HALFA
Topic Author
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Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:01 am

I will be taking a cruise to the Southern Caribbean in October and we will be leaving from San Juan. It will be my first visit to Puerto Rico (Other than flying into the airport, spending an hour there, and leaving). We will be arriving on a Saturday night, and the cruise will depart on Monday night. We have booked 2 nights pre-cruise at the Renaissance La Concha Hotel.
We have no plans made and I would like to know what we should do with ourselves on Sunday, which is entirely free. Any suggestions?

Also, is anyone familiar with this hotel? Good, bad? Anyone have an idea of how much a cab would be from the San Juan Airport to the Renaissance Hotel? How much would a cab be from the Hotel to the Cruise port, and how long that would take? We would like to take a few bottles of wine with us on the ship but don't want to lug this all the way from Hawaii. Can anyone recommend a store in the area to purchase wine? If you had only one day in San Juan, what would you do?

Any help/suggestions would be appreciated!

Aloha,

HALFA
HA J Class Lie flats, coming soon to a plane near you........
 
HOMER71
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:24 am

I guess the obvious option is strolling through Old San Juan, walking the cobblestone streets and enjoy the charming historical structures and make your way to El Morro...

Heard great things about La Concha, supposed to be spectacular as far as resorts go. Hope you have a blast in PR



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Charles79
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:38 am



Quoting Homer71 (Reply 1):
I guess the obvious option is strolling through Old San Juan, walking the cobblestone streets and enjoy the charming historical structures and make your way to El Morro...

I agree. It's the second oldest city in the Americas (oldest in the US) and shock-full of classic old-world architecture. You won't be disappointed!

Quoting HALFA (Thread starter):

Also, is anyone familiar with this hotel?

When I was a kid I used to drive by the hotel and look at the pretty Mercedes-Benzes and Porsches parked outside...guess it must have been a nice hotel! It was just called La Concha back then, and I know that after the Renaissance acquisition it underwent a major renovation. Here are some pics I took this past June:

This is the front of the hotel:
http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk228/cjo911/Puerto%20Rico%20JUN%2009/DSC_01113320.jpg

This is the back of the hotel; you can literally just walk to the beach!
http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk228/cjo911/Puerto%20Rico%20JUN%2009/DSC_01143323.jpg

The area around the hotel is also pretty nice as can be seen below:
http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk228/cjo911/Puerto%20Rico%20JUN%2009/DSC_01123321.jpg

As for the cab ride I imagine it would be somewhere between $20-$25, no higher than that.
 
csavel
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:27 pm

DEFINITELY Old San Juan, beautiful place, and well, gorgeous Latina women  Wink

If you have the time, I'd go to El Yunque national forest. Beautiful hiking, and so close to San Juan.
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
 
dxing
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:36 pm



Quoting Charles79 (Reply 2):
It's the second oldest city in the Americas (oldest in the US) and shock-full of classic old-world architecture.

Shock full? Should I wear rubber gloves and boots or just prepare to be visually assaulted?  rotfl   duck 

Thanks for start this thread HALFA, I've got some free time coming up and was thinking of where to go. Never been to PR so I'll keep an eye on this. Thanks for the pictures Charles.
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, a road that goes forever, I'm going to Texas!
 
HOMER71
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:42 pm



Quoting Csavel (Reply 3):
If you have the time, I'd go to El Yunque national forest.

Absolutely!

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"On spaceship earth there are no passengers...only crew."
 
Charles79
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:32 pm



Quoting DXing (Reply 4):
Shock full? Should I wear rubber gloves and boots or just prepare to be visually assaulted?


Touche! I'd be prepared for the visual part!

Quoting DXing (Reply 4):
Thanks for the pictures Charles.

You're welcome! The neat thing about PR is that you don't need a passport, it's the same currency, and you have enough of a mainland US influence to feel like home yet enough uniqueness to feel in a foreign country.

Quoting Csavel (Reply 3):
If you have the time, I'd go to El Yunque national forest.

Indeed! One of those places that you are glad has not been touched by humans too badly.
 
HOMER71
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:11 pm



Quoting Charles79 (Reply 6):
The neat thing about PR is that you don't need a passport, it's the same currency, and you have enough of a mainland US influence to feel like home yet enough uniqueness to feel in a foreign country.

Yeah, and everyone there speaks Spanish, so it's pretty much like Texas...  Wink
"On spaceship earth there are no passengers...only crew."
 
