Puerto Rico Itinerary help


Nov 7th, 2011, 07:35 AM
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Puerto Rico Itinerary help

Looking for suggestions for a 7 day Puerto Rico itinerary. We have spent afew days in San Juan and would like to see the rest of the island. We would rent a car an use acouple of hotels as bases during the week, if that makes sense. Thanks in advance!
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Nov 7th, 2011, 01:41 PM
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did sort of a round robin to

El Yunque rain forest Caves pretty amazing

Arecibo observatory

Ponce nice vibe sort of reminded me of the North of Haiti

beautiful and some Vieques... cheap lodging along my way

Had a super time a few years ago...
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Nov 7th, 2011, 05:13 PM
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We love PR and if we were to return this spring, which we might, we'd do this trip:

San Juan
Cabo Rojo (day trip from Rincon - but don't miss sunset from here!!)

There are other stops along the way, but it's a great area for beaches, surfing, sightseeing, etc.

From this area, it's easy to reach the Arecibo Observatory, the Rio Camuy caves, etc.

Try out the paradores in Puerto Rico - government rated and approved inns.

Let us know what you like and we'll try to help more!
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Nov 9th, 2011, 03:09 PM
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Loved El Yunque

Arecibo observatory was interesting

loved Kayaking Bio Bay It was pretty amazing.

enjoyed touring the home of the producers of Don Q museo-castillo-serralles
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Nov 10th, 2011, 03:59 AM
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Hello, I am from Puerto Rico and these are the most important things to see and do in my Island, in order of importance:

1) Laguna Bioluminiscente de Fajardo, Las Croabas, Fajardo (East)- Puerto Rico has three biobays but Fajardo's is the best. First, because it is the most beautiful, well preserved and easiest to access. There is another one in the island of Vieques which is also great but more difficult to go. You can visit the biobay with a kayak tour or by your own. It is better to go by your own renting a kayak because most tours do not let you go into the water, which is the best part of the experience. Either-way, if the kayak is not possible go with the tour because it is something unique in the world you can't miss. DO NOT MISS THE BIO BAY.

2) Flamingo Beach and others at Culebra Island- Located at 25 km from Fajardo, the Island has the most beautiful (accessible) beaches in the whole Puerto Rico territory. Flamingo Beach is ranked among the best beaches of the World in many lists. To go to Culebra you have two options, first and cheapest to take the ferry from Fajardo terminal which takes about 1.5 hour or, second, you can take a plane from the Ceiba airport, close to the ferry terminal. If money is not a problem I would take the plane because the ferry is horrible, it is never on time, the tickets run out quickly, and you have to be there very early. The good thing about the ferry is that you can bring your car (check in advance, because for that you must reserve) and the car in Culebra is useful for seeing more than one beach. If you decide the plane, the advantage is it is way faster, on time and more comfortable. There are taxis in Culebra which will take you to the beaches. Most people do camping on Flamingo Beach because you are right in the beach but there are also some hotels and guest houses you can check (Sea Bourne Hotel is the biggest). There are also villas you can rent. For eating I recommend Mamacita's, the Dingy Dock or the restaurant at Sea Bourne.

3) El Yunque National Rainforest- Another attraction in the east of the Island, this huge rainforest is a great place to do some hiking and bathe in cool rivers. There are a lot of trails but for first-comers I recommend "La Mina Trail" as a good starting point. Be prepared to get wet. When you finish at El Yunque you can go to the Luquillo Kiosks close to the main road and enjoy some nice puertorrican fritters.

4) El Faro de Cabo Rojo, Playa Sucia y Boquerón- Now in the west of the Island, my favorite region. The best beach in mainland Puerto Rico can be found at Playa Sucia (Dirty Beach). Do not get scared by the name because this is an absolutely stunning beach. It is located in the furthermost south-west point of the island, where the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse is. It is a little complicated to get there by car but if you are interested I can leave you map and directions. It is really worth the trip. There is a hotel there, in the area called Punta Salinas, but I would recommend you staying in Boquerón. Boquerón is a traditional fishing village with its picturesque shack and great food and nightlife. Boquemar is a nice little hotel to stay. You can find very good seafood there. Don't miss the chillo (red snapper fish), ostiones (a type of clam) empanadillas de chapin and carrucho (conch).

5) La Parguera, Lajas- La Parguera is another fishing village in the south, but on the contrary of Boquerón this one has evolved into a more tourist hub. the best thing of La Parguera is not the village but the keys which lie in its shores. The keys are small forests of mangroves that grow in small sandbars in the middle of the coast. There is no sand in most of them but the water is clear and pristine. To get to the keys you can pay a fisherman to take you and pick you up whenever you want. It is better to go to the keys in the week because in weekends it can get pretty crowded and annoying. The best are Cayo Enrique, Enriquito and Cayo Collado. To eat in the area there is a great place called Cuesta Blanca, or in the village the restaurant at the dock is pretty good.

