Puerto Rico Journals

December Sunburn in Puerto Rico

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A December 2004 trip to Puerto Rico by n8han

Guest House Old San Juan Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico More Photos
Quote: Puerto Rico makes a perfect weekend getaway: its tropical climate is beach-worthy even in December, and (for Americans) you can avoid the hassles of international travel you might associate with the Caribbean. Pack a bag of light summer clothes and get going!

Guest House Old San Juan

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Hotel

Guest House Old San Juan Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
I'll never know if this place has a name in Spanish, as there is no sign out front, but the only English word I ever heard from the owner was "cash". While I appreciated Señor Castro's lack of English skills—since it presented a rare opportunity for us to practice Spanish—the mood was quickly broken when he required payment at 1am for our first night's stay. It seemed that all rooms with air-conditioning lacked windows, having a bizarre arrangement of a/c units extending overhead into the interior hallway. The bathroom is shared—gross—and devoid of everything but toilet paper. There is the famous upstairs room (you can read about it in other reviews), which seems nice and has a window, bu...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on January 3, 2005

Guest House Old San Juan
205 Calle Tanca
San Juan, Puerto Rico
(787) 722-5436

Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan

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Hotel | "Hampton Inn"

Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan Photo, Puerto Rico, Caribbean
Quote:
Coming from the Guest House Old San, the Hampton seemed almost palatial. I didn't reserve the room myself (I didn't pay for it either!), but I can tell you that if you reserve a room with a government discount, they may not require you to present an ID when you check in. We paid $130 for a large room with two double beds. The hotel lobby and rooms are all nicely appointed. Our room was easily the largest hotel room I've stayed in, with a front sitting room, a large bathroom, a spacious bedroom, and most amazingly to me, two whole television sets. At home I don't have one, so you can imagine my excitement to have a big TV. in both the sitting room and bedroom. We did watc...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 3, 2005

Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan
6530 Isla Verde Avenue
Carolina, Puerto Rico 00979
(787) 791-8777

Taquito

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Restaurant | "El Taquito"

Quote:
El Taquito is a chain of Mexican bars in Puerto Rico. This one is located on Isla Verde's main strip, along with other chain restaurants. Interestingly (for us, anyway), all of the parking in that area is tightly controlled to exclude beachgoers, but at this point we were on foot, so we didn't have to negotiate the gates, spaces, etc. There was nothing spectacular about El Taquito, but we were lucky to have a friendly bartender who didn't know any English. (This was the second and final time we got to use Spanish on the island.) It was gratifying, in a cruel way perhaps, to see an American family come in a few minutes later and proudly order dos margaritos, whatever that mea...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 3, 2005

Taquito
Isla Verde
Carolina, Puerto Rico

El Yunque National Forest

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Attraction | "Caribbean National Forest - El Yunque"

El Yunque National Forest Photo, El Yunque, Puerto Rico
Quote:
It's worth going into El Yunque rain forest just to prove to yourself that it's there. It's quite a treat to go from a hot, dry beach to a mountainous, cooler, and perennially raining forest. While taxis may charge $80 or more to get you to the park, you can get there easily in a rental car ($30, gracias a Dios) if you know where you're going . There is a small fee to enter the park, and then you are free to roam. We drove up the Yokahú tower, from which you can get a beautiful view of the coastline if it's not too cloudy. After that, we backtracked to the La Coca Falls trail. It's a very short distance to the falls, but the trail is clogged with...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 3, 2005

El Yunque National Forest
Road 191, Off Highway 3 To Luquillo Beach
Palmer, Puerto Rico 00721
(787) 888-1880

Guajataca Beach

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Attraction

Guajataca Beach Photo, Isabela, Puerto Rico
Quote:
This beach, close to Highway 2 but deserted on a Monday afternoon in December, was perfect. Other than a body boarder who came and went a few hundred yards down from us, we had the beach to ourselves for 4 hours. The beach is mostly sandy, aside from the rock formation near the entrance road that extends under the water a bit farther than you might expect. And though the water wasn't picture-perfect Caribbean blue, it was crystal-clear compared to the U.S. East Coast. Most importantly, it was plenty warm enough for swimming. I did a little diving with my swim goggles and, to my surprise, saw some kind of black and white tropical fish. It wouldn't have been noteworthy in a coral ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 3, 2005

Guajataca Beach

Isabela, Puerto Rico

View from the Fort Photo, Puerto Rico, Caribbean
Quote:
This trip was a surprise birthday present for my boyfriend Leland. We'd been frustrated with our plans to travel to the French island Guadeloupe by infrequent and expensive flights that didn't fit our schedule or budget. After plotting dozens of ways to get from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, all of them portentous of travel disaster, I thought, "Why not just stop at San Juan, since it's so easy and cheap to get to?" I have a friend from the island who would be there the weekend before the birthday—things just fell into place. Two days later, the secret plans were made. Two weeks later, we were on a plane. I had reasoned that with only three days on the island, we w...Read More

Driving around Puerto Rico

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Story/Tip

Nearly Deserted Photo, Puerto Rico, Caribbean
Quote:
I would advise anyone who's old enough (rental agencies in San Juan, like everywhere else, ban or surcharge drivers younger than 25) to rent a car in Puerto Rico. The island is small enough that you can get almost anywhere in a few hours, and the road quality and signs are bound to give you déjà vu if you're American. They are in Spanish, of course, but you can probably guess what the red octagonal signs mean even if you don't know pare. Shop around for your San Juan rental and expect to pay about the same as you would for a reservation in a small U.S. city. None of the agencies at the airport seemed to be particularly close, so take your pick. While most road sign...Read More