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Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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“ First time to PR ”

Apr 21, 2010, 12:56 PM

Okay all you Destination Experts, Help us out .

We are arriving in San Juan on May 3rd and staying at the ocean villas at Wyndham. We have rented a car, per suggestions from the forum. But now we would like some expert advice on our trip.

What is the ONE thing that a must to do/see?

We are talking of hiking in the Rain Forest and seeing the bio bay.

But what is the best kept secret of the island?

What should we not waste our time on?

Also what should we bring back from the island as a reminder of our trip.

All advice is welcome.

San Juan
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1. Re: suggestions

you should not waste your time on Bacardi tour unless you are a fan of that specific rum, it is a tourist trap. Since you are going to be located in the northeastern region you might want to go to Balneario de Luquillo, one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico just minutes away from the tropical forest El Yunque. horseraces are very popular in Puerto Rico, you might want to have lunch at the restaurant in the horserace track Camarero in Canovanas as well while watching the races.

a must see is the historic district of San Juan full of history and charm.

you can bring puerto rican coffee, wooden carved saints or some loiza masks.

futher away from were you are going to be staying: Mountain region & coffee plantations, Guavate and the lechoneras, the city of Ponce in the south, the beaches of Cabo Rojo, the northwest coast and its beaches

Edited: 21 April 2010, 19:48
Long Island, NY
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2. Re: suggestions

Have a great time. The location of the ocean villas is great and you can easily walk next door to the Wyndham. The villa will have a washer and dryer, so no need to overpack.

King of Prussia...
Destination Expert
for San Juan, Ponce
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48 reviews
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3. Re: suggestions

"What is the ONE thing that a must to do/see?"

See: the Old San Juan.

Do: try these authentic foods: lechon asado (roasted pork), mofongo (mashed plantains). They are a must!

"But what is the best kept secret of the island?"

The "holes in the wall" that the locals go to. They have delicious authentic food, generous portions, and great prices (Pueblo Supermarket's cafeteria in Isla Verde is a good example).

"What should we not waste our time on?"

Bacardi tour, Arecibo Observatory (unless you're into science).

"Also what should we bring back from the island as a reminder of our trip."

Coffee, authentic candy, pastries.

Have fun!

Rio Grande, PR
Destination Expert
for San Juan
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4. Re: suggestions

Best kept secrets?

Los Prieto Falls

Hacienda Campo Rico

Lago dos Bocas

Cueva Ventana


Taino petroglyphs in Arecibo, Jayuya, Las Piedras

Las Garzas Waterfall

Los Tres Charros

Juan Diego Falls

Cayo Santiago (Monkey Island)

We're searching out and finding more and more every week.

Most _locals_ don't know about these, let alone tourists!

New Richmond...
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5. Re: suggestions

We have been to PR 3x and have explored most of the island. Someone mentioned Cabo Rojo but that is quite a drive. We did the Bio Bay in La Parguera which was awesome. It is much cheaper than Vieques but Vieques is much closer for you to experience.

You will be close to the Fajardo Ferry Dock - a day trip to Culebra and Flamenco Beach would be first on my list. Get there early, catch the 9 AM ferry and come back at 5 PM.

The "holes in the wall" were mentioned for food. We find that the best and most inexpensive food is found along the road vs,. in restaurants. The food out of the city is much more enjoyable than anywhere we have eaten in San Juan including Old San Juan. To us, OSJ has some neat things to see but is setup for thousands of cruise ship visitors and therefore the items you'll find as well as the prices are reflective of that,

El Yunque National...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Rico
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6. Re: suggestions

All this is very person sensitive.... what I like or dislike may not be your likes/dislikes.

I will add my suggestions, but tell us your vacation style, likes/ dislikes, what you like to see/do and we can better give you a better "must see", "best kept secret" , or "waste of time" based more on your desires.

Besides rain forest and BioBay, my suggested "must see" is OSJ. Of course for beach people, Flamenco Beach is my top must see.

My "Best kept secret" is ....so many! Bomba at Copi, Guavate (not so secret but people rarely go), Cueva Ventana was beautiful, some of the secret waterfalls....Prieto, Gozalandia, Juana Diaz, even Juan Diego in El Yunque.

Not waste time on....El Portal center, unless it is the last weekend of the month and you want to check out local artisans. Or La MIna Falls between 9:30am and 2:30pm (too many people!).

What to bring back as a souvenir... a vejigante mask, Don Q rum, local artisan work (easy to find on weekend in OSJ).

San Juan
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7. Re: suggestions

one of the best kept secrets is Quebradillas, Isabela and Aguadilla, 3 municipalities on the west coast. they have great Paradores in that area and the beach is beautiful too.

Puerto Rico
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8. Re: suggestions

If you are into sightseeing, culture, and history, OSJ.

Into natural scenery, El Yunque.

Into beaches, Luquillo Beach, Or Flamenco in Culebra.

Into shopping, Beltz Factory Outlet in Canovanas, Plaza Las Americas in Hato rey SJ.

Into contemporary, upscale scenery, El Condado in SJ, or Isla Verde Carolina.

I would not recommend the Bacardi Tour, Arecibo Observatory, Ponce. You will be located in an area with lots of options, so you might not need to venture much farther away.

Artisan items make the best souvenirs, not sure where to find any permanent spot, as they tend to sell their products at different places/activities, but check them out, as they sell really nice stuff that once you see, you'd like to buy whatever you like the most.. paintings, rugs, sculpted kings, necklaces, earings, candles, etc.. Most of those things sold in shops are made in China, so not a big deal.

9. Re: suggestions

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