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lv2trvl Feb 17th, 2006 12:48 PM

San Juan & Vieques Trip Report with Toddler
 
Feb 6th to Feb 13th San Juan & Vieques.
My husband, 22 month old son and myself (6 months pregant at the time) had a wonderful vacation in Puerto Rico.

Newark to San Juan $139 RT! Expedia
San Juan:
ESJ Towers - San Juan - 4 nights $80 per night thanks to a posting on this site. I was able to rent someones timeshare. Great Location in Isla Verde right next to the El San Juan. The room was fine. Nothing Fancy. Nice Pool. Great Concierge.
We rented a car from Target Rental Car for $30 + a day. They picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel.
Day 1 - Swam in pool, Excellent Dinner at Metropol

Day 2 - Rented Car from Target $30 + per day
drove to Rainforest. Hiked to waterfall my husband carried my son on his shoulders the whole way. Dinner at Mexican Place next to ESJ was okay - nothing great.

Day 3 - Caves - Old San Juan and El Morro - Great Day!

Day 4 - Snorkeling trip out of Fajardo - GREAT!!! Lunch & Drinks including $55 per person - our son was free.

Day 5 - High Speed Ferry to Vieques $45 pp one way
Amapola Inn- Vieques - 3 nights $125 Nt
Martineau Rental Car - Vieques $85 a day (w/carseat)
Day 5,6,7 relaxed in Vieques...
We loved Vieques, Sun Bay, Media Luna, Green Beach. The beaches were beautiful, half the fun was getting the them in our Jeep. What an adventure!
Cape Air to SJU - $95 per person
Feel free to ask any questions as this board helped me tremendously my planning!



mahobaygirl Feb 17th, 2006 02:23 PM

this is the first that I have heard about the High Speed Ferry operating this season!
What is their schedule like?

I have seen the ad for the snorkel trip out of Fajardo, it is a lot cheaper than anything we have done in ST. John. Can you tell us where they take you and what the snorkeling was like?


owa Feb 18th, 2006 03:22 AM

Iv2trvl,
Isn't Vieques great? We went for the first time in December and absolutely loved it. If you are interested, click on my name to read my trip report.

Was the noise at Amapola a problem?
Thanks for the report. Owa

lv2trvl Feb 18th, 2006 04:04 PM

mahobaygirl,

I know I was pleasantly surprised to find the high speed ferry running out of San Juan. The impression I got from this board was that it no longer runs.
The schedule as far as I can remember is only once a day @ 8am or 9am with a stop at Culebra then onto Vieques. It does not run on Mondays that is why we ended up flying back.
As far as snorkeling goes, I am not sure where they took us, about 45 minutes or less East? of Fajardo to a small island, then out to a deeper reef a little bit off the island. I can only compare it to Fiji as I have not been snorkeling anywhere else in the Caribbean. It was better than I thought. I saw plenty of fish and the water was nice and clear. It was one of our favorite days so I would say it was well worth it.

lv2trvl Feb 18th, 2006 04:17 PM

Owa,

Yes! We loved Vieques! I just read your trip report and I wish I had read it before we left. You gave great detail on the snorkeling which we missed out on. So I guess we will just have to go back : )
The noise at the Amapola Inn was not a problem for us, don't get me wrong it was very noisy on Sat and Sun Night from Bananas next door and the local bar across the street but honestly we were so exhausted each night that we slept right through it. I enjoyed staying in Esperanza being on the Malecon was convenient, I would do it again.

owa Feb 19th, 2006 02:33 AM

lv2trvl,

Glad to hear Amapola was not a problem. I looked at every lodging in Esperanza since we are early morning walkers. It would have been wonderful to walk there in the quiet of the morning. I decided against it because I'm not a good sleeper. Sure would have been cheaper!!!

We missed Sun Beach because we ran out of time. We already talk about when we can go back, but we have three Caribbean trips planned for this year. We are hoping Bonaire lives up to its reputation for snorkeling. Owa


amwisdom Feb 23rd, 2006 08:37 AM

Thanks for the trip report lv2trvl.

We're spending a week in Vieques in late May. My wife (who will also be 5 months pregnant at the time), my 2 year old daughter, and I will be spending a week in Vieques in late May.

A few questions based on the similarities in our family situations:
1) Did you do any snorkeling? My wife loves to snorkle and is in good shape, but is concerned about how tiring it will be.
2) Being pregnant, did you find any of the beaches too far to walk to from the parking lot?
3) What activities/beaches did your toddler most enjoy?
4) Did you have a crib/pack-and-play for your toddler?
5) Did you use a babysitter at all or have someone with you to watch your toddler? And if so, what did you do when you went out?

We're taking a family friend's daughter with us to help with our toddler. She will babysit for us a few nights and I want to make sure we use the time to do something special for my pregnant wife to enjoy.

Any additional insight into what I can do for my pregnant wife and toddler to make sure they have a good relaxing time will be appreciated.

