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Trip List by lifeisbeautiful

Playing in Puerto Rico

5 Jan 2007  8 day trip in December 2006
4.5 of 5 stars based on 14 votes

A rough itinerary and pointers to accomodations, activities and food

  • 1. Dec 25-26 Hotel Yunque Mar
    http://myweb.ecomplanet.com/hoyu5179/

    Beachfront accomodation with pool view rooms at 80$ - high season.
    u can also type in www.yunquemar.com

  • 2. Dec 25 El Yunque National Forest
    El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

    Rainforest that provides scenic driving, hiking, and waterfall explorations

  • 3. Dec 25 - La Coca Falls
    La Coca Falls, El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

    Roadside falls in El Yunque

  • 4. Dec 25 - Torre Britton
    Torre Britton, El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

    Actually u can make a loop hike. Climb El Yunque first, take Britton spur, then climb Britton tower and get down Britton trail. U will be 1 mile away from ur car if it was parked at El Yunque trailhead.

  • 5. Dec 26 - Las Tortugas Adventures
    http://www.kayak-pr.com/

    Bioluminescent bay tour.
    REviews raved about their small groups but the day we went with them, it wa quite a big group. Around 10 kayaks atleast. But there were 3 guides and they did tow the ones who found the navigation in the channel tricky.

  • 6. Dec 26 - Lolita's mexican restaurant

    On Hwy 3 at km 4.8, between fajardo and luquillo. Reasonably priced but amazing mexican food. One of the few places with tasty vegetarian options

  • 7. Dec 27 - Luquillo Beach
    Luquillo Beach, El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

    A shallow waveless beach with facilities. Was people-less at 8.30 AM during xmas week. heard it can get crowded at other times

  • 8. Dec 27 - Four Points by Sheraton Palmas del Mar Resort
    Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar, Humacao, Puerto Rico

    Their beach is very good. Shallow with waves and palm tree lined shores. They have public parking

  • 9. Dec 27 - Punta Tuna lighthouse
    http://www.thelighthousepeople.com/Puerto_Rico/Punta_Tuna_Lighthouse_P...

    There is a scenic drive in the south east part of the island which is very pretty and described in Insight Guide. The beach itself may not great for swimming but is very pretty.

  • 10. Dec 27 - Ponce
    Ponce, Puerto Rico

    A city which if u don't have time can be skipped. Only thing really worth it is the museum. For dining ,there weren't too many options ... especially for vegetarians, we ended up eating in an equivalent of Taco Bell and later noticed a Subway. Many of the other places we tried were not open or did not understand vegetarian.

  • 11. Dec 27 - Museo de Arte de Ponce
    Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico

    This museum was totally worth it. We never thought we were the art loving kind of people. But we still spent a good 45 minutes at the museum.

  • 12. Dec 27-30 - Rincon Inn
    Rincon Inn, Rincon, Puerto Rico

    A very basic accomodation for 54.50 including tax. It is on a busy road so can be noisy in the night. But u get a big apartment with a living room, kitchen et al for this price. So will stay again if i don't find anything else in this price range.

  • 13. Dec 28 - Parguera divers
    http://www.pargueradivers.com/

    A well run dive operation. DM Angel was very good. But the seas were SOOOOOOOOOO choppy that many of us got seasick and nobody was feeling comfortable. I am not sure if this is a one off thing or the norm in Parguera.The diving was good though with walls, great visibility but not as much fish as Isla Desecheo.

  • 14. Dec 28 - San German
    San German, Puerto Rico

    Give it a big miss. Totally not worth it. None of the eateries were open and there was nothing else very attractive to spend your time unless u take into account a walgreens.

  • 15. Dec 28 - Guanica Dry Forest Reserve
    Guanica Dry Forest, Guanica, Puerto Rico

    Can spend a few hours. There r two main roads 333 and one more. We drove thorugh 333 and found a very good boogie boarding beach.

  • 16. Dec 28 - Boqueron Beach
    Boqueron Beach, Puerto Rico, Caribbean

    Nice calm beach with facilities. But many mosquitoes atleast during sunset when we were there.

