Puerto Rico safety

Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 01:54 PM
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Puerto Rico safety

We booked a trip to Puerto Rico next year. After it was finalized I heard quite a few things about violent crime.

We are still going but wanted to know:
- how safe did you feel when you were there?
- should we rent a car or take tours?
- any tips or things we should be aware of?
- should we confine our visit to San Juan during daylight hours?

This is our first trip to the Caribbean. We've been to Paris and Rome and despite warnings about these places we had no problems. We were just aware of our surroundings and didn't venture into areas we were unsure of. Is it the same in Puerto Rico?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Dec 4th, 2004, 07:11 AM
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Feb.,2005 will be our 2nd trip to PR. We travelled all over the island without any problems and we felt safe. PR is like anywhere else; just be aware of your surroundings. San Juan has the greatest amount of people and therefore the greatest amount of traffic. We rented a car, which I would recommend, simply b/c PR is such a large island.Just keep your head on a swivel,b/c especially during rush hour, vehichles come from nowhere; especially motorcycles. If there are 3 lanes of traffic, drivers will turn it into 6 lanes.
We'll be staying in Dorado which is about 30 miles west of San Juan. I've never been in SJ @ night, so I can't give any input.
If you are a beach person, take the ferry to Vieques or Culebra. You won't regret it.
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Old Dec 8th, 2004, 05:24 AM
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We felt safe when we were there (husband, me and toddler).
We're not tour people so we rented a car one day and took cabs a lot.
We went to Old San Juan during the day and at night for dinner. No problems at all.
Do a search for my screename and you'll find my trip report.
Enjoy!
 
Old Dec 8th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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WE traveled to Puerto Rico many times in the late 80's early 90's. We went everywhere without worrying. Now,that was a while ago, but I have heard that the Condado is unsafe at night now to walk around. I would hire a tour guide and visit the different beaches on the island. Old San Juan should be fine during the day. I would recommend taking a taxi to restaurants at night. I am sure it is like any other city, and you must be aware of your surroundings. I wouldn't take unnecessary chances.
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Old Dec 8th, 2004, 09:43 AM
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You should not be scared. I am a resident of Puerto Rico. I live in the San Juan area and have never had any problems. If you follow basic safety guidelines you should be fine (be aware or your surroundings, lock your car when you park it and not leave valuables, etc).

If you are as careful in San Juan as you have to be in New York, Rome or Paris you should not have any problems. If you plan on barhopping late, late at night you might consider some additional precautions.

There are a lot of violent crimes in the island but they are mostly related to drug trade.

A car is absolutely needed if you want to go explore the island. As posted before, traffic is crazy and can be quite stressful for someone not used to it.



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Old Dec 8th, 2004, 11:28 AM
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I was in Old San Juan over Memorial Day weekend. We stayed at El Convento and used the bus system to travel around town. Easier than renting a car, and allows you to see the city from a different perspective. If you've been to Rome and Paris (or NY for that matter), you'll be fine in SJU.

We felt very safe, and we walked all over the streets of Old San Juan at night. The restaurants are great there by the way. Enjoy the trip.
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Old Dec 12th, 2004, 04:38 PM
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Thanks to all the replied. You've put my mind at ease.

Any other first hand information that you have about what there is to see and do in Puerto Rico would be appreciated.

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Old Dec 12th, 2004, 05:45 PM
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We just came back from Caribbean trip and stayed in San Juan 2 nights before going further to BVI. San Juan is interesting walled town, military architecture. It was safe, however, we saw policemen on each corner in bulletproof vest. But again, we did not see any problems. We stayed in Ocean park, residential neigborhood and the beach was for local people, not tourist. It was very interesting people watching. We felt safe. However, we exercize caution and do not go to to areas where we would feel uncomfortable at night. We used taxis and they were very good. Traffic in the city. Outside city probably makes sense to take rental car.
Enjoy your travel


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Old Dec 13th, 2004, 08:14 AM
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If you're visiting San Juan for the first time, spend some time walking around Old San Juan. The forts of El Morro and San Christobal are at the top of Old San Juan. Lots of shops and restaurants in the old city as well. I highly recommend Dragonfly for dinner. There is also a good little Puerto Rican place inside an art shop on Fortaleza, next to the emerald store (I forget the name, but it specializes in emeralds).

