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Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

Boston
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Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

My wife and I and our 3 year old and 6 month old are planning a trip to Puerto Rico in April. The current plan is to spend a week at a rental (somewhere in Santa Maria) for a week. And spend 4 or 5 days on the mainland in either Fajardo or Luquillo. On the mainland we want somewhere that would work well as a base camp (el yunque, old town SJ, las cabezas) but still be near the beach. My main question is about logistics - do I start in the mainland or fly from Boston to SJ to Vieques and then do the mainland on the way back. It seems like flying to SJ, then getting my rental car and driving to Fajardo for a few days, and flying to Vieques from Ceiba one way; and then after a week, getting a one way back to Isla Grande or SJU. Or even back to Ceiba and taking a car service back to SJU. What do people recommend? Its not really a budget thing, more of a convenience thing, especially with the two young ones.

I also have a question about Santa Maria and Bravos de Boston - is that area safe? I am looking at some rentals right on the beach (casita del sol y mar, or los cocos, or one of the Bravos boyz rentals - any thoughts on these) - are the beaches in Santa Maria swimmable? Most people seem to think not, but I guess it would depend on Surf. How is the surf in early to mid April?

Last question, maybe this is the wrong forum, but is Fajardo or Luquillo close enough to day trip to old town San Juan. Any thoughts on good base camp spots if we are spending a week in Vieques as well?

thanks in advance for the help,

andy

NYC
Destination Expert
for Isla de Vieques
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1. Re: Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

Hi

Luquillo is about 45 minutes to SJ. You should be planning a trip west of SJ to the caves at Camuy and cava de ventana so if you base in Luquillo, going west is even farther out.

personally, I prefer the easier part of the trip to be on the return. so for me, I would end up on Vieques then fly back to isla grande or sju.

cant comment on accommodations, sorry

2. Re: Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

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Removed on: 18 November 2013, 00:05
Boston
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3. Re: Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

Thanks, are there better locations for a home base that are a happy medium between El Yunque and the Caves?

Flowerfarm, where do you stay if you do not stay in the Bravos area? And when you say quite a few, what kind of numbers are we talking about? Are we better off in a condo type complex than a single home?

4. Re: Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

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Removed on: 18 November 2013, 00:05
Worcester...
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5. Re: Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

In terms of Vieques first or second, I recommend first. Here is why. Flyng from Boston myself, we fly jet blue direct to SJU and than cape air to VQS. The baggage will go straight through if you connect your itineraries or book together. It is the fastest, easiest way to get to VQS from BOS. On the way back however, the baggage will NOT go straight through, (USDA and security checks do not exist in VQS and you need to go through them in SJU). So, if we have to do a little more 'work' on the way back, we choose to make that when we visit the main island. Also, I have found that renting a car out in Ceiba/Fajardo and returning in SJU, is cheaper than renting in SJU and returning in Ceiba/Fajardo...although I know you said cost was not really a factor, thought I would mention it.

We have stayed in the Villa Borq. neighborhood three years in a row and never had a problem. I am not sure where on island there are more or less break -ins. Maybe someone who lives there could shed better light on that.

I wouldn't recommend Fajardo for a base camp on the main island(unless you are looking to do things out ot the marines there). Closer to San Juan, Luquillo even would be better. Also, Dorado has some great condo rentals for families and is about equal distance from San Juan as Luqillo, but west.

Edited: 17 November 2013, 17:49
usa
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6. Re: Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

Fajardo is ok if you want to do activities in and around the city like: Las Cabezas de San Juan tour, the Laguna Grande Biobay, a snorkeling tour from Marina del Rey Marina to the Fajardo keys or Culebra, El Yunque rain forest or Seven Seas Beach (better than Luquillo beach IMO).

Berkshires
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7. Re: Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

We stayed at one of the houses that used to be part of casa de sol y mar. They were called Pelican Beach villas at the time. We liked the location, and casa de sol y mar is right on the water. It is not a swimming beach, but good for walking and hearing the water. Our kids were 10 months and 2 and a half at the time. We felt safe at all times. Bravos Boyz were managers at the time and were great. They met us at the boat, got us to the car rental, and gave us a quick orientation to our neighborhood. There was a welcome basket with eggs, bacon, English muffins, rum, pineapple juice and coco Lopez for Piña coladas. I can't speak to current management or condition of de sol y mar.

Vieques
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8. Re: Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

The former Pelican beach cottages have been totally revamped and updated by the new owners, and are now called Bodhi Beach l They are listed on Flpkey.

Boston
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9. Re: Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

Thank you all for the updates. I'll check into the direct baggage, that is helpful information. Cost is always a factor, just not as important as convenience. Some other folks have been pushing me toward Esperanza, but there seem to be way less rentals. It does seem like more of the touristy area with more of the restaurants I want to try. I like the idea of being right on the water thoug, so I have something to look at during the kid's naps.

As for the mainland, el yunque and old san juan are the two main things we want to do. How far is Dorado from el yunque (closer to the caves though I suppose)? And subsequently, how far is luquillo from el yunque? Thanks again.

Berkshires
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10. Re: Vieques / Mainland Itinerary question

Wholegrain, isn't casita del sol y mar the third villa if the former Pelican Beach villas? Not one of the wood framed ones, but the one on the water? As I remember, there was a small pool too.