This trip was allot of fun. The wife and I went with our 18yr old daughter and her boyfriend as a HS graduation trip and we got adjoining rooms which was a nice set up. Our first night we were in one South facing room and we switched to adjoining the next night on the North face of the building. The views were great from both sides as long as you are up at least four floors. The ocean views are from every room in the large hotel. There are a few other buildings you can stay in that would not provide a great view in some cases. I had high expectations from some "over dramatized" stories that I heard about this hotel, like how it boasted one of the biggest and best nightclubs in San Juan with a huge casino. Both of those things are not the case. The main lobby of hotel walks down into the only primary area that could be considered a 'club' but it was more of a small stage and dancing area with a bar that you pass on your way out to the outdoor pool and beach. It was nice but not nearly as Grand as I was expecting. We didn't find any dramatic night club scene in San Juan, and it wasn't short of asking locals and taxi drivers. Senior frogs in Old San Juan was the only big party scene we found on our Sat-Th trip and it was mostly Regaton music with 99% locals all in Spanish (not complaining, that's just what it was). The casino is a short cab ride across the bridge. I found that every cab ride in San Juan is going to cost about $12-15 dollars, no matter if it's 2 miles or 10 miles away. So if you want to go eat in the 'hotel strip' acorss the bridge you can tack $12 to your tab. The Casino has about 100 slots and six card tables so it's not Grand by any means, but it was in a nice modern hotel. I left $70 up but spent $30 celebrating with two shots of Patron on the way out...lol You can walk from the Hilton but I'd have a couple guys with you since you have to travel past a building under construction that’s dark and spooky and looks like someone ran out of money on the project... One nice thing about Puerto Rico is you deal in american curency and they have some familiar restaurants like Chili's, a place that hits the belly nicely after eating some interesting native dishes for more than a few days. To save money I walked to the liquor store and stocked up on my favorite spirits which is only about 100yards from the front door of the hotel, purchased a jug, mixed batches of my favorite cocktails filled with ice and brought that to the beach....otherwise you'll pay $15 per drink at the Hotel. I spent just under $100 in liquor and it lasted the entire trip for everyone.
The beach area was nice and diverse. Snorkel gear will set you back a rental fee so I would either buy a set at the local store for the same price as one hour and have no limitations or bring a set from home. The snorkeling right off the beach was cool. Tons of fish medium to small, sea urchins, saw a squid or two pass by....but it was nothing compared to the boat rental/snorkeling trip we did out of Fajuerdo. We rented a car for $60 for 24 hours from an independent car rental place located next to the liquor store. It was about an hour drive but a pretty cool one so the time went by fast. There are normal freeways the entire way with mountainous tropical surroundings. The pontoon style boats fit about four normal size people and we all got a chance to drive. We had about 700 lbs of people in our boat so it took a little effort to get them moving full speed within a chain of about five other boats. The sea was a bit choppy for these little boats at times but it made it an adventure and it was allot of fun and we were assured that these they were designed to be almost impossible to flip! One lady opted to travel in the bigger boat that lead us on the way back, everyone else went for it again! The snorkel spots you stop at are in the aqua waters with great visibility. The second stop brings you to the famous island shot in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie with the white sands and little patch of trees in the center. Very cool spot. You can relax with some snacks they brought or keep on snorkeling. I did both and ended up seeing a sting ray. So hanging at the hotel beach is cool and all, but this boat trip is what made the trip for us. We took another day to check out Old San Juan. It's about a five minute taxi ride from the Hilton. It's been kept up well and has some pretty cool historical features. This is where the big WW2 bunker attraction is that you can pay a small fee to walk through and catch some great views and learn a little about Puerto Rican history. The old paved roads and architecture is neat in this area. This is where the cruise ships dump everyone off so I would try to figure out when they port so you can either party with more people or avoid to limit the crowds. We avoided. There are a million trinket shops and places to eat. There is an old church you can walk through that’s pretty neat too. It's worth checking out.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The historic and iconic Caribe Hilton offers an ideal combination of leisure facilities and activities and is home to Caribar, the birthplace of the pina colada. The resort is situated on a private 17-acre lushly landscaped peninsula with a secluded beach and is located near the Old San Juan historic district and many of the destination's top attractions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Caribe Hilton San Juan Hotel San Juan
- Hilton Hotel San Juan
- Hilton Hotel Caribe
- Hilton San Juan
- San Juan Caribe Hilton Hotel