The Bacardi distillery makes for a fun afternoon trip.
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Old Dec 13th, 2004, 10:41 AM
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There used to be a great restaurant called Don Pepe. Does anyone know of it? The food was excellent. I don't know if it is even still around. Marigross: Do you know the restaurant? Is it still good?
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 09:07 AM
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i have been to the island 4 times in the past 4 years. i've never felt in any danger at any time. my favorite place is cabo rojo. this is a light house on the extrme south west corner of the island. historic in nature and situated on massive cliffs. well worth the trip to get there. rent a car but make sure you get full insurance. one thing to take care of- all credit card receipts have your full cc # on them make sure to keep them.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 03:40 AM
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Girlonthego, the name Don Pepe does ring a bell but I am not sure. Was it a mexican place on Fortaleza street in OSJ? If so it is not longer there. If it was the big one in Condado that had the spiral staircase, it is gone as well

San Juan has A LOT of restaurants and many of them do not make it over a year. The dragonfly is great (food and ambiance), chinolatino (latin chinese). There are a couple of more restuarants next to the dragonfly.

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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 07:24 AM
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marigross-Don Pepe's was an upscale restaurant in the late 80's. I remember having beef wellington that was to die for. It seemed to be more of a locals place than a tourist restaurant. The lady who was the Public relations person at the Caribe Hilton drove us there.It was her favorite.(MY mom and I traveled alone there that time.)I went back with my husband. We just took a taxi. I don't remember location.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 07:28 AM
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Dragonfly is great (along with the lounge-sushi bar Dragonfly II next door). If you can't get in there, try the Indian fusion place next door to the right or the seafood place on the left (I forget the names). I also like El Picoteo at Hotel El Convento.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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there is a ton to do in pr.
el yunque which is the rainforest is killer if you wish you can hike around and see different birds and fauna which is really really something to see go early in the am before the creatures have time to get up and hide. you wont find this anywhere else except maybe like costa rica. el yunque is about 45 min by car from the sj airport.
then, there is old san juan. go there during the day to shop and then have dinner there one evening its very very pretty and romantic. there are some seriously great restaurants there. i cant remember the name of the one i ate at but it had an old water well in it. it was expensive but really good food.
check out the bacardi distillery that is neat to see. also, el morro is cool. but if you want some real outdoorsy things to do head west.
go to www.rinconpr.com and also check out www.portadelsol.com they give more descriptions on what to do on the west coast of pr. where there is mountain biking, surfing and hiking in the dry forest.
i have not been there yet but i heard absolutely wonderful, wonderful things about culebra. which is an island off the fajardo coast. you can charter a catamaran or take the ferry which takes much longer but i am sure it is much cheaper. anyway, go to flamenco beach.
if you have time check out one of the coffee plantations in the mountains near adjuntas. my husband and i have been to pr 2 times in 3 years and we are going again this year for a long weekend. i have also traveled there several times with my mom and dad. my mom was born there but i like it more than her now.
i love the culture and the spanish music. you really feel like you want to dance. go to the wyndham el san juan in the evening. the club off the cigar bar has good entertainment and dancing in the evening. also, there is a very good italian restaurant in that hotel. if you want authentic prcn food try ajili mojili. there are 2 of them 1 in sj and one at the westin rio mar. it offers alot for an island and is an easy flight. that is why we travel there. we have traveled alot my husband and i and just find it easy to go and get on a plane and be there. keep in mind that b/c it is a commonwealth of the us it has the same us prices even higher in some aspects...dont expect to pay mexico or d.r. prices.
get a frommer's guide to pr its very helpful with restaurants and excursions charter services etc...
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