An Enchantment Week in Puerto Rico

A memorable vacation filled with fun activities at one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean.

An Enchantment Week in Puerto Rico

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by TrVL4LiFe on December 21, 2004

This was our first trip here, and I did some research for major attractions on the Internet, and of course at RCI, before we went to Puerto Rico. No need for the Frommer's handbook when you have RCI's community journals!

We stayed at Dorado, which is 25 minutes west of San Juan depending on the traffic. It is a central location for the Arecibo Obervatorio, Camuy Caves, Bacardi Rum Distillary, El Yunque Rainforest, Plaza de las Americas (humongous mall), and Old San Juan.${QuickSuggestions} We didn't find many discounts in Puerto Rico. We didn't find the typical coupon books, like the ones you find at major vacation destinations, but hotels and visitor centers offer magazines where you can find a few deals at restaurants and major sights to visit.${BestWay} Do rent a car, and I highly recommend paying for the extra automobile insurance. Drivers are crazy there, so watch out. Locals seem to break all traffic violations, so watch out!

Aquarius at Embassy Suites

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by TrVL4LiFe on December 21, 2004

We had a two-bedroom lock-out. The villa was huge. The master bedroom included a Jacuzzi and separate shower. We had a full kitchen. We had a balcony that overlooked the pool area, where we ate breakfast every morning.

Since Aquarius is a timeshare resort and only located at Embassy Suites, free breakfasts were not offered to the timeshares guests, only to hotel guests. They were going to charge us $15 per person.

The downside of staying here is that even if you are a guest, you don't get special privileges like when you stay at other resorts. You have to pay to use their tennis courts, there are no golf discounts for guests, and you have to pay for parking each day. Their golf course wasn't kept well, so my husband instead played at the Hyatt Dorado Beach golf course, which was a few miles away.

They had a nice size pool with a Jacuzzi and a section where you could play volleyball. The beach was small but clean. We went in November, so the water was a bit chilly. Overall, it had nice accommodations, rooms were comfortable and roomy, and it was in a convenient location just outside San Juan.

Aquarius at Embassy Suites
201 Dorado del Mar Boulevard
San Juan, Puerto Rico
(787) 796-6125

Free Rum at the Bacardi Brewery

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by TrVL4LiFe on December 21, 2004

If you want inexpensive souvenirs, you will need to visit Bacardi. The tour of the brewery is free. It's small, so don't expect a brewery like the Budweiser one on the mainland. To us, the main attractions are the free drinks they offer you before you begin the tour - they are delicious. You take a trolley to the brewery, which was crazy because it's just around the corner! Other than that, do visit the souvenir shop. The prices here for souvenirs are much cheaper than the ones you'll find in Old San Juan.
Bacardí Rum Distillery
Bay View Industrial Park Route 165, Km. 2.6
Catano, Puerto Rico, 00962
(787) 788-8400

Camuy Cave

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by TrVL4LiFe on December 21, 2004

We've never been in a cave, so we looked forward to this tour. They split you into two groups, one for Spanish-speaking tourists and the other for English-speaking tourists. We went in one huge cave that had many cool formations.

It was awesome to see, so don't forget to bring your digital camera! Wear comfortable shoes, preferably sneakers, because it can be slippery. We highly recommend this trip if you've never taken a tour of a cave.

Río Camuy Cave Park
Route 129 Km 18.9
Camuy, Puerto Rico, 00627
+1 787 898 3100

World's Largest Telescope?

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by TrVL4LiFe on December 21, 2004

Can this be the world's largest telescope? I can say that it was huge and amazing to look at. The telescope is at the Arecibo Obervatorio. There is a small but educational tour of the telescope. If you like astronomy, you'll find this fascinating. Movies like Contact with Jodie Foster, and even Goldeneye, were filmed here. A tip: You can visit the telescope and the caves in 1 day!
Arecibo Observatory
Route 625
Arecibo, Puerto Rico
(787) 878-2612

Take a Hike at El Yunque

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by TrVL4LiFe on December 21, 2004

This was one of the most memorable tours of our trip because we made it to the peak of EL YUNQUE! There you will see the northeast coast of Puerto Rico. You can see San Juan. You can see the islands Vieques and Culebra off the coast of Puerto Rico. So it's like you're on one of those helicopter rides seeing the land below. It’s an awesome view!

For the hike to the peak, take the "service" road instead of the actual trail and you'll be there in 45 minutes. Other sights to see before you head to the Peak of El Yunque include the trail to LaMina Falls. Beautiful! Many have taken a dip there, but when we went, it had rained in the days before and that day, so the water was murky and very dangerous.

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

Plaza las Americas

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by TrVL4LiFe on December 21, 2004

If you're a tourist, you don't really need to stop here to shop for clothes and accessories. You'll find them cheaper back home on the mainland.

We did visit this place multiple times to eat lunch at their food court. I highly recommend La Parilla. They have great sandwiches. Try the churassco sandwich. Yum! Their steak entrées are pretty good, too! We also went to see a movie at the Caribbean Cinemas located inside the mall. It was cool to watch a movie with Spanish subtitles!

Plaza Las Américas
Fd Roosevelt Ave Po Box 363268
San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00936
+1 787 767 1525

Castillo de San Cristobal and San Felipe El Morro

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by TrVL4LiFe on December 21, 2004

When visiting Old San Juan, you must visit these forts. These have to be the places where the most beautiful pictures of San Juan are taken from.

Castillo de San Cristobal had the most awesome views of the city. This tour is typical of any fort with cannons and cannonballs. On the first level, each room displays the history of the fort and Puerto Rico. Second and third levels have the awesome views of the city.

Bring your camera and take your own postcard-like pictures.

Fort San Cristobal
Calle Norzagaray
San Juan, Puerto Rico
+1 787 729 6960

Shopping at Old San Juan

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by TrVL4LiFe on December 21, 2004

Forteleza Street is where to shop in Old San Juan. You will find many souvenir shops and brand-name retailers. It's just a short walk from the visitor center and the Wyndham Casino and Hotel. On Saturdays they have a mini-festival of music and food at the plaza across from the visitor center. Locals will have their stands of island crafts and souvenirs.
Old San Juan
Old San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Beautiful Place to take a Vacation

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by TrVL4LiFe on December 21, 2004

We had a great time in Puerto Rico.  Unfortunately, one week here is not enough.  We wanted to see more!  We went here in November.  The weather was in the 80s, but expect rainy days.  I again did research on what the weather would be like, and November is known to have high precipitation, so we knew before we got there that rain was expected near the end of our trip. 

We did get to see the sights that we had initially planned for, but once we got to Puerto Rico, we definitely wanted to see one more place before heading home. We wanted to take a catamaran trip to Vieques Island.  We wanted to see and experience the Bioluminescent Bay and chill at one of Puerto Rico's "Virgin Islands." Unfortunately, the weather was bad, with high winds, so we couldn't take the boat trip.

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