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Topic: Vacation In Puerto Rico And SJU-IAH-SAT On CO
Username: Homer71
Posted 2009-11-18 15:51:42 and read 10366 times.

Photo Trip Report: SJU-IAH-SAT on Continental

This is the return portion of our vacation this past summer. Part one can be found here:

Photo Trip Report: SAT-IAH-SJU on Continental (with DirecTV)

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Our rental van


I think it is safe to say that Puerto Rico offers more activities than your garden variety Caribbean island. Five days were not nearly enough time to explore PR’s many treasures. But we did the best we could, despite some poor planning for one aspect (Vieques/Culebra).

Let the following photos guide you through our vacation:

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Heading to our hotel


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Welcome to the Wyndham Rio Mar Resort


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Our room…


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…with an ocean view



Some of the resort’s residents


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The River Course, with a view of El Yunque


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El Portal Visitor’s Center at El Yunque


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View of the Atlantic on our way to the top



La Mina Falls


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Luquillo Beach


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No offense, Galveston, but your beaches suck


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Royal Caribbean docked at Pier 3



Raices Fountain


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Starting our long amble towards El Morro


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View from El Morro to the southeast



View into El Morro



Old San Juan (Calle Abbey?)


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v452/homer71/3-Trip%20Reports/CIMG4294.jpg
The kiosks near Luquillo Beach



Top: Acaburia (for those of you from Texas it’s basically a carne empanada)
Bottom: Pastilillo




Chorizo y aroz


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v452/homer71/3-Trip%20Reports/CIMG4325.jpg
In the center of the island, on our way to Ponce



Our beach at Rio Mar


Unfortunately, we did not anticipate the crowds and pandemonium at Fajardo ferry terminal, so we were not able to make an excursion to either Vieques or Culebra. Fortunately, there was a nice lady at the parking lot that felt sorry for us and refunded the $5 parking fee. With that, it’s back to the beach…

Before we know it, the time came to head back to the mainland. We booked a room at the Courtyard by Marriott adjacent to SJU for the last night. While the boys enjoyed the waves at Isla Verde beach, I didn’t care for the urban setting (there was nothing wrong with it, it was just not my cup of tea), although it was nice watching the planes appear above the trees as they rotate off of runway 8.

My youngest son (the little aviation nut) and I took a quick trip to SJU to do some spotting and turn in the rental car. We drove in front of what it looks like a brand new terminal. It looked completed and I didn’t spot any construction equipment nearby so I assumed it set to open at any time. After returning home, I found out the new terminal is actually going to be Terminal A (or Concourse A, I heard both designations), which will be occupied by DL and US. It was originally supposed to be opened in April 2009, for some reason it has been delayed until early 2010.

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New Terminal/Concourse A, to be opened in 2010



Old Terminal


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Best Western Hotel/Casino (under renovation?)


We headed to the Aeroparque to see some action along runway 8. Unfortunately, it was closed. Can anyone tell me if it was a normal closure or if it was shut down? It was a Friday at around 530pm. Anyway, we circled around again and found a little parking lot along the fence just east of the viewing area.

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AA AB3 and ATR ready for departure


After a nice dinner at the hotel and a good night’s sleep, we were ready, but reluctant, to head home. There was a taxi waiting for us outside the lobby and we were at SJU shortly. There were no problems with checking-in or with security, so we had to time to kill to get some breakfast and explore the concourses.

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Post-security at SJU


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Sunrise over Concourse C with CO and CM ready to start their day


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Entrance to AA’s stronghold at Concourse D


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Two AA 752s sitting patiently


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Our ship (#409) RONing


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Action at Concourse B


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Yet-to-be-opened Concourse A

27 June 2009 (Saturday)

San Juan – Luis Munoz Marin Int. (SJU) to Houston – George Bush Intercontinental (IAH)


flight / equip / reg
CO1751 / 739 / N37409 (delivered 11/19/01)
scheduled / actual departure (gate)
0845 / 0848 (29)
scheduled / actual arrival (gate)
1215 / 1204 (E16)
seat
14D

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v452/homer71/3-Trip%20Reports/CO1751.jpg


Despite the full flight, boarding was completed without any problems. We took off from runway 8, and, before you know it, sadly, we were on our way back to the mainland.

We were served breakfast shortly after takeoff. It consisted of a sort-of egg pita pocket, served with a bran muffin and fruit cup. If it wasn’t for a queasy stomach, I might have enjoyed the egg, but I settled for the fruit and juice.

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Morning grub


There were two movies shown on the 4+ hour flight: Inkheart, starring Brendan Fraser and New in Town, starring Renee Zellweger. My sons summed up their feelings for the first movie with a “meh” while my wife responded to the chick flick with an equally indifferent “meh.” I had no interest in either movie, so I passed the time with Staring Out the Window starring cumulus clouds and the Atlantic Ocean.

