First trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Feb 12th, 2013, 06:35 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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First trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico

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.
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