Thanks!

lv2trvl Feb 27th, 2006 07:22 AM

amwisdom,

You are going to have a great time!
Here are some answers for your questions:
1)Snorkeling - yes! Very relaxing while pregnant. Try to find the Vieques post on this board that lists all the snorkeling spots I didn't read this until after my trip and regretted it. Swimming feels great not tiring at all. I also did a lot of walking on this trip in general and it felt really good especially with all the extra food you eat on vacation.
2)Beaches in Vieques are not far at all.
In fact many you can pull your jeep right up to the beach area.
3)You must bring your daughter to Media Luna Beach. They call it "baby beach". There are no waves or rough surf. We loved it! Favortie activity was shovel and pail. We picked one up in a gift shop on the Malecon. I also suggest Sun Bay as I thought it was the most beautiful beach there! Not great for your daughter swimming though but she can play on the sand there.
4)No pack-n-play or Crib. We like to travel light! Our hotel in San Juan had one but in Vieques our little guy just slept with us. Luckily he is back in in his crib now at home with no problems transitioning.
5)No babysitters. Our son was with us the whole time. We really enjoyed the time with him as we both work full time at home. He was a nice little travel companion. He was kind enough to fall asleep in the car some nights, then we would put him in his stroller and go to a restaurant. He slept right through our dinner at bananas!
He loved the jeep, the lizards the beach, and he liked to dance to the spanish music which always made us laugh. One of our favorite quotes from the trip was when we drove the jeep down the dirtroads to Green Beach and he yelled from the back in his carseat
"Out of the Jeep!" he he he - go to green beach and you'll know why.

Let me know if you have other questions.
Enjoy your trip. Its fun with a toddler + you will have help so I love the idea that you will take your wife out. A nice dinner at any of the restaurants will be great. Just enjoy the beach and restaurants, there isn't much more to it than that!
If you need fruits or vegetables or anything remotely healty - go to Zee Store. The woman there is from NY and has lived in Viequest for 7 years. She has a 4 yr old. She made us great smoothies!

hikerbeacher Mar 11th, 2006 09:54 AM

Hello lv2trvl,
Your itin. sounds close to what we would like to do: fly into SJ, rent a car, stay close to Yunque, hike for a few days then go to Vieques for a few days. The problem I am running into is what to do with the car I have rented in San Juan (SJ) when I'm on Vieques. I understand we cannot take with. Sounds like you stayed closer to SJ than Yunque, is that right?

zirconia Mar 12th, 2006 07:45 PM

Hi lv2trvl,
Great to read about ur trip. We have a 15 month old and was thinking about Vieques as well. Is a rental car a necessity? Did you stay in a place that had kitchenettes? How about restaurants and food? We are vegetarians and usually find something or the other to get by in most places. Was the place you stayed on a beach front??

thanks

lv2trvl Mar 15th, 2006 09:14 AM

Hi hikerbeacher,

We actually rented 2 cars. One in San Juan and then one in Vieques. We stayed in the Isla Verde area.
One thing I wish we had done was rented a car that had a drop off in Fajardo and then taken the ferry from there. We had to return our car in San Juan so we would have had to pay cab fare to Fajardo to get to the ferry. So we just ended up taking the high-speed ferry from San Juan - which was more pricey.
There is a ferry that takes cars over to Vieques but probably has a limited schedule and require advanced planning.
So you may have to rent 2 cars also - Just make sure you plan it out with your transportation to the island.

lv2trvl Mar 15th, 2006 09:24 AM

Hi Zirconia,

Definitely go to Vieques. It was our favorite part of our trip. I highly recommend a car. We rented a jeep with a carseat in the back. We took the top off the jeep. It was so much fun. It was a great way to see the island not to mention a great way to get our baby to fall asleep - then we would transfer him to his stroller and go out to dinner while he slept!
Yes the Amapola Guest House had kitchenetts. We hardly used it though except for the fridge. All of the guesthouses in Esperanza that are on the Malecon are across the street from the beach - there are areas that you can go in the water but we ended up driving 5 minutes - you could even walk it to Sun Bay and Media Luna is just a little farther. I highly recommend Media Luna for a toddler.
I don't know about restaurants for vegetarian but I suggest when you arrive on the island you go directly to Zee Store its on the map from the car rental agency. It is actually a house not a store so don't pass it. The woman there grows fruits and vegetables and has a lot of organic stuff as well. She would be your best source as she is a vegetarian and would be able to tell you the ins and outs on the island as far as eating.
Enjoy! Oh there is also a great park for the kids with slides swings etc on the road directly behind the malecon. It runs parallel to the malecon 1 block in from the beach. We loved it and it was well shaded.


MomJC Mar 25th, 2006 11:28 AM

lv2trvl,
we will be going to Vieques from Apr 20 to 23, 2006. Can you help w/ a few questions:
1) is there a law requiring car seat in Vieques for toddlers? I have a 2 1/2 yr old and 4 1/2 yr old (the older boy is pretty big and tall for his age, so may not need car seat if it's not the law)
2) Can you tell me how the snorkeling tour people handle the kid for you? Do they watch your son when you both snorkel? Who is the tour company that you went with? Thanks very much for your help.

lv2trvl Mar 27th, 2006 06:34 AM

MomJC,

Hello. I don't know for sure but I highly doubt anyone in Vieques would notice about a 4 year old not in a car seat. Thats just my opinion. Be carefule though the roads are very windy and narrow in spots.
Our snorkeling trip was actually in Fajardo not Vieques. I can't remember the name of the company oh I think it was Castillo? There are a few of them though and they all seem similar. There should be brochures in any hotels on mainland PR. Anyway, no they did not watch our son for us - we were just grateful that they allowed him on the boat at all!...We watched him and took turns snorkeling he played on the beach and ate lunch with us as well. It was a really great day!

Kiernito Mar 29th, 2006 07:02 PM

We are currently planning a family reunion in late December and were hoping to get some advice on Martineau in Vieques. We will be 5 couples with 9 children 5 and under, so we're probably going to rent a villa. Has anyone had any relevant experiences to share?

I appreciate your attention!


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