HALFA
Topic Author
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:36 pm



Quoting Homer71 (Reply 1):
Heard great things about La Concha, supposed to be spectacular as far as resorts go. Hope you have a blast in PR



Quoting Charles79 (Reply 2):
When I was a kid I used to drive by the hotel and look at the pretty Mercedes-Benzes and Porsches parked outside...guess it must have been a nice hotel! It was just called La Concha back then, and I know that after the Renaissance acquisition it underwent a major renovation. Here are some pics I took this past June:



Quoting Csavel (Reply 3):
If you have the time, I'd go to El Yunque national forest. Beautiful hiking, and so close to San Juan.

Thanks guys for the tips and the great photos too!

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 6):
The neat thing about PR is that you don't need a passport, it's the same currency, and you have enough of a mainland US influence to feel like home yet enough uniqueness to feel in a foreign country.

Which brings me to another question. If I am flying to San Juan from IAD, do I need to go through customs in SJU?

Quoting Homer71 (Reply 7):
Yeah, and everyone there speaks Spanish, so it's pretty much like Texas...

Do most people speak English in addition to Spanish? Will my taxi driver more than likely speak English? I took 4 years of high school Spanish, should I go hunt for my textbooks?  Smile

Do businesses shut down in San Juan on Sundays?

Aloha,

HALFA
HA J Class Lie flats, coming soon to a plane near you........
 
Charles79
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:45 pm



Quoting HALFA (Reply 8):
If I am flying to San Juan from IAD, do I need to go through customs in SJU?

Nope. It's a domestic flight (which I have done myself several times). Upon your return, though, your bags will have to clear Agriculture as the USDA has a duty against hitch-hiking creatures and plants ruining other ecosystems!

Quoting HALFA (Reply 8):
Do most people speak English in addition to Spanish?

Of course, we have to take 12 years of English in school, so even if the skills are a bit "rough" most locals will be able to understand you, even more so in the tourist area.

Quoting HALFA (Reply 8):
Do businesses shut down in San Juan on Sundays?

Puerto Rico has a Sunday closure law but it allows businesses to open from 1100 to 1700 so no worries there. In fact, if shopping is in your agenda then head over to Plaza Las Americas...you won't be disappointed!
 
dxing
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:13 pm



Quoting Homer71 (Reply 7):
Yeah, and everyone there speaks Spanish, so it's pretty much like Texas

Yep, I was in the valley a couple of weeks ago with my daughter and told her for all intents and purposes we were across the border.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 9):
Upon your return, though, your bags will have to clear Agriculture as the USDA has a duty against hitch-hiking creatures and plants ruining other ecosystems!

Yet for some strange reason they don't mind it when an asian or eastern european freighter unloads tons of ballast water containing all sorts of foreign uglies into our harbors and lakes.

How about renting a car, no troubles?
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, a road that goes forever, I'm going to Texas!
 
HOMER71
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:16 pm



Quoting HALFA (Reply 8):
Do most people speak English in addition to Spanish?

Yes, especially in San Juan - my experience is that they speak to me in Spanish but once they realized I suck at responding in Spanish, they will switch to English and let me off the hook.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 9):
if shopping is in your agenda then head over to Plaza Las Americas...you won't be disappointed!

Agreed - huge, beautiful, modern mall. Unfortunately the traffic there is horrendous on the weekends.
"On spaceship earth there are no passengers...only crew."
 
Charles79
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:35 pm

RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:52 pm



Quoting DXing (Reply 10):
Yep, I was in the valley a couple of weeks ago with my daughter and told her for all intents and purposes we were across the border.

Oh so you went to Los Angeles then?  duck 

(I lived in LA for 4 years and used my Spanish a heck of a lot more than my English...even INSIDE the USAF base!).

Quoting DXing (Reply 10):
How about renting a car, no troubles?

None really, same companies as you see here...AVIS, Hertz, Budget, Dollar. Enterprise is nice but it's outside the airport. Oh, and rent something small...the metro area is pretty much like anywhere in the mainland but the smaller towns are true to their name.

http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk228/cjo911/Puerto%20Rico%20JUN%2009/100_15613194.jpg

Quoting Homer71 (Reply 11):
Agreed - huge, beautiful, modern mall. Unfortunately the traffic there is horrendous on the weekends.

Here's a view of "Plaza" from a DL 763 on the approach to SJU:
http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk228/cjo911/Puerto%20Rico%20JUN%2009/100_14783111.jpg

The key to avoid the traffic jam at closing time is to catch a movie right around 1630 or so.
 
Superfly
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:32 am



Quoting HALFA (Thread starter):
Any help/suggestions would be appreciated!

Drink lots of Bacardi.  yes 
They have lots of Bacardi drinking tours down there. If you remember most of your visit to Puerto Rico, chances are you didn't have a good time!  Silly
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HALFA
Topic Author
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:50 am



Quoting Charles79 (Reply 12):
Here's a view of "Plaza" from a DL 763 on the approach to SJU:

Great picture! What's that building with the white tents above the shopping center? Is it a stadium?

Quoting Superfly (Reply 13):
Drink lots of Bacardi.
They have lots of Bacardi drinking tours down there. If you remember most of your visit to Puerto Rico, chances are you didn't have a good time!

I'm taking my 80 year old mother on a two week cruise, trust me, I will be drinking LOTS of Bacardi.  Smile

Aloha,
HALFA
HA J Class Lie flats, coming soon to a plane near you........
 
chepos
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:55 pm

Hola,
First of all I hope you enjoy your stay in my beautiful homeland.
Puerto Rico is amazing, try to rent a car and visit Ponce, the town retains alot of it's Spanish architecture and one of the pretiest towns in the island. I am a bit biased as it is my hometown.
El Yunque, las cuevas de Camuy and the west coast of the island are all very nice sights as well. San Juan is a nice city, but it is overcrowded, full of trafiic and too americanized, if you plan on staying in the San Juan area, Old San Juan and El Condado would be the only notable sights. El Hotel La Concha is beautiful, i was there this past Oct. and it is one of the nicest hotels in the Condado area- very chic. I woulld say a taxi from LMM to El Condado should cost you around 20 something bucks- taxis are not cheap in Puerto Rico and nothing is cheap in San Juan. The night life in Old San Juan is nice, a very electic mix- from your natives to tourist.

Ojo!!!- contrary to popular belief English is not widely spoken outside of the San Juan area. All of my family still lives in the island of Puerto Rico and only my father can butcher the English language. Only because he is a businessman and used to travel to the US frequently.

I was just in Puerto Rico for my best friends wedding two weeks ago, and as every summer the weather is extremely hot, but at least rains almost ona daily basis.
If you have any additional questions regarding Puerto Rico, please let me know. Ill be more than happy to answer the,

Regards,

Chepos
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Charles79
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:26 pm



Quoting HALFA (Reply 14):
Great picture! What's that building with the white tents above the shopping center? Is it a stadium?

Yup, the Hiram Bithorn. They play hockey or tennis or something there.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 13):
They have lots of Bacardi drinking tours down there.

But there's more than just Bacardi...trust me, since I don't drink I know what to do when you must have a sober fun time!

Quoting Chepos (Reply 15):
I am a bit biased as it is my hometown.

Oh you're from Ponce? I'm sorry!! (just kidding, I'm a snob from the Bayamon/Gaynabo area!)

Quoting Chepos (Reply 15):
Ojo!!!- contrary to popular belief English is not widely spoken outside of the San Juan area.

It depends where you are though...my partner barely speaks a word of Spanish yet we found plenty of English speakers in Ponce, Quebradillas, Naranjito, Aguadilla, Luquillo...plus if you go anywhere near the big resorts in Fajardo and Ceiba you are bound to be understood pretty well.

But who cares as long as you know the Spanish words for rum and beer, right?
 
chepos
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RE: Puerto Rico....First Time....I Have Questions

Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:45 pm

Ahh yes, Guaynabo city, the snobby capital of Puerto Rico.
You know, us people form Ponce consider Ponce the cultural capital of Puerto Rcio, to us the San Juan area is just a big messy city. As we like to say Ponce is Ponce and the rest of the island is our parking lot. We consider Ponce the autonomous republic of Ponce, we just happen to be attached to Puerto Rico -lol.
To All:
Rum-Ron, beer-cerveza, dont be fooled by that Bacardi crap have some DON Q- true Puerto Rican rum ffrom Ponce. And enjoy a Medalla (Puerto Rican beer) while you are in Puerto Rico.

Regards,

Chepos
Fly the Flag!!!!

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