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What area to stay in - family trip during Christmas

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What area to stay in - family trip during Christmas

I am planning a trip over Christmas week wtih my husband and 14 year old and was wondering what is the best area to stay in and recommendations on hotels. I would like to stay in a beach resort with a nice pool and access to tours. I want to be able to visit the rain forest, old saun jaun and the bioluminescent bay. We won't have a car. I've been debating whether to go to Rio Grande area or Isle Verde. Any recommendations on which is better or another area.

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for Puerto Rico
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1. Re: What area to stay in - family trip during Christmas

Isla Verde has San Juan’s nicest beach, great restaurants and bars, nightlife, and stores all within walking distance if you choose your accommodations right. It also has inexpensive transportation to Old San Juan (filled with shops, restaurants and bars). However, most of the ecological adventures are on the east coast (where Rio Grande is at and is about 25 minute car drive from the San Juan airport). On the east coast you will find not only nice beaches, but also the waterfalls of El Yunque National Forest, beach horseback riding, ATV rental across the shallow rivers of the forest, Zip lining adventures for all ages along El Yunque, the night kayak trip to the bioluminescent lagoon, the catamaran snorkeling trip to the Spanish Virgin Islands and the ferry to the unspoiled Flamenco Beach in Culebra ($4 roundtrip per person). Flamenco Beach is named year after year as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by travel experts.

Both locations are very good, they are just different experiences as one is the city (similar to South Beach Miami) and Rio Grande is a more laid back Caribbean vacation focused on nature oriented unique activities.

If you decide to stay in Rio Grande, I strongly recommend you rent a car as if you don't you will miss a lot in your vacation. Car rentals are very inexpensive down here. If you decide to stay in Isla Verde you do not need a car except for a day or two if you want to experience all the east coast treasures.

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2. Re: What area to stay in - family trip during Christmas

It all depends on whether you want a highly urbanized vacation (Metro San Juan) or a quieter, low-key area (Luquillo, Rio Grande, Fajardo, Rincon)?

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3. Re: What area to stay in - family trip during Christmas

I'd recommend Isla Verde. We stayed at the Embassy Suites in February of this year and enjoyed it very much. The beach is about a 5 min walk from the hotel. Once there you will see an employee of the hotel who will give you beach chairs, an umbrella and towels. The hotel has a nice pool with bar on property. Breakfast is included as well as a 2 hour manager's happy hour each day with free drinks and snacks. We took the public bus to Old San Juan which was super cheap, 50 cents or so, but also takes 45 min with all the stops. A cab is $20. Through the hotel you can go on excursions to the bio bay and El Yunque.

Armonk, New York
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4. Re: What area to stay in - family trip during Christmas

Rio Grande and Isle Verde could not be more different. Your choice should depend on your preferences. Isle Verde is a very urban, Miami Beach type setting. Rio Grande is a more tropical island setting. For the rain forest and other attractions (bio bay, zip lines, horse back, etc.) around Rio Grande, you will need a car.

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5. Re: What area to stay in - family trip during Christmas

Isla verde for sure! The beach is wonderful. The public transportation is also great in that area if you need it..Your 14yr old will enjoy

The rain forest, the bio bay( you will kayak through a lagoon in the evening)...they have a lot of restaurants in the area if he/she gets hungry!

Caguas, Puerto Rico
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6. Re: What area to stay in - family trip during Christmas

If you are not planning on renting a car Rio Grande will be a total bore for your kid. You will be needing a car for the entire stay on this location.

Stay in Isla Verde, nice beach area, walking distance restaurants, close to Old San Juan, and Condado area.

And at least rent a car for at least two days. You will save a lot of money by doing this. A tour to El Yunque will average $40 per person, so really you can drive in Puerto Rico and save money.

The kayak tours for Bio- bay (your kid will love this one) and the catamaran out of Fajardo are tours that require for you to arrive to Fajardo on your own. So one day do the bio-bay and catamaran, next day visit El Yunque, and return car.

King of Prussia...
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7. Re: What area to stay in - family trip during Christmas

This is not just another vote for Isla Verde, but it seems like it's exactly what you're looking for.

It has a nice swimmable beach, it's only 5 minutes from the airport, and 15 from Old San Juan, plus restaurants within walking distance from most hotels. Intercontinental, El San Juan (right next to each other), Ritz, Marriott Courtyard - Isla Verde (both further down), are all on the beach. Embassy Suites and Verdanza are also there, almost in front of one another, and about a block from the beach.

It is recommended to rent a car to visit the rainforest and/or the bio bay, and anywhere else you'd like to go outside the San Juan area. However, you won't need it while in San Juan.

8. Re: What area to stay in - family trip during Christmas

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