We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Family Vacation with a 9, 10, and 11 yr old

Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
127 posts
17 reviews
Save Topic
Family Vacation with a 9, 10, and 11 yr old

Hi All!

I'm looking at a summer vacation for my family for next year. We've never done a beach/tropical location before, so this will be a new planning adventure for me. My concern is that in chasing three kids on a beach for 16 hours a day will not be relaxing and fun for anyone, so I want a location that will keep the kids stimulated and engaged in what we are doing (rainforest tours, river tours, fun active things) From what I'm seeing, Puerto Rico seems to have that!

So first question is, recommendations there on good family active things.

Second, I have looked at the "family" hotel, which are fine, but being as I don't really understand the layout of the island, as I've never researched it before, what are the optimal areas to stay in and what are some good hotels. I would not be opposed to a mom and pop type resort or villa type thing if the vibe was inviting and wonderful. On the flip side, I'm ok with a chain as long as it isn't cookie cutter and has some island flavor. We don't want to spend a fortune, but we also want a good quality location....so a good balance of both would be perfect!

Any ideas? Oh and I've read that summer is "off-season". Why is that and is it completely unbearable to go in the summer? Thanks for any input!

Edited: 04 September 2013, 04:21
Rio Grande, PR
Destination Expert
for San Juan
Level Contributor
3,901 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Family Vacation with a 9, 10, and 11 yr old

We have 2 "high seasons" here ... a "tourist" high season in the winter, and a "local" high season in the summer.

Summer is "off season" in that, in general, there are not as many tourists from off-island. However, July is extremely busy here ... we have 4 major holidays and it a the "local" vacation month. Expect things to be very crowded in July ... lots of "internal tourism" going on.

The primary "tourist area" is Isla Verde and Condado ... lots of hotels ... expect a "Miami Beach" feel to the area. There are also huge resorts across the island ... in Rio Grande, Fajardo, Dorado, and Humacao (to name a few areas).

With a family, you might consider a "vacation rental" over a hotel. They come in all forms ... condos on the beach, private villas in the mountains ... Instead of everyone sleeping in 1 room, you can have room to spread out ... can save some $$ by eating some of your meals "at home".

There are many VRs listed and reviewed right here on TripAdvisor that you can check out ... http://goo.gl/ntCA1

usa
Level Contributor
5,008 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Family Vacation with a 9, 10, and 11 yr old

In regard to summer temperatures, it does get hotter in Puerto Rico in the summer and it is more humid. Temperatures can reach the 90's.

Many families like the El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo which has its own private offshore island and its own water park. Other families rent condos in the Luquillo area. Both locations are good logistically to take advantage of the many attractions on that end of the island like the rain forest, the biobay, the Las Cabezas de San Juan nature preserve and lighthouse tour, snorkeling tours from Fajardo's Marina del Rey marina, Culebra Island, etc.

King of Prussia...
Destination Expert
for San Juan, Ponce
Level Contributor
8,000 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Family Vacation with a 9, 10, and 11 yr old

In the summer, temperatures do reach the 90s and beyond, depending on where you are on the island. Ponce, for example, is often way over 90 degrees and very humid in the summer.

As far as where to stay, it basically depends on how far you want to be from the city/airport. San Juan has the Old San Juan (and the forts), and a nice beach in Isla Verde. You won't need a rental car there.

Fajardo and Rio Grande (45 minutes east of San Juan) have nice beaches as well, plus the rainforest nearby. You will need a rental car there.

Rincon and Cabo Rojo (3 hours west of San Juan) have very nice beaches, but are located very far from the rainforest. You will need a rental car there.

Vieques and Culebra have the best beaches, but they are located east of the main island. You will need a rental car to get to the ferry, plus a ferry ride to get to these islands.

Honestly, I'm not sure what to suggest to you as it's not quite clear what exactly you're looking for, but I think it's best to start looking at the lodging options and decide what is more appealing to you: a hotel, a resort, a condo, or a villa.

San Juan has most of the big name hotels: Reinassance, Intercontinental, Ritz, Marriott, etc. But it also has nice condos on the beach. Marbella and ESJ Towers often get very good reviews on here. You can see some condos here: vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/…isla-verde

Come back with what appeals most to you and we'll be happy to help some more.

Edited: 04 September 2013, 13:39
Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
127 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Family Vacation with a 9, 10, and 11 yr old

Wow! Thank you all for the responses!

As far as lodging, I thought of a rental home of some sort, but we'd also like a pool or something on site and without looking, I don't know how common that is!

You guys have given some great suggestions to look at to start planning. I appreciate it so much!

The heat and humidity don't bother too much, as we are from Texas where heat and humidity are a daily occurance for us! :-)

King of Prussia...
Destination Expert
for San Juan, Ponce
Level Contributor
8,000 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Family Vacation with a 9, 10, and 11 yr old

That's right! You're all set. Humidity and in PR are not as bad as they are in TX.

El Conquistador in Fajardo has very nice villas called Las Casitas. The resort also has a water park (tickets not included on the fare).

I think Caribe Hilton in San Juan also has villas, but I'm not 100% sure. The hotel has nice pools.

One option to consider is requesting joined rooms at the hotels. My family and I did this at Intercontinental, and Rio Mar and all 5 of us were close enough, though we had room to spread out. Both hotels have very nice pools.

The condos have their own private pools and parking.

One thing to keep in mind too is convenience. Most of the hotels (and the condos) in Isla Verde and Condado have many restaurants (fast foods, chain and otherwise) within walking distance to the hotels. Unlike El Conquistador and Rio Mar, you won't need to drive to find food.

I also wanted to point out that even though you will recognize the hotel names/brands, they all have their "island flavor" you are looking for. Most of these hotels aren't the same as they are here in the mainland US. You will know you are in PR and not in FL for sure. :)

Edited: 04 September 2013, 14:08
Elm Grove, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
113 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Family Vacation with a 9, 10, and 11 yr old

I suggest you take a look at renting a condo in Playa Azul, which is in Luquillo. The complex is beach front and has a pool, rates are very reasonable especially compared to a hotel.

We stayed at this condo last winter and it was perfect for our family. http://www.vrbo.com/361767

Caguas, Puerto Rico
Level Contributor
1,905 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Family Vacation with a 9, 10, and 11 yr old

You do not state how long will your vacation be, but I will assume 8 days.

First of all, avoid visiting during July. As stated in a previous post it is very locally busy with internal tourist, so pools and beaches will be crowded enough to keep a good eye on the kids.

From mid August forward (except labor wknd) is a good time to visit.

I would split my stay in two options- 3-4 days/2-3 nighst at El Conquistador. With a nice water park for your kids ages and nice beach area with really calm waters.

Food prices- a cheeseburger or chicken strips combo with drink and fires are $11, buffet breakfast $25 pp (when making reservations ask if they have any summer deals which usually include waterpark tickets and kids eat free deal). There is a Starbucks and other smaller cafeterias that have breakfast options at half the cost. A plain bagel is $2.5, cream cheese add $1.

To save some money you can bring some light breakfast items to your room, or ask for a Villa.

In Fajardo you can take your kids for bio-bay tour. Really nice experience for them.

Then on the other half of your stay, go to Isla Verde and visit OSJ, still do pool time, and other entertainments. Kids will love the El Morro fortress.

8. Re: Family Vacation with a 9, 10, and 11 yr old

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 06 September 2014, 05:16