verde to Old San Juan. This area has the best beach in the San Juan area. There are a number of hotels in Isla Verde, depending on your budget. El San Juan Hotel, Intercontinental, and the Ritz-Carlton are the high end ones in the area. This is a good area for nightlife - El San Juan Hotel has a giant lobby bar that gets very crowded on weekends, live music and dancing, a cigar bar, a sushi bar, and a disco, as well as a pretty large casino.

Keep in mind that the beaches in San Juan are not what many people think of when they imagine the Caribbean. They are clean and the water is clear, however, they do not have sparkling blue water and white sand. Plus, they are public beaches and, especially in the Isla Verde area, there are a number of condos and hotels that line the beach. They get fairly crowded with lots of locals and some tourists, especially on the weekend. I like this because it provides for good people watching (and it is an excellent walking beach), but if you are looking for seclusion and quiet, it may turn you off.

I go to San Juan every year (actually leaving on Saturday to visit for a week), and I would be happy to provide you with any info that I can.
tom42 is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2006, 06:31 AM
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Sorry valerie to cut in on your post, but:
Seasweetie, Did you like the Caribe Hilton? We are going for spring break 07 and have not been to the Caribe Hilton in 20years. I have heard the towers are the newer section, but the executive lounge was in the main building. We are diamond with Hilton. Any info? Thanks
girlonthego is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2006, 04:35 AM
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Actually the best beach is east of San Juan, but it is public also (& the name escapes me). You may want to split your time between Old Town & Vieques or someplace like Rincon (A surfers haven but also w/some nightlife). Although ther are a ton of surfing beaches there are some very nice non-surfing beaches as well. Check out or I like Coconut Palms, right on the beach.
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