San Juan Journals

An Anti-Spring Break in San Juan

A March 2003 trip to San Juan by ikadrislane

Quote: Unlike many college students who spend spring break gambling, sunbathing, and drinking, I headed to a small inn in San Juan, determined to completely escape from school, from a frigid New York winter, and most of all, from my fellow college students! Here's my story.

An Anti-Spring Break in San Juan

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Overview

Quote:
Snorkeling is a must. Although they say that the water off Puerto Rico is not the best in the Caribbean for snorkeling, I thought it was great. Then again, I''d never been snorkeling before, so perhaps experienced snorkelers would disagree. Also, don''t stick to the typical restaurants that seem to be catering to tourists. Walk down a side street and find somewhere new. A walk through Old San Juan is also necessary. Apparently not so safe at night, Old San Juan is beautiful during the day with its pastel-colored buildings and cobblestone streets. And finally, buy some ice cream from a street vendor - it''s out of this world. Piña (pineapple) is my favorite, but c...Read More

At Wind Chimes Inn

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Hotel

Quote:
At Wind Chimes Inn, a restored Spanish villa dating back to the 1920s, is an affordable and charming place to spend a vacation in San Juan.White-washed walls surround the main building, adding to the colonial ambiance while blocking out the noise of the street. A sun deck and pool provide respite from the beach, which is just a block away. And there is a namesake terrace covered in dozens of wind chimes that chime and jingle in the breeze.The rooms are small and simple, but the owners clearly put effort into making the rooms cozy with sunflower bedspreads and Taino artwork on the walls. The hallways hide several tiny reading nooks stocked with trashy novels and out-of...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 8, 2003

At Wind Chimes Inn
1750 Calle McLeary
San Juan, Puerto Rico
1(800) 946-3244

Arepas y Mucho Mas

Restaurant | "Arepas y Mucho Más"

Quote:
This tiny restaurant is tucked away on the edge of the touristy area in Old San Juan, but it’s worth the trip because it serves up great arepas (fried corn meal dough with various fillings) and other Venezuelan favorites. Though it only houses about five tables, the decor doesn''t look like much, and the menu selections are few, the food is fast, fresh, and filling. I especially recommend the arepas pabellon (shredded beef, cheese, and fried plantains) and the fruit shakes.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 8, 2003

Arepas y Mucho Mas
366 San Francisco
San Juan, Puerto Rico
(787) 724-7776

Patisserie de France

Restaurant | "La Patisserie de France"

Quote:

This café is a favorite with the locals from the surrounding condos, so it gets busy. If you want to have the place to yourself, arrive before 8:00am. Otherwise, you may have to wait a while for a waiter to notice you. Don’t be discouraged though-–it’s worth the wait. I ate here every morning during my week in Puerto Rico.

Although the omelettes, cinnamon buns, and sandwiches are good, by far the best meal is a breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice (order without ice for better value), café con leche, and a warm croissant with butter and jam. Two people can eat breakfast here for less than $20 and the waiters are eager to practice their English with you.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 8, 2003

Patisserie de France
1504 Ashford Avenue
San Juan, Puerto Rico
(787) 728-5508

De Aquí Y De Allá

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Restaurant

Quote:
When we were there, De Aquí y de Allá was just opening and they had greeters out on the street trying to entice people to enter. We fell for the ploy and ended up spending a bit than more we''d hoped on dinner. This large restaurant covers almost an entire block in Condado and was filled with locals and tourists alike at dinnertime. The modern décor, high ceilings, and attached wine bar set the mood and make this a dressier place than some. The churasco (steak) is a good choice, but it’s a lot of food, so don’t order the 32 oz. meal for two unless you haven’t eaten in months. For dessert, flan always hits the spot. Check out the wine list too -– it’s massive! Our orde...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 24, 2003

De Aquí Y De Allá
Ashford
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Bacardí Rum Distillery

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Attraction | "Bacardi Rum Factory"

Quote:
This is the largest of three distilleries belonging to perhaps the world’s most famous rum company, Bacardi. To get there, take the ferry from the ferry terminal in Old San Juan to Cataño for $.50 each way. It runs every 15 minutes and the ride across the bay is only about 10 minutes. Once you arrive, walk out of Cataño’s ferry terminal over to the building on the right. There will be several públicos (eight-passenger shared taxis) waiting to take you to the factory. You may have to wait for the van to fill up before the driver will leave, but use this time to negotiate the price (it shouldn’t be more than $3 per person). The público will take you through rundown neighborhoods that sa...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 8, 2003

Bacardí Rum Distillery
Bay View Industrial Park Route 165, Km. 2.6
Catano, Puerto Rico 00962
(787) 788-8400

East Wind II - Sailing

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Attraction | "East Wind II"

Quote:
The full-day trip on the 62’ sailing catamaran for $55 per person is a great deal. For $12 more, a van picked us up at our hotel at 8:15am on the dot. We then drove for an hour and a half to the east side of the island, picking up more passengers along the way. The driver was a certified tour guide and he gave an informative commentary on the countryside and mountains-–this is a great way to see some more of the island without renting a car! As a special treat, he even took us off the main road to a cave where archaeologists are reputed to have found some of the oldest remains of the Taíno Indians, the native inhabitants of Puerto Rico. We arrived at the boat by 10:00am (make reservations...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 8, 2003

East Wind II - Sailing
Puerto Del Rey
San Juan, Puerto Rico