6) Vieques Island- Vieques is another great place for beaches like Culebra. You can go to beaches like Sun Bay, Layayi, Punta Arenas and El Balneario. Like in Culebra you need a car to move either taxi or your own. Vieques is almost double in size to Culebra. You can also go in ferry and plane. It is closer to mainland so the plane tickets are cheaper.

7) Piñones, Loiza- A place not usually visited by tourists but loved by the locals, Piñones is a beautiful contrast from the bustling stress of San Juan, a few minutes from it. The area was occupied by free slaves during the colonial years and you will see their descendants have stayed here since. It is a great place to go and taste an amazing cuisine, "las frituras". Here you can taste alcapurrias, piononos (my personal favorite), bacalaitos and many more. Don't miss out drinking coconut water from a freshly cut coconut. The best place to taste this is at El Boricua (there is always a big line but it is worth it). The beach is also good here and pretty virgin but watch the currents. Warning: Do not go at night 6 or 7pm you should be heading out for the mosquitos which are brutal and because it is not very safe at night.

8) Cavernas de Camuy- The caves at Camuy are pretty amazing if you have the time. Check the internet for opening hours.

9) Dorado- If you are in the mood of resorts and relaxation in front of the beach this is one of the places to go. Dorado has become in the las years as the big tourist hub for golfing and resorts. The beaches are great but not better than the ones I said before.

10) Guavate- In the mountain region there are a lot of beautiful sceneries totally contrasting the coast. Guavate is a barrio in Cayey where you can find the best traditional puertorrican food. Lechón (pork), arróz con gandules (rice and pidgeonpeas), morcilla (bloodsausage), batata (sweet-potato), yuca frita (fried casava) and mavi (traditional drink from sugarcane). Satrudays are great days to go because there is live music and a lot of life.

11) Ponce- The second largest city is a good place to stop on the way of Cabro Rojo and have lunch. You can eat al Lola's at the main square (Plaza de las Delicias) and walk around the streets to see the decaying colonial architecture.

I think you have enough there to choose. Any question or other help you might need in planning your trip to my beautiful Island don't hesitate to ask.

-Jose Arturo
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Nov 10th, 2011, 08:46 AM
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great information Jose.
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Nov 10th, 2011, 10:41 AM
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Wow Jose - thanks - this not only will help me a great deal , but I am sure it will help others on this forum for years to come.
seafox is offline  
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Nov 10th, 2011, 12:43 PM
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Great job, Jose! Thank you for the effort.

I'm not a fan of the Fajardo bioluminescent bay so much any more and they've started restricting access. The bioluminescense is far superior on the bay at the southwest part of the island, or was some years ago.

We just love the western side of the island.

However - if you do end up in Fajardo, let us know. I have the name and phone numbers of a local fisherman who will take you out to the keys off Fajardo for the day. He's at the Las Croabas dock. Cayo Icacos was great for a day on a secluded beach and wonderful snorkeling.
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Nov 10th, 2011, 04:12 PM
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Dear Jose,
Thank you for the great suggestions. My husband just invited me to accompany him on a business trip next week. I will have only an afternoon and one full day to enjoy your beutiful island, so I will probably have to stick to the area of Old San Juan. I will be on my own so I will be sticking to taxis and tours.

Is there a particular tour or something special that I must see? I know that I have a ridiculously small amount of time, but even one day is better than none .
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Nov 26th, 2011, 05:38 AM
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A day of walking in Old San Juan is just perfect. You can start by the Castillo del Morro, which is the biggest of the forts built in San Juan by the Spanish. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is pretty amazing. If you are not much into history it is also a great place to view Old San Juan and the bay. The is another big fort, which is the San Cristobal but with el Morro is enough. Just before the huge open field that precedes El Morro there is the old Cuartel de Ballajá, which used to be the headquarters of the spanish military in the island. It houses a museum and usually has nice exhibitions.

You should then lose yourself in the colonial streets of Old San Juan. Calle Fortaleza is where the governor's manor is located. If you can, try visiting the inside of the manor. It is the oldest house of government in continuous use in the Americas. Calle del Cristo is also important. There you can see the Cathedral and inside, Ponce de Leon's tomb. The Puerta de San Juan is also pretty amazing, you can observe the intact old wall looking towards the bay and the only spanish gate standing. Close to that area you can walk through the Plaza de Armas where the spanish cabildo used to be. San Juan is a place to loose yourself during the day and walk the streets, view the colonial architecture, do a little shopping and enjoy the sun.

Something very important to do in San Juan is eat. You have a lot of puertorrican delicacies. First, the traditional "piragua" is a coned filled with ice and the tropical fruit syrup of your choice (tamarind and guanabana are my favorites). For lunch a good typical place is Café Manolín in Calle San Justo 251 (try the mofongo, chicharrones de pollo and maybe some rice and beans). Another nice place for puertorrican food is Restaurante Raíces, is a little more touristy but it is nice. For more creative cuisine and dinner you have Aguaviva (seafood) and Dragonfly (asian-latino food) in Calle Fortaleza as well as Baru in Calle San Sebastián. If you are looking for something more specific to eat tell me. I live in Old San Juan and know most of the restaurants.

