Drive with the crazies or do Tours???

Old Jun 25th, 2002, 03:22 AM
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Drive with the crazies or do Tours???

Staying at the Ritz for 4 nights. Want to see the rain forest, do Old San Juan Town, maybe see the caves, and perhaps the Bacardi Rum factory. Should we rent a car or do the tours from the hotel.

Any feedback on people who have done the tours would be helpful. Also ae the above sites good ones to see or should we be doing something else?

Thanks for your help.

Old Jun 25th, 2002, 07:07 AM
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Definitely do the rainforest....worth the trip. We went on a guided tour and enjoyed it.

You can take a cab to Old San Juan and spend a day and evening there just strolling around. Lots to see and do. Don't miss the forts and historical sights.

Sorry, but I can't help you on driving vs. tours. We've only done tours and taken cabs on our trips there. The driving can be hairy, but I know people do it on their own at times.

Good luck.

Old Jun 25th, 2002, 08:05 AM
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OK...Do the rainforest it is great. Now a drive their can take you around 45 min. and the road are not bad. Im a local I know what Im saying. The Old San Juan Tour and the Bacardi is a must and you can get to Old San Juan on a bus that can cost about $0.25 to 0.50 . To the Bacardi you can take a cab it would be around $10 to $20.

For a trip to the caves I would suggest a tour company, it would be best. try visiting this website for more info on Puerto Rico, it can help plan your trip or can PR tourism company info center at 1-866-246-8677 or 1-800-866-7827
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 06:44 PM
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I actually don't think the driving is that bad, but maybe that's because I'm from Boston. Definitely take a cab to Old San Juan--parking can be tough. You can actually take a ferry for $.50 to Catano, near the Bacardi distillery. There's a quick cab ride on the other end, but it's less than $10.

The caves are easy to get to also. It's mostly highway driving. If you make the trip, it's also worth going to see the telescope at Arecibo--it's the world's largest radiotelescope (seen in the movies Contact and Goldeneye).

If you want to do something really spectacular and different, email Mark at [email protected] to set up an evening kayaking trip to the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo, about 50 minutes from San Juan. It's one of the best things I've done since living here and has been a favorite of our visitors. You can also call Mark at 787-889-7734.

Have fun!
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 04:15 AM
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If you do the CAves, the Rain Forest and the Bacardi factory you might find it cost effective to rent a car as opposed to doing tours. You could even drive to Old San Juan - there is a large parking garage near the two roads taking you into OSJ. The car will also enable you to take day trips to Ponce or to Fajardo to take a ferry for a day trip to Vieques or Culebra. You can also get to see much of the island. For example, a tour bus to the Rain Forest uses the major highway for most of the trip. With a car you could take a scenic route through Pinones and the town of Loiza Aldea known for its African heritage. You could also drive to Luquillo and enjoy that beach and sample some local foods at the roadside stands outside the beach. On a trip to the Caves with a little detour you could take a scenic ride along the ocean for part of the trip and visit one of the most scenic beaches in PR, Mar Chiquita. You will see a some of rural PR.
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 08:34 AM
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If you are the adventure-type, definitely rent a car. You'll really experience it first hand. If you'd rather be educated and learn a lot about the island, you're better off getting on a tour. The tour guides really explain a lot about the sites. Cost-wise, they're about similar. Safety-wise, about similar although I am from Massachusetts and drivers here are really bad, so I am used to the weird-flaky drivers.
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 06:07 PM
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OK -- I keep hearing about being careful of the crazy Puerto Rican drivers. What exactly do they do that's crazy? It would help to know what to expect. Do they just go fast? Zip in and out of lanes? Not signaling? Not even staying in lanes? Please, someone who knows, because I think you would miss much of Puerto Rico without renting a car. Gracias!
Old Jul 7th, 2002, 05:34 PM
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I have rented often in PR and my major complaint is that lots of drivers tend to ignore traffic rules when no one is around to catch them . I have never had a accident (have been renting cars in PR since 1954). Driver are aggressive so I never assume the other guy is going to concede the right of way so I always wait to let the other driver go first.
Old Jul 9th, 2002, 01:19 PM
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Just went and rented a car. I think you do need to enjoy driving in different places. But to me getting there is half the fun. I think we saw more of PR than most people living there. The drive to the caves is very straightforward. The detour to the Arecibo Telescope is not, but it is beautiful. We went and it was closed (M,T, W?). But the drive was still worth it, and I had 5 kids in the car. The caves close early. They were closed when we left at ~ 1PM. Get there early. The rain forest is beautiful, just driving through it is impressive, although the road winds and is narrow at points. The views are gorgeous. We went down the La Mina Trail, which was beautiful, with the river running along side the trail and then the falls at the bottom. Its a long walk up though. We stopped at Luquillo beach after the RF. Very nice beach with amenities available, including a bath house for a nominal fee. For OSJ, I recommend walking the Paseo de la Princesa, but early in the morning. It takes you along the outside walls of the city, to the point where El Morro is. Double back and go in through San Juan gate, about halfway back. This will take you into the old city. El Morro is not to be missed. Buy a kite from a vendor, and fly it on the front lawn with the hundreds of others. Its nice. When done with the kite, give it to one of the kids running around.

