Puerto Rico itinerary help

Old Feb 10th, 2010, 04:51 PM
  #1  
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Puerto Rico itinerary help

We arrive in San Juan the night of March 19 and we fly out from there on March 29. Usually, our trips are a few weeks or a month, so I am having a hard time how to split our time in PR, even though the island is relatively small.

We are a couple in our mid 40s, active, pretty good with our Spanish, and like both cities and the outdoors.

So far, I know we definitely want to spend time in San Juan and Vieques. We'd also like to visit El Yunque, and probably Ponce. I'm unsure whether it's best to just do SJ, Vieques, and, say, Ponce, or spread it out more, driving and stopping, Rincon, Guanica, and maybe one of the lodges at El Yunque.

I've looked at trip reports, and it seems like we are actually spending more time than some folks, so I'm hoping we have agood amount of time.

Thanks in advance!
mosthecat is offline  
Old Feb 11th, 2010, 09:43 AM
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I'd recommend 5-7 days on Vieques to chill out, enjoy the beaches and the biobay. Stay in a villa or condo if you can. Car hire is essential and book as soon as possible.

2/3 nights in Old San Juan and possibly 1/2 nights near El Yunque if you don't mind splitting your stay in 3 (you could visit El Yunque (stay one night or 2) on your way to Vieques if you intended to take the ferry across and on the return spend a few days in OSJ.

I've not been to Ponce but you could just take a daytrip there from OSJ.
sassy_cat is offline  
Old Feb 11th, 2010, 04:00 PM
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We've been to PR twice and drove around the island. Two weeks ago, we went snorkeling in Vieques but have not stayed there. Three years ago, my wife and I (both in our 70's but healthy) spent 10 days driving around the island. This time, we took our son and his family and stayed in the south east.

As you drive around, be sure to stop at El Yunque, Bacardi, Arecibo Observatory and Camuy caves. If you like wildlife refuges, there are some both on the east coast (Fajardo and Humacao and south) and the west coast (Cabo Rojo/Boqueron). Roads range from good to excellent but can be quite crowded around the larger towns. Some Puerto Rican drivers take a casual reading of road signs. Roads in some small towns (like Rincón) may be narrow and crowded.

(I hope you are good at Caribbean Spanish. It is fun to find the differences between standard and Puerto Rican Spanishes.)

Puerto Ricans are generally friendly and helpful and patient except when driving. Enjoy yourselves.
Oldanalyst is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2010, 02:11 PM
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Thanks so much to both of you. No, Caribbean Spanish isn't my specialty. It'll make for an interesting visit. I think you are both right:

3 nights San Juan
Drive to El Yunque and Luqillo for the beach. Spend one night.
Early ferry to Vieques and spend - well, here's where I have to decide.

Do we stay there or hit some of the wildlife refuges, which I do like, and spots like Arecibo, and towns like Ponce and Rincon? I know that we don't want to drive and stop somewhere new every night. We recently did that in New Zealand, and while I love all the small towns and topography, I think this time, we want to stay put for a couple nights here and there, which means driving around the island probably isn't an option for us.

So, unless we drive south and around, I think we have to drive back to San Juan from Fajardo/Vieques on the same highway on the north, in order to go to any western spots. Maybe I'm wrong. Please correct any assumptions I've made, and I think I am just thinking out loud (or in writing).

Again, thanks, as always to the posters and this board.
mosthecat is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2010, 05:18 PM
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Go west on the same highway you will take to get to Fajardo (3). Off this highway is Luquillo as well as El Yunque. Staying around that area for 1 or 2 nights either on the way to or from Vieques would not be a bad idea. We just recently were in the area and traffic was quite heavy and remained heavy through San Juan. From our past trip, traffic beyond San Juan (Bayamon) area gets rather light. Make sure you get on highway 22 to go west. At the town of Arecibo, 22 turns into 2 which will take you around the island to Ponce and then into 52 which will take you back to San Juan. With 10 days, you may not want to go much further than the Arecibo/Hatillo/Camuy/ area.

If you want to go to Ponce, you may have too little time to go to Vieques, San Juan, Arecibo and Ponce. The road south from San Juan to Ponce (18 to 52) is a beautiful drive and a very good road. Once you get south of Caguas, traffic is not heavy and you can get to Ponce rather rapidly. Staying there a few days would allow you to explore the southern coast. We too have gone on trips where we had to move a lot. We prefer to stay in one or two places and use these to explore. With your 10 day stay, you have to limit what you see. We limited ourselves but intend to return a couple of times to see what we want to see.

Be aware that Puertoricans go to the beaches on the weekends. We had a native tell us that the beaches are attacked by the Puertorican army (local people) on the weekends and on holidays.

Enjoy yourselves and find out why oranges are not naranjas in PR.
Oldanalyst is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2010, 06:51 PM
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Thanks. You are right. 4 nights in SJ, 4 nights in Vieques. That leaves us only 2 more nights for wither the El Yunque/Luqillo area or te drive down to Ponce for two nights. Thanks for the advice!
mosthecat is offline  
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