We are going on the Adventure of the Seas in April and plan on staying in Puerto Rico for 3 nights before cruising. We would like to visit the rain forest and do other things. Does anyone have any ideas on hotels? What would be a good area? We would like to stay on the beach but do not plan on renting a car - we'll take a cab to places we go. Also any other ideas on things to do in Puerto Rico in addition to the rain forest.
I like the Condado section, personally. We stayed at the Condado Plaza. You'll have plenty of time to do the bioluminescence, rain forest, Old San Juan, shop, and find some great restaurants. I hope Casanova Frankenstein sees your post, he lives in Puerto Rico. You might even have enough time to go to Ponce. The locals go there a lot.
Well there are a few good hotels on the island it mostly will depend on the budget you have, if you like you can send me a PM so I can understand better what you are looking for...
Since you will be three days before your cruise that will give you a lot to do. As for the car rental is cheaper than a taxi for example a small car pays around $50 dollar a day if you are planing to travel long distances it will be cheaper than a taxi.
What to do in Puerto Rico?
Old San Juan
You can visit mostly "El Morro", the place where they invented "La Pina colada", "La capilla del Cristo" and also the amphibius tour of old San Juan. That is all in old San Juan and mostly are walking distance from each other.
your hotel can make the arrangements if you ask.
Also remember our food there area few good restaurants on Old San Juan and the night life, even if you what to there are a few Disco club but no in old San Juan.
If you are willing to get to the west part of the island, is a two hour distance from San Juan:
well here it is "Las cascadas" water park. Also The crashboat in Aguadilla, Jobos In Isabela and Rincon, those are beaches great for surfing and for a day at the beach. Th crash boat many people tell me is a good place for scuba diving. Also there are a few Casinos even an artificial Ice skate on Aguadilla.
If you are willing to stay a few days maybe this an option:
In Aguadilla there is a new hotel, literally new, with Casino maybe You can work out something between hotels or if you want a transfer ask them if they can take you directly to the adventure of the seas the day of your cruise.
But that is up to you and I don't know if the hotel will be willing to. Or you can stay on San Juan is easier, but not cheaper. That will depend on what are you looking for...
Please let me know what kind of activities you are looking for and I can give you a better Advice on the island.
Stayed at the Embassy Suites (Carolina area) for two days – though not on the beach, it is close. It was very nice, great pool area, has a restaurant and (small) casino, a gym, large suite-style rooms, free breakfast and happy hour(s) (both were great). Not the cheapest, not the most expensive (especially when you consider you get free breakfast, as well as drinks and snacks in evening). It is also right near food and shopping centers, if you want to make your own food (sandwiches, snacks, etc) on the cheap.
I’ve done both bio bay and the rain forest – neither are to be missed. We rented a car and hiked for something like 5 hours through the rainforest and enjoyed every second of it (they give you a map with several trails – we did the long one to the top, then hit all the other “branches” on the way down). Though we ran into a few people along the way, we were mostly alone and it was beautiful. Def. bring a camera, some water, some snacks and be prepared to get a little wet (it rained for a little during our trip, but it is also very humid). Bio bay is pretty self explanatory and very cool.
You are the guy I want to hear from ! We are wondering about renting a car in San Juan and driving in/outside the city. Can you give me any advice, info, warnings, suggestions when renting there? We are staying in the Condado beach area before the cruise. Thanks for any info.
honestly, it was really very simple...the rules of the road are essentially the same, so you really don't have to worry about that...be sure to yield to pedestrians in san juan...i found myself being extra careful with my speed, etc. (especially once outside the tourist areas) just because i didnt want to have to deal with a police encounter
i hadnt reserved a car beforehand, so i checked out a few of the local places - though you are prob fine with some of the no name local places (i have friends who have done that), i felt more comfortable paying a few extra dollars (if that) and going with a national brand....we used the Budget, down the block from the Embassy (it is inside another hotel, forget which one)...be sure to either get the insurance, or double check that your existing insurance covers you
driving to the rainforest was actually very easy (maybe brush up on your spanish directions - norte, sur, este, oeste)...BUT get very specific directions from the hotel, just to be safe (the embassy suites had a folder of printed directions ready to hand out)....the car rental place had traced the route on a map for me, but had i only used that i would have gotten lost...the ones from the hotel were much better (they were much more detailed and mentioned specific landmarks to look for)....keep some small bills and coins on you for tolls (not too expensive)...there were signs that said you had to pay a few dollars to get into the park, but they werent charging...once at the rainforest, there are alot parking areas....go to the main center, and they will give you a map of the roads, and tell you where you want to be depending on what you want to do for the day...the roads are very hilly, and full of blind curves, so take it easy....the rainforest is awesome, and you will have a great time (just be prepared for lots of hiking)
i didnt drive to bio bay (did an excursion), but im sure you can handle that if you want
like i said, i was in the carolina area, which i dont think is far from condado area, but it shouldnt be much different
dont stress about it - be smart, know where you are going and you will be fine...enjoy it!
one other thing - in the carolina area (and prob other areas), there is almost no free parking....even to get into a simple shopping center, there was a gate where you had to get a ticket and pay by the hour....so, we got our car first thing in the morning, did everything we wanted, and returned the car - no need to park
so, try and plan your day with as little parking in san juan as possible - it can add alot to your cost if you dont
Thanks so much for the info, just the kind of answers we were looking for. Is the countryside interesting to visit even if you are not that interested in visiting something in particular? I find that sometimes you get a better feel for a country if you explore on your own, is this safe in a rental car? We like to stop at local bars etc. for lunch/a beer along the way. What do you think about travelling this way in P.R.? Really appreciate your thoughts.
hard to say - we didnt actually stop anywhere along the way, so i dont have first hand experience...some areas look a little run down, while others looked pretty nice...but that doesn't mean either was any more or less safe than the other
i wouldn't say i was uncomfortable at any point, and there were def a few places i would have considered stopping (we passed by a parking lot that was full of food venders - really wanted to stop by on the way back, but they were gone at that point), but also a few places that i def would not have stopped...again, it's not really fair to judge a place just by its looks, so who knows!
but my judgement may be a little unfair - growing up in america (and particulary around NYC), some of the areas remind me of less safe areas that ive encountered...doesn't mean the similar looking places in PR are also unsafe
i can say that the drive along the major highways can be beautiful - no where really to stop without getting off the road, but it at least makes for a nice drive
maybe cassnova will chime in - he will def have more knowledge about this than i do...im sure there are plenty of great places to stop, i just cant list them