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mom929 Nov 18th, 2005 06:41 PM

Four days in San Juan in January? What to do? (m)

I've just booked a vacation to San Juan from 1/13 - 1/16. It's a 20th anniversary trip, and our first nights without the kids in 5 years! I got the first two nights through Priceline and booked the Normandie Hotel in downtown between Old San Juan and Condado. I was too nervous doing Priceline to book all three nights, and figured if we hated the place I could splurge for the last night for someplace wonderful. Does anyone have recommendations for a final night? We are not really casino/nightlife people but prefer local flavor or natural settings when we travel. I was thinking about the Hotel El Convento. Is it really worth the $350-$400 per night? The Normandie also doesn't seem to have much of a beach, so I was thinking maybe a really great beach resort for the last night (but not a party place). Our flight leaves at 4:00pm, so I wouldn't want to be too far from San Juan for the last night, but could travel 40 minutes or so.

Is it easy to use the bus to get to OSJ or the beaches if you don't speak Spanish (and which are the best beaches in the area?) Or are we better off renting a car.

What do you consider "must see" things to do? Any special restaurant finds for local food at reasonable prices?

Thank you, thank you for answers to my many questions :-)

mom929 Nov 20th, 2005 04:26 AM


Can one do a day trip from San Juan to Mosquito Bay or is it too far for a 3 day vacation?

lawyergirl Nov 20th, 2005 11:38 AM

Try looking into the Water Club or the El San Juan Hotel for your third splurge night. I've traveled in PR my whole life and those are two good hotels with nice accomodations. As for renting a car. Don't do it. If you want to stay in the San Juan area take taxis and within the old city there is a trolley that is very accessible. If you want to see the island there are many good tours leaving from the San Juan area hotels. Try a trip to the rain forest and if you want a nice low key day at the beach Luquillo is nice. For dinner in Old San Juan I recommend Dragonfly. It is a puerto rican asian fusion restaurant with good food. For old world San Juan try La Mallorquina. El Convento is an amazing hotel but doesn't have much to offer except it's beauty and central location. Go there for drinks at sunset instead. Enjoy!

tom42 Nov 21st, 2005 07:28 AM

The Normandie has recently been renovated and is reminiscent of a South Beach Art Deco hotel. I didn't stay there but walked the grounds. Nice, trendy, tiny pool, tiny beach.

As for your last night, I normally would recommned El San Juan. It has a casino and is known for nightlife but your last night will be a Sunday, which should be fairly quiet. It has a great pool area and beautiful grounds and is on the best beach in the San Juan area. Also, it is very close to the airport - maybe a 10 minute cab ride.

For Puerto Rican food I would recommend Alliji Mojilli on Ashford Avenue in Condado. For more casual Puerto Rican food, I recommned Metropol (which is in Isla Verde and within walking distance to the El San Juan).

mom929 Nov 22nd, 2005 09:31 AM

Thank you lawyergirl, lena and tom42. I'll check out the El San Juan and the Water Club, and go to El Convento for drinks at sunset (that sounds perfect).

I'm also seriously considering spending my last night either in Fajardo at the El Conquistador on Vieques. My husband desparately wants a nighttime swim in the bio bay. Am I crazy to consider it if we have to be back at the San Juan airport for a 5pm flight?

marigross Nov 23rd, 2005 03:49 AM

Wyndham had two properties in this area: El Conquistador in Fajardo and Martineau Bay in Vieques (this has been sold now to some other hotel chain). El Conquistador is about five minutes away from Las Craobas where you can enjoy kayaking in the bio bay. The bay in Fajardo is less known than the one in Vieques or in La Parguera but it is just as nice or even nicer.

The Conquistador has a shuttle to the airport. The view from the hotel is drop-dead gorgeous. They do not have a beach so they ferry you to a tiny little semi-private island...VERY nice.

lilipad Nov 28th, 2005 10:21 AM

There's only one tour I've ever found that will take you to Mosquito Bay in Vieques (the best of the 3 in PR) in one evening - and you can ask whaqt they offer for transport to/from San Juan (if it's more than $15/per person, i'd say get a rental car for one day):

just check the moon calendar to make sure it's biobay moon time :) (the less moon the better).

retozon Nov 28th, 2005 11:41 AM

Hi !!

For your last and memmorable night at Puerto Rico, I'll suggest you an overnight on a sailboat off coast of Fajardo ( aprox 45 minutes east from San Juan). This coast have numerous cays and beautifull beaches. Captain Sosa will also cook for you and serve a romantic moonlight dinner. Call him (787) 717-6280, (787) 717-6278 or email at [email protected]

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