The flight has its share of chop here and there; in fact, the captain has the “fasten seatbelt” light illuminated for the whole second half of the trip, even when the ride smoothed itself out. We were assigned to FL340. Service was good; it might have been great if any of the FAs actually flirted with me…  Wink


At the time, I thought this was Fort Myers/Cape Coral, but I think it is actually Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda, right?


We eventually made it to IAH, landing on runway 27. We had a good 2 ½ hours to kill. Since we lived in Houston, my wife and kids (except the youngest one – the airliner fanatic) were tempted to walk out the terminal and catch a ride home, leaving me to fly to SAT, collect the luggage and make the 3-hour drive home. I know, we live in Houston, but we flew out of San Antonio because…never mind, long story. I warned them that if CO found out their little stunt, they might be subjected to being banned from flying Continental, ala Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). So, they sat quietly at the gate while my youngest son and I headed out to check out the Euros at Terminal D.

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CO action at Terminal E



Okay, silly question: what aircraft is a 674? What about 672?


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CI 74F heading to the 15s


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LH 744 at Terminal D


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TA 190 on its way to BZE


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SQ sitting pretty…


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SQ sitting pretty close!


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KL adjacent to SQ with BA arriving from LHR (throw in some pissant CoEx for good measure

Houston – George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) to San Antonio – Int. (SAT)

flight / equip / reg
CO1079 / 73G / N24706 (delivered 5/26/98)
scheduled / actual departure (gate)
1445 / 1448 (C35)
scheduled / actual arrival (gate)
1542 / 1534 (32)
seat
25E

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v452/homer71/3-Trip%20Reports/CO1079.jpg


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v452/homer71/3-Trip%20Reports/CIMG4550.jpg
Our ride getting ready for the short hop


Not much can be said about this leg, other than we took off from runway 15L, flew at FL220, landed at runway 12R in SAT, and it was bumpy as hell.


Graffiti on a regional scale: Mr. Luecke fights big government…


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Back in the Alamo City



Omega Air KDC10 catatonically immobile, with Transaero 772 behind it


Although tired, we were deliriously happy with our vacation in the tropics. It was a relaxing respite in our otherwise hectic lives.

The only other thing that can be said and can appropriately end this trip report is my youngest son’s latest revelation:

“An MD-11 is just a DC-10 with winglets.”

Thanks for reading, and, as always, any questions/comments are appreciated (maybe not accepted, though Big grin ).

Topic: RE: Vacation In Puerto Rico And SJU-IAH-SAT On CO
Username: AznMadSci
Posted 2009-11-18 17:08:02 and read 10173 times.

Cheers mate! Great trip report!  bigthumbsup 

Quoting Homer71 (Thread starter):
Okay, silly question: what aircraft is a 674? What about 672?

I believe 674 is for the 767-400s, while 672 is for the 767-200s

Quoting Homer71 (Thread starter):
SQ sitting pretty close!

Always love see her at the airport. EK and QR are ok, but seeing SQ parked at D is something I look forward to trying!  cloudnine 

Quoting Homer71 (Thread starter):
Since we lived in Houston, my wife and kids (except the youngest one – the airliner fanatic) were tempted to walk out the terminal and catch a ride home, leaving me to fly to SAT, collect the luggage and make the 3-hour drive home. I know, we live in Houston, but we flew out of San Antonio because…never mind, long story.

Oh I perfectly understand! I used to use AUS as a start point, and then purchase a cheap IAH-AUS roundtrip so in effect do IAH-AUS-IAH-XXX-IAH-AUS-IAH. I get 2000 extra miles and since I'm part of CO's TravelClub, I get $10 to my account! Not bad, so I do understand!  bigthumbsup 

Cheers!

Colin  wave 

Topic: RE: Vacation In Puerto Rico And SJU-IAH-SAT On CO
Username: Aeroflot001
Posted 2009-11-18 19:13:02 and read 9990 times.



Quoting Homer71 (Thread starter):
Welcome to the Wyndham Rio Mar Resort

Wow that place has gone through some great renovation. Many years ago we would go often when it was privatley owned called the Cerro Mar. Hyatt bought the place and fixed it up a bit and now it looks like wyndham has really brought it up to spee. Would love to go back.

Quoting Homer71 (Thread starter):
Unfortunately, we did not anticipate the crowds and pandemonium at Fajardo ferry terminal, so we were not able to make an excursion to either Vieques or Culebra. Fortunately, there was a nice lady at the parking lot that felt sorry for us and refunded the $5 parking fee. With that, it%u2019s back to the beach%u2026

That is a real shame for you guys as you really missed out on some great beaches. Fall/Winter is the high season so I am not surprised about the crowds. But as always... maybe next time.

Quoting Homer71 (Thread starter):
Best Western Hotel/Casino (under renovation?)

