Puerto Rico - Hubby's vacation choice

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  1. I am starting to plan our vacation for next year and I have to start early since there is a time share exchange involved. Anywhoo...Hubby wants to go to Puerto Rico. It's not my first choice (I wanted to Kauai), but I'm up for anything and I always love to see new places. Not to mention, the airfare is way cheaper to PR that to Hawaii...meaning I have more money to spend on shopping.

    But, before we confirm any exchange and get locked in to PR, what experiences can I look forward to on the island? I've done some internet research, but I would like to get some first-hand stories from regular travelers, not travel writers or travel agents.
  2. Beautiful island.

    What part would you be visiting/what are your time share options?

    The Rincon side is great for surfers while the San Juan is more touristy and better for non-Spanish speakers. A visit to one of the bioluminescent bays would be in order as well as a visit to El Yunque, the beautiful rain forest.

    The food is amazing and IMHO your taste buds will prefer the Puerto Rican roast pork and root vegetables to food at a hawaaiian luau :smile:
  3. I went in May and loved it. I agree with the poster above; El Yunque is lovely and worth seeing. If you're staying in the San Juan area, I recommend La Concha.
  4. ^^ITA with the above posts. It's beautiful everywhere there. The mangoes are amazing!
  5. My fiance & I just got back from P.R. last week. We stayed at La Concha since it was recommended here on the San Juan thread and it was amazing. We stayed in one of the Cabana rooms near the pool/lobby and even though the people next to us complained of noise, we had no problems sleeping throughout the night. The only thing was, the waves were so rough at the beach here, it made it difficult to swim. But we did do the jet skis which I would have preferred not to do since the waves were so rough. The pools are open 24 hours even though in the little binder in the room said 7am-7pm.

    FOOD: Do your research on food early since we didn't do ours we had to suffer quite a few places that had overly priced food that didn't taste too well. Raices is the place that is featured in Man vs. Food. We didn't find their food too good. It was overrated. But there's this place called Pinky's on the same street as La Concha about 3/4 of a mile down that had really good tuna wraps. It was sashimi blue fin tuna with an amazing sauce, lettuce, tomato, etc. Definitely worth the trip. Oh and Old San Juan has a lot of food trucks on Sunday. Definitely found the best meals of our trip there!

    SHOPPING: LV, Ferragamo, Gucci, & Cartier were all within steps from La Concha. The LV is small but impressed me so much because they had all the new denim bags and the new agendas/clutches.
    Also, I didn't believe it when others told me, but we can get duty free at the airport on our way back! I thought it was only when we travel outside of the U.S.! Even when I was in Hawaii and coming back to visit family I didn't get to shop duty free! The rule there is 5 cartons of cigarettes and as much alcohol as you can carry! Oh and look at your receipt at the end because they offered 20% off next purchase at the duty free within 24 hours. That means, we could have made one purchase, got the receipt then make another one with 20% off. :nuts:

    AIRPORT: get there early when you leave. Just like a lot of the islands you have to send your luggage through agricultural scan (or whatever it's called...). Then if you fly AA, (which we did) even if you use the kiosks to check yourselves in, you have to wait in this annoyingly gianormous line to drop off your checked luggage. So basically you have to see an agent no matter what. next time we go back we already agreed my fiance will go stand in line with the luggage while I check us in.

    Hope all this helps! Have fun planning!
  6. We really don't have much choice of where to stay since it's a time share situation and there are only five resorts available for exchange. They are all over the island. Hubby is a Spanish speaker, so we're good in that department.

    Thanks for the advice everyone!!! Our favorite food joints are usually food trucks or shanty shacks. I'm glad to see that we will find plenty of those on the island.

    sixela, have you ever tried to travel without checked baggage? People look at me like I am insane, but we stopped carrying checked baggage a few years ago and it is so liberating! We each have a duffle bag and we have always managed to get everything we need in those two bags. It is so nice to be able to walk past the checked bag lines.

    I'm going to put in the exchange request today. I hope we can get in...
  7. Also, duty free shops will you buy whatever you want; however, you are only legally allowed to bring in one carton each, etc. Many agents don't ask though.
  8. #8 Sep 22, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
    Natalie, we were thinking of not checking luggage since we didn't have much to bring. But it was tough to deal with all our face cleansers, toners, and lotions since the brand we use doesn't sell travel size. They do pass them out occasionally when you make a purchase, but they don't do resale. Also, sunscreen was another issue. I use organic DDF sunscreen which comes bigger than 3 oz. I thought about buying travel size containers to put them in, but I didn't want to pack too light on skincare.

    basically, we had to check luggage only for the skincare & sunscreen. I thought about sending them to the hotel first via post. But then thought, what if it gets lost in the post?!

    Twiggers: the agents didn't even bother to look inside our duty free shopping bags. :graucho: