Help a Reader Travel: Puerto Rico

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Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel! As I’ve mentioned before, I have not been to every destination (unfortunately), but do get questions from friends and other blog readers on all sort of travel destination questions. Thus far, we’ve been able to help other readers travel to MauiThe Greek IslandsPacific Coast HighwayArgentinaCosta RicaCape Cod & The IslandsIcelandGenevaCanadian RockiesRomeIsraelPeruLas VegasStockholm, ChicagoParis, Hanoi, and Austin.

So this weeks travel destination includes Puerto Rico. I received the following email from reader Lucas:

“I am looking for a long weekend getaway to somewhere warm and immediately thought of Puerto Rico. Fares have been pretty inexpensive so I thought what a great opportunity for an island destination without breaking the bank. Now, where do you suggest going? There are so many parts of the island. Ideally, I’d like to use points. I have plenty of points at all the major chains, Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, and InterContinental. Any hotel recommendations would be helpful. Thank you.

Luke – You are right, fares to Puerto Rico have been ridiculously low recently. When I went a year and a half ago for a wedding I stayed at the Ritz on the beach (very close to the airport). It was on the same strip of beach as many other chain hotels, including the InterContinental a few hotels a way. I personally wouldn’t use the ridiculous number of points that are required for this Ritz. I’ve also heard the El Conquistador is great, although a Waldorf Astoria so many points required. Further from the airport and San Juan, but closer to the rainforest. From what I’ve heard, both hotels are more “resorty”.

If you have any Puerto Rico hotel recommendations, let’s help out reader Lucas by commenting below. I guess any other things to do, places to eat, etc. would be much appreciated for other blog readers as well!

Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help, feel free to email me at dealswelike@gmail.com to be a featured “Help a Reader Travel” Monday special. Thanks!

Pingbacks

  1. […] Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel! As I’ve mentioned before, I have not been to every destination (unfortunately), but do get questions from friends and other blog readers on all sort of travel destination questions. Thus far, we’ve been able to help other readers travel to Maui, The Greek Islands, Pacific Coast Highway, Argentina, Costa Rica, Cape Cod & The Islands, Iceland, Geneva, Canadian Rockies, Rome, Israel, Peru, Las Vegas, Stockholm, Chicago, Paris, Hanoi, Austin, and Puerto Rico. […]

Comments

  1. Low frills, cheap but beautiful resort in Humacao called Palmas del Mar. I believe it is now a Wynham. Great beach, two 18 hole golf courses, pools, etc. Food isn’t great…so, if you are a foodie stay away.

  2. We went to Culebra (we took the ferry, but you can fly right from San Juan) while we were in Puerto Rico and it was awesome. Flamenco beach is breathtaking and probably one of the nicest beaches in the world (in fact I think it won some top 10 designation recently), and snorkeling on the west site of the island at Carlos Rosario beach was amazing. The reef is right off the shore (http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/playa-carlos-rosario/). We had dinner one night at El Eden while on Culebra and thought the food was really good.

    We also spent some time in San Juan at a small hotel (Da House) which we really liked, and then pricelined night at the Sheraton Old San Juan which was also nice.

    We also took a trip the rainforest and swam in the big waterfall there, which was fun.

  3. We stayed at the El Conquistador, it is absloutely amazing and beautiful! Tripadvisor and flyertalk reviews were mixed so we weren’t sure how it would be but it was awesome. The only downside is there is no nightlife nearby. We said if we went back we would do a couple days there for relaxation and a couple days in San Juan for the nightlife. In Fajardo you have to eat at La Estacion it was by far the best meal I have ever had. In San Juan we ended up eating a small hole in the wall Punto de Vista place twice that had great fish tacos!
    The Bio Bay tour was really cool, it goes directly out of Fajardo, we used Kayaking Puerto Rico to book ours. Also did the zipline tour with Ecoquest and were really happy, the last zipline ends at a mojito bar with a great puerto rican lunch.
    Hope that helps!!

  4. St Regis Bahia Beach Resort is extremely nice and luxurious. Probably the nicest hotel I have visited. It is only a little over a year old as I recall reading. Check it out and rent a car so you can get around. You will be right near the rain forest.

    • @korrinda – It is just a few buildings away from the Ritz. I walked by it and it looks decent. Not so resort like, but the Ritz didn’t have much going on either. There is a pool and it is right on the beach.

  5. @ Shannon – how did you get La Concha with Starpoints? It’s a Renaissance property…

    We used to live in San Juan and go back every couple months for a weekend, generally stay in one of the SPG properties, the Sheraton convention centre is good for accessing highways to get out of town and the Sheraton OSJ is good for suite upgrades and walking around, be warned though parking can be a pain.

    Bahia Beach is beautiful, very high end and we’ll be making our first trip to the W Vieques in November. I highly recommend Vieques though for the slow pace, paso finos, and biobay.

    We love Kasalta or Panaderia Espana in Ocean Park / Isla Verde for food, they’re both bakeries so sandwiches, pastries & coffee is the norm.

    Go check out El Yunque, las cavernas del rio camuy, bosque toro negro, guanica for some great outdoors.

  6. I would definitely recommend Culebra – Flamenco beach is really nice. We stayed for 1 night in Culebra. Do try to grab a meal at Mama citas restaurant. We parked our rental in the parking lot near the ferry terminal in fajardo and took the ferry over. Reach real early to ensure that you get a ticket for the ferry as they give preferences to locals.
    In San juan for an authentic old world feel try eating at Rieces in old san juan.
    We rented a house near the beach in the Ocean Park neighborhood. About a 10 minute drive into downtown san juan and 15 minutes to the airport.

  7. I know the area well. Courtyard Isla Verde is decent. For free with points is a good deal. The beach is wonderful, shared with Ritz. Pool is ok. Gym OK. If it was me, I would choose the intercontinental in Isla verde. Why? Great resort facilities. Cheap, mid price and expensive restaurants within walking distance. Right next door to hotel San Juan with great ambiance during weekend. You will need a cab to go to old San Juan. Being from the area, this is my favorite place.

  8. I lived for five years in Puerto Rico. Here are some recommendations and one unrecommendation: do not stay at the el conquistador under any circumstances and no matter what anyone says. Save yourself. It is the most trashy resort you will ever find in the island and definitely not worth the price. Other than that:

    1. I have heard the St Regis is beautiful and I am dying to go
    2. Yes Culebra all the way, but you may not be able to use points
    3. Absolutely W in Vieques and the island

    Enjoy!

  9. I’m in the same boat. I bought a couple of cheap delta tickets to Puerto Rico and now I need to figure out the rest. I found a room at the Marriott Stellaris Casino for $107.00. Any thoughts on that one?

  10. We loved Puerto Rico. We stayed at both the Courtyard Isla Verde (free night certificates-was a cat 4 hotel) and La Concha (on points saver). The CY is nice. We had an ocean front room which was a nice upgrade since we used free certificates. The room was a bit outdated but served it’s purpose. The beach was clean and had food and drink service available. We also enjoyed La Concha. A bit more upscale but again we managed to get an ocean front room and never had a problem getting chairs or an umbrella on the beach. My only complaint about La Concha is the building blocks the sun around 3pm each day so if you want to stay in the sun you have to keep moving your chair.

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