Have a great time.

Old Jul 19th, 2002, 04:32 AM
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Driving can be an adventure in PR until you learn the unwritten rules of the road. When driving on a highway, slower drivers do not drive in the right hand lane allowing faster drivers to pass on the left. You may see some drivers going 75 mph. come to a near screeching halt as they come up to two cars going 45 mph., traveling side by side blocking anyone who wants to pass. Many drivers cut into a 20 foot space between cars at 75 mph.with incredible skill! Until you get used to this, it can be a bit unnerving. Also, drivers seldom use turn signals. On the smaller roads, drivers are a lot less aggressive, (but still don't use turn signals.)
Old Jul 20th, 2002, 08:50 AM
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If you are only interested in those 3 activities - Old San Juan, caves and Bacardi, you don't need to rent a car. Take a cab to Old San Juan, spend the day, have lunch, etc. Take a day-tour to the caves and the Bacardi factory (which is a short tour - 1 hour or so).

If you want to explore other beaches (luquillo, Guanica, Cabo Rojo) or get to know the island, then it would make sense to rent a car.
Old Jul 20th, 2002, 08:53 AM
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oops, I just realized you also want to see the rainforest, which can also be done as a tour. Maybe you can rent a car for a couple of days.

Day 1 - Go to the rain forest and then you can continue to Luquillo beach.

Day 2 - Go to the Caves (early, make sure they're open, I think the last ENglish tour is at 12:00 or so). Stop at the Bacardi Factory in Catano on your way back.
Old Jul 21st, 2002, 03:12 PM
Sue D
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October will be our 5th trip to Aruba. We have stayed in different resorts each time, including Costa Linda and most recently the Raddison. Even after reading reports, both good and bad, We decived this trip to stay at the Marriot. It all depends on what your are looking for in a resort. Is it your room, pool area, grounds, lobby, beach, location, or service which is most important to you? Everyone looks for something different and that is why there is such a variation of opinions as to which is the best resort to chose from. We perfer a good beach, no children, no crowds, and attractive grounds. We were most impressed with the Raddison as it offered all these qualities. However, with the exception of the cassino and the loud music from the outside bar, there was limited entertainment at nite. Myself, I would not choose the Hyatt as it is too crowded and the beach area is smaller than most. However, that is my opinion. Whatever you choose, I'm sure you will be happy. Go and have a good time. Go into San Nicholos and vist Charlie's Bar. The food is great and you will enjoy the atmosphere.
Old Aug 23rd, 2002, 05:04 PM
victor rivera
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Do not think that I am telling you this because I am a tour operator.
You have got some good advice here, but tink of this, who is going to tell you de history, misteries,explain the flora and founa of this beatifull island if you rent a car.
Each guided tours will cost you less than renting a car for a day and you wuold not have to wory about accicents or any oder thing.
There are a lot of places to visit in Puerto Rico. Take a look at our page and see some of them.
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