  • 17. Dec 28 - mayaguez resort and casino
    http://www.mayaguezresort.com/

    We generally don't prefer dining in resorts but we had great trouble finding restuarants with vegetarian appeal which were open. We wanted to avoid the buffet there, so the chef cooked up a vegetarian pasta for us and a few other items. Service was good but food was your typical resort food, all dressed up but not super tasty.

  • 18. Dec 29 - Taino Divers
    http://www.tainodivers.com/

    We dove in Isla Desecheo with them. Super relaxed dive operation. U can dive as long as u want, then there is a long surface interval when u can snorkel, swim, eat whatever. Isla desecheo is very good dive area with clear water and lots of marine life. We saw eagle rays, turtles and other critters and dolphins jumping out of the water. Everything was great with this op but sometimes I felt as if DM told us 1 thing and did another. We were asked to descend under a bouy and DM and others descended on the exact oppoisite side of the boat. Also DM was one of the first to come back to the boat in every dive. Their boat was cool and inspite of choppy waters on the way back, we did not feel seasick or anything.

  • 19. Dec 29 - Lazy Parrot
    Lazy Parrot Inn, Rincon, Puerto Rico

    After our dive in Isla Desecheo, this was the only place that was open with some vegetarian options. They did not have a lunch menu but we made did with appetizers. The food here was good, good service and great ambience by the pool.

  • 20. Dec 29 - Cabo Rojo Lighthouse
    Cabo Rojo Lighthouse, Puerto Rico, Caribbean

    This a beautiful place with salt flats, cliffs, waves and a beach. At sunset it was even more beautiful with not much crowd. But the roads are very bad for the last 4-5 miles. U might have to walk up a few yards for both the lighthouse and the beach.

  • 21. Dec 30 - Jobos Beach (Playa Jobos)
    Jobos Beach (Playa Jobos), Puerto Rico, Caribbean

    One of the few swimming AND surfing beaches. It is also supposed to be good for boogie boarding but not on the day we visited. Just beyond Playa Jobos if u walk up a hill are some weird rock wave interactions and interesting formations.

  • 22. Dec 30 - Guajataca State Forest and Lake

    Drive on a narrow densely forested mountain road.
    Very picturesque lake.

  • 23. Dec 30 - Arecibo
    Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Caribbean

    We just drove thourgh 631 by the sea. It had some good views and leads to the lighthouse.

  • 24. Dec 30 - Tantra Restaurant, Old San Juan
    http://www.frommers.com/destinations/sanjuan/D54354.html

    The food here is good but expensive. They have an eclectic mix of Puerto rican, north indian and south indian dishes. As we had not found good vegetarian food in the rincon side, this was a welcome splurge for us.

  • 25. Dec 30 - Jan 2 El Conuco Garden apartment and hillside chalet
    http://home.coqui.net/maras/

    A steal for the price and fantastic location
    We stayed in three places in Puerto Rico one much more expensive than
    this one but this was the best good value for the price. For $60 a night
    at the garden apartment, we got a HOME with a kitchen (with microwave
    and fridge), living area(with Dish network TV with many channels), bath
    (with shower only) and a bedroom with a whole lot of decor. The place
    was clean and pleasing to the eye and most importantly had amazing
    views, perched up in the mountains.
    It also felt like we were staying with friends or family as Mara and
    Yazarro were very friendly and offered us every kind of help we needed. I
    needed to use a computer with internet and no problem Mara led us ot
    her place and let me even print out the stuff I needed. We mentioned we
    were going to the caves and they gave us nice books to read about it.
    Mara is an artist and it was fun to see all her works. Her deck was also
    available for us to use whenever we needed.
    Also Mara picks you up from the main road saving u the hassle of
    searching for it for the first time. The property is in a secure community
    with gates - so is very safe.
    All in all, no 5 star hotel cud beat the experience we had, especially
    considering that my friends in SHeraton, Caguas complained that water
    suddenly stopped coming while the person was in the shower.
    They also have a hillside chalet for bigger groups.

