I posted this on main PR forum too.
Hi gang. So my family (2 boys ages 12 and 14) and I are planning to spend a week in PR over the next 30 days. We were in PR a few years back and spent a couple days in San Juan, ate like kings down the Ruta de Lechon, loved the Camuy area and then had a week on Vieques. It was amazing. The sites, the food, the music and especially the people.
We want to go to the west side of the island this time so I have a few questions relative to picking a location. I am just starting to read through the forum so I realize some items (storm recovery for example) are likely covered in trip reports. So I won’t fret on that too much as all these areas I am thinking about what I believe are well worn tourist areas, so I assume much of it is open for business. But I am Trying to figure out a good base of operations. I realize that driving distances north to south along the shore are not too far, but with such a short trip, I don’t think we want to do like 2 nights one place, pick up and move for another 2 or 3 nights. Can you advise on the following:
1) Storm Recovery in Porta del Sol: Part of why we are choosing PR for spring break is that we want to continue to help the island recover beyond our previous monetary donations through work and church. While I am working to find some volunteer service we can perform with the boys while there (very few leads on storm recovery work that is “family friendly” so far), I have been told repeatedly that helping to bring tourism dollars (back) to PR would be the most help. That said, I also want to ascertain if there are specific western beach towns/areas where power and water are more likely be a concern for our trip.
2) Which town: I don’t know much about the western side, but Isabel and Rincon are two NW areas we are looking at. And then down the SW is Boqueron. Why these? We want to be near or in a small beach town if possible since food and drink as well as music are big for us. And Mom will want to browse for local crafts but we aren’t big shoppers outside of art. And these towns popped up in my limited search. We do Usually try to avoid resorts and go as “local” as our limited language skills will allow. “Touristy” areas are ok in my book, as they are usually popular for a reason. But I just want to avoid high rise, fancy-schmancy areas or places that are overrun by spring break types. Low key. Authentic. A little bohemian is ok. That’s more the vibe. We are generally a VRBO/AirBNB family and usually look for small home or cottage that is on the shore/oceanfront if possible. That said, requirements are different this time because I am planning on fairly short notice. But I would ideally like to be in an area that’s got lodging options for those of us that usually like a bit more privacy. Small hotel/inn/resort, or rentals. Close to town, yes. But close to the water is more important. Walkable food and drink is always a plus. We will have a vehicle. Can anyone compare Rincon/Isabela/Boqueron? Any other towns to look into ?
3) Beaches: One kid loves some wave action for boogey boarding and the other kid loves to do shore snorkeling. Mom and dad love it all. Vieques was so special as, with a jeep, we could visit 3 or 4 very different beaches easily in one day on that small island and I could make everyone happy. So ideally, I would like to land somewhere that has a mix. Sandy beach with some waves as the “home beach” but maybe some areas with coves and snorkeling within a short drive. Or vice-versa. Does that sway one town over the others?
4) Other attractions: Kids rarely want to leave the beach, but they do love history/architecture, and natural wonders (waterfalls, caves, etc). So bonus points if options are within a short drive. Again, being near a cute, beach town is priority
Any suggestions on a western PR beach/town that ticks some of these boxes are appreciated. And “ways to give back” while there are welcome too. Thanks for listening. Take care,