The hotel has been finished and has been for a few months now and it looks so much nicer now. The old hotel had closed down and was a horrible looking blue building with broken windows and cracking paint (very bad image for the airport). The hotel is now a best western that looks rather decent from both inside and out and has a new casino which seems a bit tacky though. The hotel has mixed reviews on trip advisor and most say its alright for spending one night
if you are ever interested here is the website:http://book.bestwestern.com/bestwestern/productInfo.do?propertyCode=71016

Quoting Homer71 (Thread starter):
We headed to the Aeroparque to see some action along runway 8. Unfortunately, it was closed. Can anyone tell me if it was a normal closure or if it was shut down? It was a Friday at around 530pm. Anyway, we circled around again and found a little parking lot along the fence just east of the viewing area.

Wow I am quite surprised that runway 8 was closed seem a bit unusual. 10 was closed for what seemed and eternity due to a major overhaul but it opened up a few months ago.

Great report keep them coming.

Topic: RE: Vacation In Puerto Rico And SJU-IAH-SAT On CO
Username: Charles79
Posted 2009-11-19 04:54:09 and read 9570 times.

Great report, thanks for posting it! Being a Puerto Rico native it's always nice to see folks from the mainland take advantage of our own little piece of paradise in the Caribbean...no passport required, same currency, and more or less the same language (if you can understand Spanglish that is!).

We flew Continental to SJU from LAX back in 2007 and enjoyed the experience quite a bit (plus got to fly on a 753 on the HOU-LAX leg!). It's great to see that CO still offers a nice experience in the air.

Cheers!

Charles

Topic: RE: Vacation In Puerto Rico And SJU-IAH-SAT On CO
Username: Tonyban
Posted 2009-11-19 08:09:50 and read 9405 times.

Great TR and what an absolutely beautiful country. I want to go now.

Topic: RE: Vacation In Puerto Rico And SJU-IAH-SAT On CO
Username: PRINAIR
Posted 2009-11-19 17:35:01 and read 8969 times.



Quoting Homer71 (Thread starter):
Top: Acaburia (for those of you from Texas it’s basically a carne empanada)
Bottom: Pastilillo

The ones on the top are the pastelillos and the ones on the bottom are what in Puerto Rico they call "Tacos de Carne (meat) or Jueyes (crab)".

There are no alcapurrias in that picture.

Quoting Aeroflot001 (Reply 2):
Wow that place has gone through some great renovation. Many years ago we would go often when it was privatley owned called the Cerro Mar. Hyatt bought the place and fixed it up a bit and now it looks like wyndham has really brought it up to spee. Would love to go back.

The Cerromar resort and the Rio Mar resort are not the same. Rio Mar is located in the town of Palmer/Mameyes while the Cerromar is about 35 miles west in the town of Dorado.

Both resorts have had the same name since they were built many years ago although both have changed management several times over the years.

Great trip report with wonderful pictures, I grew up in Luquillo and spent a very happy childhood at the beach you pictured there.

Topic: RE: Vacation In Puerto Rico And SJU-IAH-SAT On CO
Username: STT757
Posted 2009-11-19 19:09:37 and read 8865 times.

I stayed at that hotel when it was the Westin Rio Mar, this was back in 1998. Beautiful property.

Nice trip report.

Topic: RE: Vacation In Puerto Rico And SJU-IAH-SAT On CO
Username: Homer71
Posted 2009-11-20 04:20:11 and read 8645 times.

Thanks for the comments y'all

Quoting Aeroflot001 (Reply 2):
Wow I am quite surprised that runway 8 was closed seem a bit unusual.

Actually, it was the Aeroparque that was closed, not runway 8

Quoting PRINAIR (Reply 5):

The ones on the top are the pastelillos and the ones on the bottom are what in Puerto Rico they call "Tacos de Carne (meat) or Jueyes (crab)".

There are no alcapurrias in that picture.

I stand corrected, actually I had the names switched...the top dish is indeed pastelillos, but we were told the bottom ones were alcapurrias, I guess we'll chalk it up to a misunderstanding...

Topic: RE: Vacation In Puerto Rico And SJU-IAH-SAT On CO
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2009-11-20 10:14:07 and read 8479 times.

Very enjoyable report with great pictures!

Quoting Homer71 (Thread starter):
We were served breakfast shortly after takeoff. It consisted of a sort-of egg pita pocket, served with a bran muffin and fruit cup. If it wasn’t for a queasy stomach, I might have enjoyed the egg, but I settled for the fruit and juice.

Looks quite good. I was surprised to get hamburgers and cheeseburgers on my recent IAH-PDX and IAH-EWR flights.


PH

Topic: RE: Vacation In Puerto Rico And SJU-IAH-SAT On CO
Username: WA707atMSP
Posted 2009-11-20 11:02:33 and read 8424 times.

Thank you for sharing a great trip report. I've been to Puerto Rico twice, and would love to go back. It is a very special place!

Quoting Homer71 (Thread starter):
Starting our long amble towards El Morro

I think El Morro is one of the most interesting forts, anywhere in the world. The way it was laid out, with different levels of the fort designed to inflict different types of damage to invading ships, is just amazing.


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