Puerto Rico - El Conquistador Trip Report

Old Apr 14th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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Puerto Rico - El Conquistador Trip Report

This was our first visit to Puerto Rico so we didn’t have much on our agenda, other than a visit to the rain forest and a trip to the biobay. Our remaining time was spent relaxing either at the beach or the pool. The drive to the rain forest appeared very easy, plenty of parking and lots of signs. Our group tour arrived about 9:30 and left about 1:00, we wish we could have stayed longer though. Unfortunately we didn’t experience the bio bay for 2 different reasons 1) full moon and 2) all booked! We were disappointed but not much we could do about that.

We decided not to rent a car; we relied on 2 different drivers that were recommended from other trip reports on fodors. Angel (787-223-6200 or 787-863-8224) picked us up from the airport and transported us to the El Conquistador (80 for 4 ppl, 2 adults & 2 children-3 bags). The trip took exactly 1 hour; we decided not to stop at the grocery store CVS/Walgreens; we were a bit overwhelmed and just wanted to get to the hotel….mistake! *side note, food is not sold in stores on Sundays until after 11 a.m. also, liquor is not sold in stores on Sunday, this is not true for the convenience stores in the hotel * We did stock up on drinks and snacks daily from the hotel convience stores (my fave was the signature shop).

Our return trip from the El Conquistador to the airport was with Shawn (again 80 dollars). I highly recommend both drivers. I believe Shawn lives closer to the El Con and will help with trips (bio bay, rain forest, etc).

I had mixed feelings about staying there but since we used points for our entire stay, I thought, how bad could it be? This was our first time staying at a Waldorf Astoria and other than the grounds and lobby being beautiful I think I have had nicer rooms at Hampton Inns. We didn’t have any problems with our check in and we were given an ocean front upgrade, however there was a man complaining that he had been moved 3 times because of the awful smell in his room and they better get it right this time! I like to think we are easy travelers and not too picky. In regards to the room, the fridge was used to keep drinks cool, certainly not cold. The safe in the room was inoperable, not a big deal since we didn’t plan on using it. Housekeeping was hit and miss, each day we had to call for something (water, towels, coffee, bedding removed and not replaced). The beds were comfortable and the room temperature was fine although there was a slight musty odor but it wasn’t so bad that it caused a problem.

The bathroom was very large and worn, but clean.

The pools were very nice (open 24 hours!), our favorite pool was the one located near Las Olas. Not as crowded and cabanas were available for free.

The trip to the beach was always enjoyable. There were 2 boats running departing either the island or the main land every 30 minutes. * You cannot take coolers to the beach *we were able to bring snacks and a few drinks, nothing too obvious. *It helps to have either water shoes or flip flops if you plan to swim at the beach, there is coral everywhere and can be painful walking in the water. The shells were awesome!

To say that food was expensive at the restaurants is an understatement. Breakfast or lunch at the hotel will run average 80 for 4 ppl; dinner averaged 160. After about the 3rd day we took advantage of Starbucks, breakfast or lunch averaged 25 for 4 ppl.

We did arrange for a cab from the hotel to have dinner at El Pasion. The last two nights we ventured to the “park.” If you want to experience authentic Puerto Rican food within walking distance of the hotel, from the marina walk to the left about 5-7 minutes along the shoreline, from there you will see the “park” and there are a few restaurants to choose from. We ate at Ocean View and El Racar (or El Racal). There was also a restaurant called Popeye’s but it appeared that they served more ice cream than food. When we did venture to the park, we left the hotel fairly early (aprox 4 p.m.) so we made it back to the hotel before dark. I am not sure if vendors are there daily, but they were there on the weekends (selling crafts, jewelry, etc.) You could schedule trips to the bio bay there also…I wish I had known that sooner.

Overall, we had a wonderful time in Puerto Rico and will certainly miss the beach!
ruwithme is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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Yes, Puerto Rico has its beauty. Was there many years ago and then more recently covering most of the island. Yes, El Yunque very nice. Too bad you didn't see more...maybe next time. You chose to relax at the pool it seems.
Bill in Boston
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 05:40 PM
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Thanks for your review! I'm disappointed to hear about the rooms at El Conquistador. From what I've read it seems like it had some of the best reviews. Even more sad that the mini fridge didn't cool properly. I was actually hoping to keep some lunch meat in it for a few cheap lunches. And wow, I would have expected expensive food at the resort, but that is way more than I anticipated!! We will definitely eat elsewhere. Thank you so much! This is very helpful!!
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 06:19 PM
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Odellio, you can look up the menus at the el con on line to get a better idea of what the restaurants have to offer.

Starbucks sold sandwiches for $5.00. Another option would be to either buy a cooler when you are there or pack one (i packed one that i was able to fold up). Ice was never a problem at the resort and we would often fill it with ice and hang out at the pool with drinks and snacks.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 07:20 AM
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$80 for breakfast or lunch for 4 people and $160 for dinner for 4 people is way more than you anticipated at a beach resort? I don't find these prices particularly surprising. It is always good to try to get a package that includes breakfast when at these types of resorts so at least one of the meals is taken care of when you get there.
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