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Puerto Rico- safety?

Old Jan 19th, 2005, 09:15 AM
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Puerto Rico- safety?

Is Puerto Rico- particularly San Juan and Ponce generally safe to visit or better as a stopping point in transit to another island? Is it necessary to be very alert and vigilant in all areas of PR. or is it just needed in certain areas or times? Comments appreciated.
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Old Jan 19th, 2005, 10:11 PM
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Gigi,
Generally Puerto Rico is full of crime, if you have opportunity to stop over at a quieter island I'd recommend that, if not yes be very alert at all times.
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 03:56 AM
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I have to disagree with Traveler 863. I don't think you can make such a generalized remark. I have visited Puerto Rico many times and have always found the people to be exceptionally friendly and helpful. Is there any crime?-Yes,just as there is anywhere else. San Juan is a city. Cities tend to have crime. You should be alert and very aware of your surroundings wherever you go. Puerto Rico has a lot to offer. Great history, wonderful beaches, the rain forest, and a lot of culture to absorb.
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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I went to Puerto Rico last year, stayed in Ocean Park and caught a local bus to San Juan for a day. It looks a lot like Old Spain, it's nice and there's lots to see. It's not dangerous, You can't walk around dangling your purse frivolously but surely you weren't planning to do that anyway, right. Go, Enjoy it, Take the same tourist precautions you would in any city.
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 09:07 AM
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Hi. I can't comment on Ponce since didn't go there, but when we were in San Juan, we walked around Old San Juan during the day and at night (for dinner). We didn't feel unsafe at all. We rented a car and drove to the Caribbean side, again, we did not feel unsafe. There's a noticeable police presence around Old San Juan, fyi.
Yes, I'm sure there are areas that are unsafe. We saw a few areas that didn't look too good on the way from the airport (but you can find that in any U.S. city, right?).
Enjoy if you decide to go.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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Please do not listen to ridiculous statements like "Puerto Rico is full of crime." Puerto Rico is a very diverse island. Most of the population lives in the San Juan area. This means that it is somewhat congested and there is crime (like in any other city). Some people do not want congestion when on a tropical vacation. If that is your situation, then I would not recommend San Juan (even though it has a lot to offer in the way of culture, restaurants, and nightlife).

However, there are many other areas of Puerto Rico that are more like what people typically think of as a Caribbean vacation.

I have been to Puerto Rico many times and have found the people to be welcoming and friendly.
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 11:26 AM
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Last year I took my daughter (age 21) and her college roomate to Puerto Rico and St Thomas for a week in January. We stayed in the Isla Verde area at the Ritz Carlton and we felt the area was safe. We rode buses in the day time and taxi cabs at night. The girls went out to clubs for dancing and I never felt that it was too dangerous or that we were in a crime ridden city.
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 08:29 PM
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Thanks for all of your replies. It does sound like there may be a crime problem, with the amount of police presence and the warnings given(from replies on this site and from other sources, as well) to exercise vigilance in San Juan and other areas in P.R. San Juan does look nice to visit, though. And we were or are considering it on route to Anguilla. Any other comments would be appreciated.
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Old Jan 21st, 2005, 02:34 AM
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San Juan is a CITY with all probles associated with cities. Most of the things reported are drug-related crimes and do not involve tourist at all. Do not fear but be aware of your surroundings - just as if you were in New York, Madrid, Chicago or Paris. Ponce is a lot smaller and therefore has signigicantly less overall crime when compared to San Juan.
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Old Jan 21st, 2005, 05:25 AM
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My wife and I were in San Juan last May. We never felt unsafe. We took the bus from the Wyndham El San Juan to Old San Juan, crowded but safe. We rented a car and drove to the Rainforest Stopping at several locations and never felt unsafe.
We walked at night to other close hotels and it was fine.

