Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Caribbean Islands (
-   -   Puerto Rico Questions (

Ivy Jun 19th, 2003 05:54 AM

Puerto Rico Questions
Thinking of taking a vacation to P.R. and have never been there before. My husband and I like upscale resorts, sightseeing, archealogical sights, culture and natural wonders. Does P.R. sound like a good choice for us? We also love nice beaches, if we stay in San Juan, are the beaches nice? Thanks!!

ebrener Jun 19th, 2003 08:08 AM

Hi Ivy:

You can certainly get all that in Pureto Rico! The archeology may not be that old, but I find the island's history very interesting. The best known "attraction" is El Morro, a fort in San Juan itself. Also, visit the Yunque, Puerto Rico's rainforest.

As far as hotels, there are some that are very nice. I received an offer a few days ago for the Westin Rio Mar for $415/person for 5 nights, and another one for 4 nights starting at $332/person in several hotels,including breakfast, room upgrade and a "cultural entertainment program".

Let me know if you want more details about them, I can e-mail them to you.



tom42 Jun 19th, 2003 09:25 AM

P.R. sounds like an excellent choice for you. If you stay in San Juan, the beaches are nice but not the best in the Carribean or even the best in PR. I prefer Isla Verde beach over Condado. Isla Verde has the Ritz Carlton (although it is a hotel, not a resort) and the Wyndham El San Juan (which is a resort - two pools, several restaurants). Depending on the length of your trip, you might want to split it up - do a few days in San Juan and a few days elsewhere. The Wyndham recently opened a hotel in Vieques that looks pretty cool. Other resort options include El Conquistador (another Wyndham - I'm not pushing Wyndham - it's just that they have a very strong presence on PR) and the Westin Rio Mar. Never stayed at the Westin but El Conquistador is a sprawling resort, with several different "hotels" to choose from, really nice grounds, private island (no beach at the hotel, you have to go to the island). It is close to El Yunque and one other forest reserve that can't remember the name of.

Ivy Jun 19th, 2003 12:17 PM

Thanks Tom and Enrique! Let me ask you this: if we stay in san juan should we drive to the rainforest and all the other sights or take tours? And alternately, would it be better to stay in a resort like el conquistador and then drive or take tours to san juan? In other words, which is better to make the home base? THANKS!!

diann Jun 19th, 2003 01:07 PM

Yes PR sounds great for what you are seeking. El conquistador is a lovely property but is kind of away from the hustle and bustle. I would stay in Isla Verde. Also EC is not on a beach as someone said all ready. I would also try and see the Island of Culebra while visiting PR. Some people find it scary to drive there so a tour from the hotel would be fine for the rain forest. The beaches are nice in Isla Verde. I would base myself in that area.

Ivy Jun 19th, 2003 01:16 PM

Thanks Dian, what resorts are located in isla verde? Forgive my ignorance but I am not really sure where Isla Verde is!! Thanks so much!!

tom42 Jun 20th, 2003 04:52 AM

Personally, if I was to be based at one place for the whole trip, I would choose San Juan. It just depends what type of vacation you want. Staying in San Juan is like taking a tropical city trip - it's pretty developed and busy. But it has the advantages of shopping, restaurants and nightlife. I would rent a car to see any of the sights rather than taking tours. Driving in PR is not bad at all, except for the immediate San Juan area. For Old San Juan, you could either take a taxi or the bus.

Isla Verde and Condado are the two resort areas in San Juan. Isla Verde is closer to the airport (probably 5-10 minute drive, while Condado is 15-20 minutes) and further away from Old San Juan than Condado. The hotels in Isla Verde are the two that I mentioned plus the Intercontinental and the El San Juan Towers (timeshares). There is also a new boutique hotel called the Water Club.

Condado has the Marriott and the Wyndham Condado Plaza. There are also other more moderate hotels in both areas.

Ivy Jun 20th, 2003 06:42 AM

Thank you guys, this info is REALLY helpful!!

McSmith Jun 20th, 2003 08:07 AM

I have found some very interesting suggestions on this thread. Does anyone know of any small resorts with cottages or suites on PR?

susanmd Jun 21st, 2003 01:12 AM

Ivy, we just got back from PR. Read between the lines. Not great beaches and very busy. Isla Verde is a city near the airport. When we saw it we were glad we didn't stay there. You will have to drive on major highways to go anywhere. We did have a good time though. We met some great local people, played golf, went to El Yunque, Aricibo, El Morro, Baccardi, etc. It is not a classic tropical paradise. It is a very busy, developed country. I'm not saying don't go. I'm just saying you need to be prepared.

diann Jun 22nd, 2003 07:07 AM

Ivy,susanmd does point out a realistic view of PR. The Island is full of a tropical feel outside of the populated areas. This is a city, with activity, busy, etc. San Juan is not a desolated city. I think most of us voted for PR simply because of your the initial requests. Culture and natural wonders. There are Islands with nicer beaches although on a cruise I found the water warmer in PR then any other 6 islands we visited. The sand is not the white sand, but on those Islands where you find this there may not be as much activity in other area of your interest. I like PR for that reason. It offers more diversity then just sitting on a beach. This is a US Territory so you will see malls, shopping areas just like in the U.S. You will see typical chains like in the US. You won't see this on other Island such as T&C. I still think for your interests you would like PR. It is good to receive a well balanced over view of the places you are contemplating vacationing. Good luck.

tom42 Jun 23rd, 2003 05:53 AM

why would Ivy have to "read between the lines?" I think the posts have been pretty clear that San Juan is a city. With that you get some advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you want out of a trip.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:14 PM.