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Last Minute Trip to PR

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I am hoping to surprise my hub with a few days away (4-5) for his birthday the 1st/2nd week of March. I was considering PR as friends have said good things about it and it is a fairly short and direct flight from Newark. Some say San Juan,(Intercontinental was recommended), some say Rio Grande. I know nothing about PR. We are not big night lifers, nor shoppers. Just looking for a nice place to stay and a lovely beach, warm water. We always enjoy dinner with a bottle of wine. We absolutely love Turks and Caicos, but it's a bit too pricey at this time of year, so I am seeking an alternate destination. Surprisingly, flights seem to be available at this late date for PR. As always, I depend on the advice and expertise of my fellow Fodorites. Thanks!

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    We really enjoy San Jan as an easy getaway for a long weekend. We were there most recently in January and if you search my posts, you will see a trip report. San Juan is a metropolitan area with a lot of people and buildings. It has great restaurants, the hotel areas are close to the airport and Old San Juan has character, it's beautiful and the old forts are fun to explore. You can also do a day trip to the rainforest as well. However, the beaches are nothing like Turks and Caicos. If the beach is your main thing, you might be dissappointed in PR in general as the sand is not dazzling white and the water is not the turquoise you found in T&C. However, it's certainly nice enough and the water and weather will be plenty warm.

    There are two main beach areas in San Juan and they are Isla Verde and Condado. Isla Verde has a nice beach as the water is calmer than Condado. The Condado has a lot restaurants in walking distance to the hotels. There are restaurants in Isla Verde as well, it's just the selection is better in Condado IMO. Isla Verde and Condado are a 10 minute drive from each other, so you can stay at one place and visit the other. It's easy to get taxis so no need for a car in San Juan.

    Regardless of which area you decide to stay in, you will be visiting Old San Juan. It's easy to take a taxi there day or night. I definitely recommend at least having one dinner in Old San Juan and of course you will visit the sights during the day as well.

    My sense is that the Intercontinental is a good choice for you as it's in a good Isla Verde location and on a decent beach. Other options could be the Ritz or El San Juan. Should you decide on Condado, look at La Concha or the Vanderbilt Condado.

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