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Two Puerto Rico questions: Driving? What not to miss?

Two Puerto Rico questions: Driving? What not to miss?

Jul 8th, 1998, 04:55 AM
  #1  
Brian Staihr
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Two Puerto Rico questions: Driving? What not to miss?

Will be making our first trip to Puerto Rico soon. Two questions: First, we have conflicting reports on whether or not to rent a car. We'll be staying in San Juan but want to travel the entire island. Any suggestions? Second, what should we absolutely not miss on our trip? Thanks!
 
Jul 8th, 1998, 01:52 PM
  #2  
Amapola Rodriguez
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Regarding what not to miss, PR has many sights to please all interests.
-Old San Juan - the old Spanish Colonial walled city, beautiful restored homes, old forts, craft shops, restaurants (Jules Cafe, Italian/Caribbean, is one of my favorites), art galleries. Worth a whole day to explore. No car needed for this.
-Condado and Isla Verde areas (in San Juan) - the main tourist/hotel areas. Shops, hotels, hotels, hotels. All beaches in PR are public, so you don't have to be staying at a particular hotel to enjoy its beach.
-El Yunque - the only tropical rain forest in the US Forest Service. Definitely a must! About 1 hour east of San Juan. Lots of hiking paths for different experience and stamina levels. Park Rangers can direct you. Some swimming holes and waterfalls - wear your bathing suit under your clothes!
-Faro de las Cabezas de San Juan - an old Spanish lighthouse in an outcrop in Fajardo (despite the name), about 1 1/4 hours east of San Juan. Must make reservations, number is available in brochures at the hotels. Another must see.
-Luquillo public beach - also about an hour east of San Juan, beautiful sand, calm waters...
-Ponce - second largest city, on the south coast, about 1 1/2 hours from San Juan via an excellent highway. Museums, historic homes. Taino Indian burial site nearby.
-Camuy River caverns - one of the largest cave systems, with a beautiful underground river. About 2 1/2 hours WEST of San Juan, most of it on a good highway.
-Arecibo Radio Observatory - featured in Contact with Jodie Foster, very interesting if you're into astronomy and such. Can be combined with the trip to the caverns if you're an early riser.
-Vieques and Culebra - two smaller islands just east of the main Island (did you know PR is actually an archipelago?) famous for beautiful beaches.
There are many other sights worth seeing, but I don't want to take up the entire forum!

If you want to go outside of San Juan, you definitely need a car, as public transportation is erratic and uncomfortable. People do drive wildly here, but probably not more so than in large US cities, I guess. Roads are generally in good shape and excellent maps are available.

If you have specific questions please feel free to ask me. Have fun in the sun!
 
Jul 10th, 1998, 06:42 AM
  #3  
Bob Kisch
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My wife and I get to Puerto Rico a lot and we would like to get to Mayaguez for day trips. Been everywhere else of interest, in Puerto Rico. There was a bus, John's Bus Service from the Old City via Aguadilla to Mayaguez, but that is out of business. The hotels make contacts for us with van drivers, but they always cancel because they do not have enough passengers going. Aside from flying, how can we get there for one day trips, say leaving at 6a.m. and departing Mayaguez maybe 6p.m.
 
Jul 11th, 1998, 05:53 AM
  #4  
Alicia
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Other then renting a car, which is the ideal way to get to Mayaguez (100 mi. west of San Juan), you can take a "Publico" car (taxi van) from the Rio Piedras bus station located near the Plaza del Mercado (Market Place). Take a taxi from your hotel and ask the drive to take you to where the "Publico" (pron. "POOblee-ko) leave for the island towns. They also have publico vans that go to Ponce, Caguas, Humacao, Carolina, Fajardo and other small towns on the island. The cost is very inexpensive, and the trips are long and hot (no air-conditioning), but you'll get to meet locals and see a side of the island that the average tourist never experiences. Good luck.
 
Jul 13th, 1998, 07:18 AM
  #5  
Bob Kisch
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Alicia:
Thanks! We don't drive, but we get to Rio Piedras quite often, with the guagua, the De Diego shopping area and the enclosed mercado, having lunch there in fact, in the market. We know where the publicos stand, but see only for Culebra, Luquillo, Carolina, closer in than Mayaguez. Ponce is easy, as most Condado tourists opt for this location and no problem getting a full van picking up along Ashford at the hotels. It is my wife's family there, that have taken us further afar, Camuy and Arecibo Observatory, Lares, El Yunque, Luquillo, Loiza Aldea, etc. But, they work, we are on vacation and well, we try to go it alone.
 
Jul 14th, 1998, 05:44 AM
  #6  
Alicia
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To Bob: I called the Puerto Rico Office of Tourism and they gave me the phone number of the Publico Van Line from the Rio Piedras station I mentioned above which travels to Mayaguez, it is: Sultana Line, Tel. (787) 767-5205 & 767-9377. I was informed that the publico cars leave every 2 hours starting at 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. The cost is $13.00 (one way) p/p. If you want, they will pick you up at your hotel in the Condado. If you want to go and return the same day, my advice is to take the earliest publico that leaves at 8 a.m. It's at least a 2-1/2 drive to Mayaguez from San Juan. But my advice is to stay overnight at one of the hotels in Mayaguez and explore the city. There's lots to see! Good luck.
 
Jul 15th, 1998, 05:31 AM
  #7  
Bob Kisch
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Alicia:
Thanks a million for the Publico info. We did not know about that line to Mayaguez from R.P. Be there in Puerto Rico, for November 1.
Bob
 
Aug 17th, 1998, 01:59 PM
  #8  
Diana Sella
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If you want a good place for a great price visit in the soutwest part of the island visit Cofresi Beach Club. A condo-hotel in the village of Boqueron. In the page of the condo-hotel them include a good guide of activities in the southwest of the island.
http://home.coqui.net/cbcsella/
 
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