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-   -   Puerto Rico and St Martin (https://www.fodors.com/community/caribbean-islands/puerto-rico-and-st-martin-336253/)

judyaherbert Apr 3rd, 2008 11:15 AM

Puerto Rico and St Martin
 
Hi
My husband and I are going on a trip and we are thinking about either Puerto Rico or St martin. We are interested in info on The Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa as well as the InterContinental in San juan, both in Puerto Rico. I would love to know how the beaches were, dining at the hotel or near by and what kinds of activities as well as the accommodation's.

I don't have any hotels in mind for St Martin so would love to hear about some. And I would also like to hear about the dining and activities.

Thanks so much, we are planning this trip for our 40th b-days and are looking for something special and fun.
Thanks
Judy

Anguillagirl Apr 3rd, 2008 11:24 AM

I went to Puerto Rico years ago and really enjoyed it. I'm sure it's changed alot now.
I do not have a good opinion on St. Martin for you. I usually stay there for a day before heading onto Anguilla.
It's very crowded with terrible traffic. People drive like loons there.
It's also IMO very dirty. Everyone has their own opinion but I wasn't impressed with island or the people.

judyaherbert Apr 3rd, 2008 11:41 AM

Thanks for your info - I will keep that in mind about St Martin

Callaloo Apr 3rd, 2008 12:05 PM

Any reason why St. Martin has made your short list? I'm not trying to talk you out of it -- I just want to know what you're looking for.

I honeymooned in St. Martin many years ago, and vowed never to return -- too congested, too commercialized, too Americanized, etc. But I did return last year for various reasons, and stayed in Grand Case (on the French side, a small village on a pretty beach with amazing restaurants), and really enjoyed it. It was about managing expectations AND choosing a place that would suit me. We liked it enough to return this year for 3 nights following a 6 day stay in Anguilla. I would go back to Grand Case again for a long weekend.

St. Martin offers a variety of experiences, but you'll only be happy if those experiences are what you're looking for, and if you choose where you stay carefully.

That said, were you to conclude that Grand Case is the place for you, I highly recommend Le Petit Hotel (and I understand the sister property, L'Esplanade, is equally charming, except it's not on the beach). Here's my trip report: http://islandtime.homestead.com/anguilla0801.html.

We also enjoy San Juan, but remember that at the InterContinental and El San Juan, you will be getting an urban experience. The Rio Mar is outside of town.

WannabeinaMontserrat Apr 3rd, 2008 12:21 PM

PR is one of my favorite islands because of all the things that you can do there (& don't just stay in San Juan !). St. Maarten is one of my least favorite. Too crowded, too commercialized, too much traffic, & a bit pricey.

Alicia_1968 Apr 4th, 2008 06:40 AM

If I were to choose between the two hotels you mentioned, I would definitely pick the InterContinental in San Juan. It has a great beach, good restaurants and an excellent location. The Rio Mar is fine if you're into golf, beach lounging and rest, but there's nothing to do!
It's an hour drive from the airport whereas the other hotel is 5 minutes away.

Have fun!


Barbara1 Apr 4th, 2008 05:07 PM

you all think SXM is congested, crowded and dirty, but not PR??
Wow!

WannabeinaMontserrat Apr 4th, 2008 05:54 PM

Not once you get out of San Juan...

girlonthego Apr 5th, 2008 06:25 AM

Hi any reason for choosing these two islands?
I have not been to St. Martin so I can't comment on it at all.

Puerto Rico, I have been several times through the years with the last time being last April 07. I also have family living in PR.

I was disappointed at how much PR seeemed to have gone down hill since the 1980's (last visit before 07). It is a country with lots of political issues and that is why it is always falling apart while trying to rebuild. It is crowded and busy with lots of traffic. Sounds like the St. Martin review?

We stayed at the Caribe Hilton (like always) and it is nice. It has it's own private beach area with beach/pool and restaurants. There are fancier hotels. There are numerous activities on the island, El Yunque rain forest, Lo Quillo (?spell) beach, the old town of San Juan, etc... So there are many activites to keep you busy. There are also some really great hotels with casinos. Food was generally very good.

But, if you are looking for an island to sit on the beach and relax, this would not be my choice. We went to visit with family. My younger daughter had an unfortunate spider bite before the trip. Her leg was still swollen and this limited our actvities. So, I can honestly say we didn't do that much!
From what I have read, both hotels you are looking at are nice.

40th? Maybe you can tell us what you are looking for specifically for this vacation and some here can chime in on the different islands.
If you have your heart set on one of these, I am sure you will have a good time. PR will give you nightlife and gambling and good food. It is just not as pretty as some other places.

raulitog Apr 5th, 2008 06:30 AM

Puerto Rico gives you more entertainment options. visit this sites for loal info on hotels, beaches and activities. Take care Raul
http://www.holapuertorico.com
http://www.puertoricocheaphotels.com

caribtraveler Apr 5th, 2008 06:45 AM

Judy: I've been to both. Though both are not on my list of favorite islands, I did prefer Puerto Rico. I will not go back to St. Martin but I will go back to Puerto Rico one day.

There's not much to do in St. Martin besides beaches and restaurants. There's lots of historical sights in Puerto Rico like the forts. And I absolutely loved walking around Old San Juan.

I agree with the previous statement that once you get out of San Juan, the rest of the island is not congested, etc... (we drove down one day to the southern part). We found St. Martin to be just too busy and crowded for us.

In terms of restaurants, both are known to have great ones. I had much better dining experience in San Juan.

In terms of beaches, I found the ones on St. Martin better although average. Last year, we went to some islands that had spectacular beaches so our bar is pretty high.

Good luck.


judyaherbert Apr 5th, 2008 07:06 AM

Thanks all for your information. We are celebrating our 40th with our best friends ( another couple). It is sounding like Puerto Rico at this point, is the way to go. We all haven't been away without the kids in several years and our last trip to Mexico was a bust. It's all about where you stay :) If there are any other suggestions about another Island I would appreciate any feedback - we pretty much never get away and want this trip to be special with activities ( if we want to do something besides sitting by the pool side bar :) ) Thanks again for all your inputs.

WannabeinaMontserrat Apr 5th, 2008 10:57 AM

IN PR you have the rain forest, the bio bay, the Camuy Caves (if they have re-opened), Old San Juan & the architecture & Forts, the Bacardi Factory, Luquillo Beach, Rincon, Vieques & the list goes on & on.


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