Planning Puerto Rico

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I was thrilled to learn that Seventeen magazine’s horoscope section described Virgo’s as awesome trip planners. That was good news for me (a Virgo) and my family as I planned our trip to Puerto Rico, because it took some awesome planning skills to figure it all out.

We had three criteria going into this trip:
1. We had to squeeze the trip into the week of Spring Break.
2. My husband and daughter wanted to go ziplining in the rainforest.
3. I wanted to go to the Bio Bay in Vieques Island.

The challenge was on.

Booking flights was simple enough. We flew into San Juan since we did want to see a little bit of Puerto Rico and El Yunque before heading down on the $2 ferry to Vieques Island, which is off the eastern coast. But here was the first conundrum: Rent a car and drive ourselves to the rainforest and to Fajardo where we’d need to leave the car for a few days while we explored Vieques? Or take cabs until we got to the smaller island (where I knew we needed to rent a car)? I couldn’t find any way to rent a car at one spot and return it at another, so decided that a $75 cab ride from San Juan to Fajardo might be the best way to go. Plus, we wouldn’t have to figure out directions. It seemed pricey, but I was starting to realize that trip was going to be much more expensive than I’d expected a trip to Puerto Rico to be.

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With the cab decision made, the next decision was easy. We wouldn’t have a car to get to the rainforest, so we’d need to book tours that picked us up from our hotel. That turned out to be the best plan, since my mother and I didn’t want to go ziplining. We chose a van/hiking tour instead. My husband and daughter would go on their tour at the same time we went on ours, then we’d all meet back at the hotel to compare stories over rum drinks.

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We also wanted to see Old San Juan while we were there. Free trolleys are available once you’re in Old San Juan, but getting there required a cab from the Condado area where we stayed. One cabbie told us that the Condado area was “New San Juan” and was full of hotel/casino combos. Our boutique hotel, At Wind Chimes, was just a block from the beach, too. We really liked the area, though TripAdvisor comments had made me a little worried since some people described the area as “seedy.” Alarmists. It was fine.

I rented us a house on Vieques Island. There are two small towns there: Isabel Segundo and Esperanza. It didn’t matter which one we were closer to since they were only 5 miles apart and we’d have a Jeep while we were on the island. Apparently, Jeeps are about the only cars the car rental agencies loan out since some of the beaches require offroad driving.

I had several options for Bio Bay tours, too, but will explain more about that in a separate post. Let’s just say, I did my research and made a good decision.

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Planning done, there was nothing left to do but soak up the sun, surf, and tropical atmosphere. I did as much as I could with the limited time allowed. Our adventure was about to begin…

14 responses to “Planning Puerto Rico

  1. I wish I would have done Puerto Rico differently on my 21st birthday bash many, many years ago. I did the resort thing, and while it was awesome, I wish I would have seen more of the culture. I haven’t done a resort vacay since…it’s not my thing.

    Can’t wait to hear more about your Puerto Rico adventures!

    • I’ve never done a resort vacation. I can’t stand the idea of all-inclusives or anything that would confine me to one spot. Plus, there’s something about the Central American feel (which was similar in Puerto Rico) that I absolutely love. I don’t know what it is, but it makes me feel at ease.

  2. Julie! So thrilled to know you´re a Virgo as well… I´ve never really heard of us as great trip planners, but I mean, hey what can I say, I´ve been traveling and planning for many years now, or should I say ¨winging it¨! haha I immensely enjoyed PR although my bf and I didn´t get to go to the Luminescent Bay in Vieques. Our highlight was the Culebra island where the beaches were absolutely beautiful!

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