where to stay a week or so in Puerto Rico

Jan 2nd, 2001, 01:33 PM
  #1  
chris
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where to stay a week or so in Puerto Rico

We are thinking of travelling to Puerto Rico this month for at least a week. We've been thinking of staying in one place and travelling around the island by rental car to see the sights. Any suggestions on affordable, clean accomodations for a week or so. We were thinking of either one of the paradores or possibly renting a cabin or cottage if it was cheap enough. Any guidance is appreciated. Thanks.
 
Jan 2nd, 2001, 03:58 PM
  #2  
Mariarosa
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If you will be in Puerto Rico for at least 1 week, you may consider splitting your time: stay part of the time in San Juan and part of the time in the southwest part of the island. From San Juan, it is less than a 1 hour drive to El Yunque rain forest where you can walk through trails towards the cascade. You can also visit Old San Juan which is very charming. Additionally, you can take a snorkeling trip that departs from Fajardo (also 1 hour from San Juan).

Then, you can drive through the mountain range from San Juan to Ponce. Stop in Ponce, which is another charming colonial town, and then reach the southwestern part of the island, which is very quaint and laid back...very different from San Juan. You can stay somewhere in Cabo Rojo (Boqueron or Joyuda), Guanica, or Lajas (La Parguera area). Cabo Rojo and Lajas have inexpensive accomodations. If you dive there's diving in La Parguera. La Parguera doesn't have good beaches, but hotels can make arrangements for day trips to the nearby cays. La Parguera also has a biolumnescent bay, which is nowhere as good as the one in Vieques, but fun nonetheless. Joyuda has great seafood. Guanica has good beaches (Ballena and Guilligan's). Guanica also has a dry forest and great mangroves. All these places in the southwest are less than 1 hour from each other. There are a few paradores in the area...they are NOT fancy, but inexpensive. A group of us stayed at Posada Porlamar in La Parguera...we just walked in without resevations. The rooms were very bare and plain, but the woman at the front desk said that their 3rd floor rooms are remodeled and renovated and have water views. Food in this area is very cheap...try eating at a local panaderia (bakery) for breakfast. Have fun, post additional questions if you have any!
 
Jan 3rd, 2001, 03:17 AM
  #3  
peg
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The previous poster covered much of it. Agree the paradors are worth checking into, if only for prices, but we stayed two nights at the Lazy Parrot Inn in Rincon in February and loved it. It's a small family run inn, very charming and comfortable, has a restaurant and a nice pool area including jacuzzi. It's just a mile or two from several beaches. I think we paid about $110/night. It's about 2-1/2 hours easy drive from SJU, and well located to explore the western and south half of the island. We were able to take back (waterside) roads almost all the way to Ponce. See info on the LP Inn at wheretostay.com--lots of visitor reviews (including one from me). Recommend you pick up a good road map stateside before going. We got one at Barnes/Noble, and it was indispensible. Roads, while good overall, are not well marked, and the maps the rental agencies provide are not good. Have a great time--PR is beautiful, but you need to get outside SJ to see it...
 
Jan 3rd, 2001, 07:07 AM
  #4  
chris
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mariarosa and peg,
thanks for the information. we were in old san juan for two days last year and enjoyed it very much. we stayed at the hotel milano which was reasonably priced and clean, with a helpful staff. so, this year, we probably won't do san juan. we're leaning toward staying at the parador hacienda gripinas in the center of the island and branching out from there to see Ponce, Arecibo, El Yunque, and the little towns along the coast. The Lazy Parrot sounds nice and could definitely be an option. Oh, we will probably be renting a car for the time we are down there. Any tips? Anyway, thanks again for your helpful advice.
 
Jan 3rd, 2001, 08:03 AM
  #5  
Mariarosa
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Hi Chris! I haven't stayed at the parador Hacienda Gripin~as, but I have have seen pictures and it looks very quaint, rustic, and peaceful. It does sound like a great place to stay, my Frommer's guide book praises it as one of the best paradores.

I should advise you though, that while it is located in the center of the island, it connects to other towns through small country roads - not highways. This, of course, adds to the charm of it, but while it may look very close in terms of distance to Ponce and Arecibo, keep in mind that the roads will be small (in some places it might be one-lane each way). Just make sure to allow enough time in your itinerary to get to places. For example, to see El Yunque from Jayuya, you will probably have to drive back to San Juan. A friend of mine drove through what is called the "Panormic route" which crosses the island from east-west through small, mountain roads in the center of the island. The Hacienda Gripinas is supposed to be in the smack middle of this route. I think www.prtourism.com has a map and further information on the Panormaic (and other) driving routes and places to see.

Because the Hacienda is in the mountains - it makes for an ideal base to see the inside mountain region, which is not frequently visited by tourists. However, because of the amount of time that you will spend getting out of the mountains to the small coastal towns - you might consider staying part of the time at the Hacienda and part of the time in one of the small coastal towns (maybe take Peg's suggestion on Rincon).
have fun!
 
Jan 3rd, 2001, 12:58 PM
  #6  
chris
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thanks mariarosa!
 
Jan 4th, 2001, 03:51 AM
  #7  
peg
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Hi again Chris -- I rented a car on-line through onetravel.com, Dollar Rental at the SJU airport. About $30/day. Had no problems, but of course, since I'd booked on-line, I did call the actual airport Dollar office to confirm. All went smoothly.

I agree with Mariarosa that many "off-highway" roads are narrow and very twisty. It is a driving challenge in spots, but not that difficult, and certainly beautiful. That said, if you're staying in the mountains, recommend not driving those roads at night. Personally, I'd book something closer to shore, and daytrip into the mountains.


 
Jan 4th, 2001, 05:54 AM
  #8  
chris
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thanks for the advice peg. we'll have to take you and mariarosa with us as guides. have fun on your next trip.
 
Jan 5th, 2001, 03:54 AM
  #9  
peg
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if you're buying, just tell me when the flight is! lol!
 
Mar 1st, 2001, 05:53 AM
  #10  
Joy @ Amirage
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Amirage is a fabulous,mediterreanstyle custom guest house l7 ft above the Caribbean with a l00 ft deck overhanging the water-Almost new,exquisite tropical garden-3 luxury suites with all amenties-see proceanfront.com ,great snorkeling beach kayaks for 1 0r 2,hot tub en route,very pvt,quiet but very convenient reasonable rates-movie like setting with oceanfront,La Cadena mts to east-lights of Mayagues & cabo Roho at n ite pelicans diving for their food-lobsters being caught-very unique -weven a wedding here this the begining or our 3rd season-Love to hear from you Joy
 
Nov 26th, 2004, 09:37 AM
  #11  
 
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Chris

Don't stay at Amirage, the owner is downright nutty and what you see isn't what you get! I had friends who got married there and paid a fortune for what was supposed to be the most unforgettable event of their life, well guess what? They surely will not recommend Amirage to any of their friends.
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Dec 15th, 2004, 07:04 PM
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We are going to San Juan a few days pre cruise so we can explore San Juan. We wanted to stay in a B&B but can only find one called El Canario by the Sea or El Canario by the Lagoon. Does anyone know of any other B&Bs in San Juan that is centrally located? Thanks
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