Our impression was San Juan itself if not a tropical paradise and very often dirty. Like any other city/country you must take certain precautions and be aware of your surroundings.
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Old Jan 21st, 2005, 06:21 AM
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I visited Puerto Rico in December 2002. We stayed in the Condado area of San Juan for about 5 days, rented a car and drove to Fajardo and then flew to Vieques, flew back to Fajardo, drove to Ponce and stayed in Ponce for about 4 days in a hotel right off the main square in town. Puerto is no more dangerous than any place you would travel in the United States. As with all travel, you should never have a false sense of security. That being said, however, I felt quite safe and never experienced any problems. I'll add that we were two women traveling alone--myself and my elderly mother--and everyone was very kind and friendly. You should go--Puerto Rico is beautiful and fascinating!
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Old Jan 21st, 2005, 03:55 PM
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It irks me to no end when people say "I've never had any problems, so sure its safe"...what an ignorant thing to say! Is San Juan and/or Puerto Rico as a whole a great place? Sure it is, but its got some serious crime problems. Either you aren't aware of them because you never did the research or choose to turn the blind eye. However, better safe than sorry...of course its a great place to go but people really need to be aware and not bury their head in the sand and least not encourage others to go there blindly saying there are no problems because you haven't personally experienced them, that is downright irresponsible!!!

Happy travels to all and safe ones!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2005, 05:27 AM
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Traveler863: Did I miss a reply? WHO said "I've never had any problems, so sure it's safe"?
Everyone who replied said they didn't experience any problems (which is their experience and their reality), but they all tempered their replies by saying it is a big city, therefore has its problems and one needs to exercise caution.
Would you tell someone to avoid NYC, Los Angeles or any other big American city because some areas in them are seedy?

 
Old Jan 22nd, 2005, 05:33 AM
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I'm also curious, Traveler863. Have you been to Puerto Rico? If so, where did you stay? Did you have a bad experience re: crime? If so, I can understand your strong opinion. What exactly happened?
If you haven't been, it's really not fair to criticize a place you haven't been to and criticize others' opinions who have been and didn't experience any crime.
 
Old Jan 23rd, 2005, 03:37 AM
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I love San Juan, and find it to be a very vibrant city. However, you should be aware of your surroundings, just like you would in a visit to NYC, Boston, DC or Miami. In my travels there, we've taken public transportation and taxis, and walked around at night without any problems.

I guess it depends what you want for your vacation. I recommend San Juan and Puerto Rico many times to friends.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2005, 10:01 AM
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I have stayed in PR many times...just last month for 2 days prior to a cruise. Always felt as safe there as in any city. LOVE old san juan - great shopping/sightseeing/etc! As far as Anguilla, a great place - but totally different - its for beaches/water sports/lux.resorts...PR has nightlife/shopping/gambling.
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 08:05 PM
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Thank you again for your replies. Traveler863- you put it well. Yankees1- Old San Juan would interest me the most about P.R. As for the gambling-- I'm against that. The beaches and restaurants are what spurred our interest in Anguilla.
Could you elaborate more on both areas?
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 04:05 AM
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xGigi: Since it looks like you're still considering PR, PLEASE tell me you're getting your "travelers" confused...
 
Old Feb 1st, 2005, 11:03 AM
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Puerto Rico is the stop-over on our way to Anguilla. We were trying to determine the duration of time to spend on the island, as it does have interesting points (esp. San Juan). It does have differences from other places, though, since I've heard, it's a transit place for drug trafficers. We've also heard mentioned about the strong police presence and many guarding the hotels in tourist areas with bullet-proof vests. We don't like gambling and we're wondering if it's all around-- we see many of the hotels have casinos.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 12:39 PM
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xGigi: I don't think you're comfortable going to PR, and that's okay. I can't speak for everyone on this post but I'm sure none of us want you to go somewhere you're not comfortable going to. You will NOT enjoy yourself. Believe me. This is YOUR vacation and you want to have fun and come back with great memories. The responses on this board have been mostly positive about PR but you're still concerned. So do what your gut tells you to do and don't do something because a bunch of strangers on a board are telling you their experiences were great.
Remember, this is your vacation and you know better than any of us what you like.
Enjoy Anguilla. I hear the beaches are incredible. I'll have to find that out for myself one day.
 

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