I think with this you have enough. Hope you enjoy.
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Dec 6th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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What a list from a guy who knows...ARTORIVS/Jose! I've explored the island twice...long ago and recently and seen most of what he says except Viequez or Culebra Islands. Borinquen does have some beautiful sites: El Yunque, Luquillo Beach, Boqueron, Camuy Cave, Rincon, Fajardo, yes Cayey in the mountains maybe enroute to Ponce, and Luisa is historically interesting. And you added El Morro and Old San Juan.

What about the Phosphorescent Bay out of La Paraguera fishing village refered to by Continental_Drifter? You mentioned seeing the mangroves. Long time ago the luminesence was spectacular when stirred up by propellers but not as much more recently...I understand more lights ashore has something to do with it.

I would add as worth seeing Arecibo Observatory and the Coamo Springs in the interior right on the road and also Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center north of Ponce. Jose, in Mayaguez long ago for a summer and recently with a study group located in San German. What changes in 40+ years!
Bill in Boston
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Dec 6th, 2011, 10:35 AM
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I think I will hire Jose as my tour guide next time I'm in Puerto Rico! : )
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Dec 24th, 2011, 10:49 PM
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Thanks Jose! You definitely gave me a better idea of how I need to plan my 7 day trip.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 01:58 PM
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Thanks for all the information Jose, it really helped! Can you give me the directions for Playa Sucia (Dirty Beach). How would you rate the beach as compared to Luquillo or Flamenco (which we found amazing!) How far is it from Rio Grande?
I would also appreciate the contact information for any fisherman who would take us to the keys.
Which company would you recommend for doing the biobay kayaking tour in Fajardo?
Is Vieques worth a day trip?
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Sep 16th, 2012, 05:44 AM
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I realize this is almost a year later, but there is some great information here, I would really appreciate the contact for the Bio bay near Fajardo, we are staying near there. ANd the info for Dirty Beach. Thank you in advance. If you prefer to e-mail, just add @
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Sep 16th, 2012, 05:41 PM
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El Yunque National Rainforest was a big disappointment to us. We were there in the middle of the week, and it was crowded and honestly not that interesting. I'd skip it, but that's just me. We loved Old San Juan, snorkeling trip to Culebra, the fabulous roast pork, and the kioskos at Luquillo. And drinking Medella Light at the pool.
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Dec 12th, 2013, 08:54 PM
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wow.. this is amazing information that folks will use for years to come
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Dec 15th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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...We have been to Puerto Rico a number of times, each time for over 7 days. Unless you really want to do a lot of driving and never stay long in one place, I would recommend you simply decide on a couple of locations as you suggested. One fun trip of ours was half in Rincón at the Blue Boy Inn and half in Cieba (east coast) at the Cieba Country Inn. We set up all of our trips over the internet and used tour books to help. Be sure to check the times when the various places are open and when the various tours are given, especially if you want one in English. Make sure you get a recent road map if you are going to drive.
...Use the excellent listing of José to help you. In the northeast, you could visit The Bioluminescent bay at night, Las Cabezas de San Juan wildlife preserve for a guided tour, El Yunque (which we thoroughly enjoyed) for hiking, Luquillo Beach for local color and even go to Viejo San Juan (check for festivals and for cruise ship dockings). You can find a variety of places to stay with a wide range in prices and amenities. You could even take a day to go to Culebra by ferry and do some snorkeling.
..If you go to the west, you could visit Rincón or Arecibo -we really liked Rincón- and visit Las Cavernas (José #8) as well as the Arecibo observatory. The town of Arecibo is interesting and the water is gorgeous.
...I agree with José that the southwest corner is a wonderful place to visit. If you do, be sure to visit the wildlife refuges in the area as well as the lighthouse (El Faro). A trip over to Ponce or up to Mayagüez would also be possible.
...On your next trip -and you will want to take such a trip- you can expand your tour to the Humacao area in the southeast. There you could go to Vieques for a bit of snorkeling, visit some indigenous places, snorkel at Monkey Island and drive around. You could also plan a trip into the Cordillera Central (south of Arecibo) where we were recently and which is considerably different -in a pleasant way- from the costal regions.
...Puerto Rico is beautiful and the people are friendly and helpful and to top it all off, the climate is warm especially to us northerners.
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Nov 18th, 2016, 12:07 AM
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My family will be in PR for the first time 12/21-12/31 --any advise since we will be there over the Christmas period ?

PR sounds like it is very pretty and I am excited to visit and explore it.

We plan to rent a car.Do you think we should rent a car for the entire stay? Could you recommend where we should stay and whether we should stay in a hotel or a vacation rental

I really appreciate the very helpful information you posted the other reader I would hire you as my guide! .
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Apr 21st, 2017, 11:28 PM
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Saving this thread for future travels. Thanks!
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