  • 26. Dec 31 - Aventuras Tierra Adentro
    Aventuras Tierra Adentro, Inc., San Juan, Puerto Rico

    A whole day adventure and by adventure they mean a REAL adventure. Hike, zipline, rappel, walk in marsh that might suck ur shoes, body rafting, wading in water, free fall into underground rivers, base sliding down rocks, lots of scrambling and a hike back up. VERY VERY VERY well organized. Places where u might be searching for a foothold or a hand grip u will find they have one intsalled for u. They have music to help u down the hike and back up. They light candles and provide cushions within the cave for a candle-lit lunch. They provide refreshments at the end of ur hike when u run out of ur personal stock.

    Update:
    If you ever think you would be in Costa Rica, save this type of adventure for there. CR is much more beautiful, guides are friendlier and they are the pioneers of ziplines anyway.

  • 27. Jan 1 - El Buren
    http://www.elburenpr.com/

    Very good pizzas and other entrees including monfongo. One of the few enjoyable dinners we had in Puerto RIco

  • 28. Jan 1 - Barrachina Retaurant
    http://www.barrachina.com/

    I didn't particularly enjoy the food. The mofongo was slightly sweet and the fajitas were flavorless. Ambience was good so were the pina coladas

  • 29. Jan 1 - Old San Juan
    Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico

    Walked around a whole day.There is a walkway going by the city wall though El morro to San Juan gate on one side and to san cristobal on the other. That's kind of fun. So is the shopping.

  • 30. Jan 1 - La Rumba Party Cruise
    http://www.frommers.com/destinations/sanjuan/0323010030.html

    A cheap boat cruise in Old San juan with a great view of the OSJ forts, gate and other architecture. They play all kinds of music including salsa, reggaeton, cha-cha-cha and disco and have a dance floor. It was a memorable thing to do on New Year's day. Very less tourists and lots of families and locals.

  • 31. Jan 2 - El Morro (Castillo de San Felipe del Morro)
    San Juan National Historic Site, San Juan, Puerto Rico

    Kind of a cool fort in a great location. We spent almost 4-5 hours exploring this fort and San Cristobal. At that time both forts felt similar but they do have different characteristics looking back. San Cristobal has tunnels while El Morro does not. EL Morro has many more levels to view and take photographs of.
    If I had to choose, I might go with this one.

  • 32. Jan 2 - Castillo de San Cristobal
    Castillo de San Cristobal, San Juan, Puerto Rico

  • 33. Jan 2 - Che's Argentinian Italian
    http://www.frommers.com/destinations/sanjuan/D50453.html

    We enjoyed this last meal in the island. All their dishes were great and they had fun beverages and drinks as well. Service was great.

  • 34. el meson sandwiches

    This chain (equivalent to subway, quiznos) is all over the island. Good sandwiches and other options. Our only resort when there were no interesting restaurants open. Good for boxed lunches as well.

  • 35. Some observations

    Its kinda embarrassing, but we had a problem finding food in the island out of the san juan area. Guidebooks somehow are not super accurate about times, ph numbers etc and very often even about the existence of restaurants. ALWAYS ALWAYS call a restaurant. Most of the time, we would only find our third or fourth choice open. Also many restaurants have very specific lunch timings and so if u miss that window, ur options become even more limited. This was the case for us for lunch after dives. Service was always good and people were very nice.

    Secondly, for really good beaches leave the San Juan area. It is atrocious how condos and hotels have encroached the seashores in the metro area and though theoretically beaches are public access, There is no place to park your car and public beach access are concealed and impractically located. What is worse is there were huge mass of boulders and debris exactly at the point where condos begin so you can't go over to the nicer beach in front of those monstrosities . Very saddening. This is true in San Juan, Isla Verde, Ocean Park, COndado etc.

    Driving is aggressive throughout the island but if you have driven in big cities, it does not feel different.

    Some spanish is essential if u leave your resort.

    Shopping is not a bargain especially in the metro area and old san juan.

    Insight Guide Puerto Rico and let's Go Puerto Rico are good guides to find out hidden attractions and planning scenic drives around the island.

  • 36. summary

    Overall Puerto Rico does not have one thing that wows you, but is overall very beautiful and makes for a satisfying trip. WHile tourists abound, there is a life and existence of the majority beyond tourism and this makes for some interesting cultural interactions. The mountainous interior and ocean together make a fantastic combination.