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Only 4 days in Rio Grande

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York, Pennsylvania
posts: 9
Only 4 days in Rio Grande

We're leaving in 9 days and staying at the Rio Mar Beach Resort. Family of 3 (9 year old son going with us). Admittedly I have not had a lot of time to do a lot of research on the area, but I know we're very interested in the following:

Scuba diving (my husband is certified and wants to do one dive)

Bio-luminescent kayak tour

Rain Forest tour and/or zip line

Old San Juan


Since this is a very short trip, I thought I'd see what others who have been recommend - specifically families with kids. We are doing this trip on a Wyndham voucher, so at some point we have to suffer through a timeshare pitch, but we're old pros at turning them down. Otherwise, we have no real plans other than to ask around and see what is most recommended and not overly expensive.

We arrive on a Saturday (@airport) at 11:30 AM. We still have not decided on a rental car, but figured we could decide when we get there. From what I am reading on here, most people recommend a rental car.

Our flight out on Tuesday is at 4PM. I thought that it might be best to plan to go to Old San Juan that morning before heading to the airport since it is a decent drive from Rio Grande. Any advice on this?

Thanks to anyone who feels like spending any time writing their suggestions or warnings. We are looking forward to a short, fun, and possibly relaxing family trip!

posts: 5,045
reviews: 9
1. Re: Only 4 days in Rio Grande

Puerto Rico is not really known for being one of the best dive destinations in the Caribbean, although there are some spots worth diving, but they are not in Rio Grande, but on the west coast and in Guanica on the southwest coast. Logistically, you really do not have enough time to do that since it is a good distance away and requires a rental car and a full day.

In regard to castles, OSJ has some centuries old forts which are fortified castles. There's El Castillo (Castle) de San Felipe del Morro or "el Morro" for short and Castillo San Cristobal. You will not see all of OSJ in one day.

The rain forest you can do yourself with your rental car as it is easy enough to get to. Just make sure you get there early to secure a parking space as they fill up fast. You can do the zip line on the same day and the kayak tour that night. Make sure you make reservations in advance.

If you are going to rent a car, I suggest you do so before you get to San Juan. You are going to need to rent a car to do all of your activities.

Portland, Oregon
posts: 1
2. Re: Only 4 days in Rio Grande

Just returned from 4 days at a golf condo at Rio Mar. The resort is lovely and the weather was very nice. El Junque is a 15 minute drive from the hotel. You do not need a guide-just drive there yourselves. The park opens at 7:30 and the visitor center opens at 9. I suggest driving up the main road to the second visitor's center at Mina Falls. There is a parking lot, bathrooms and a park service kiosk where you can get maps and buy snacks.

Also suggest getting breakfast or lunch sandwiches at Familia2 Panaderia which is on the side street across from the Amigo grocery store on Rt 3, Easy to find and great food. If you want dinner at a family friendly place off the resort, Don Pepes is great. On your right on Rt 3 after you come down the hill from the resort. I rented a car from Avis and had excellent service

San Francisco CA
posts: 2,362
3. Re: Only 4 days in Rio Grande

You must have a car. The resort is quite isolated and taxis or tours will be much more expensive. Make sure you do not get in the rush hour traffic to/from San Juan, else it is quite easy to take day trips around.

York, Pennsylvania
posts: 9
4. Re: Only 4 days in Rio Grande

Big thanks! I think we will definitely do the rain forest on our own, per your advice.

posts: 129
reviews: 1
5. Re: Only 4 days in Rio Grande

Hi innlvr,

My family of 4 (two children included, ages 10 and 13) just returned from a weeklong stay in Rio Grande. I'll be posting a trip report soon, but probably not before you leave.

If you have any questions that I can answer, I would be happy to help out. We hiked in El Yunque, visited Old San Juan, did an excursion at the BioBay (electric boats), horseback riding on the beach, etc.

I'd also suggest that you rent a car. You'll appreciate the flexibility of going where you want, when you want, at a really affordable price. We went through Enterprise, and it was the QUICKEST and FRIENDLIEST car rental experience we've ever had.

Feel free to either post here or send me a message!


Edited: 9:19 am, April 27, 2013
posts: 371
reviews: 22
6. Re: Only 4 days in Rio Grande

We stayed there this winter and it is beautiful. El Younque is right there an is excellent, really worth 2 days. I second the recommendation for LaFamilia2. We got breakfast/lunch there several times and is very good and good prices. There are 2 excellent (good food, good prices, family friendly/fun) restaurants on the little road to El Younque. One is actually the German place on the right and the other is almost across the street from it. It's right along a creek. Nice people, good food, reasonable prices, and great for kids. I was disappointed in the recommendation from the hotel staff on a good 'local' reasonable restaurant- which wwas not at all local or reasonably priced. I wish I could remember the name. I'll repost if I think of it, but the three I mentioned are excellent. I know the German thing sounds odd, but it was fun and very good and we had 3 kids with us. It has German and PR food. I also strongly recommend driving the coastal route from the airport to the hotel. It's a much nicer drive with scenery and not a lot of traffic. The 'interstate' is packed and not scenic.

posts: 371
reviews: 22
7. Re: Only 4 days in Rio Grande

Barbakoa and Heidelburg Haus are the two restaurants I listed above that we liked. Can't figure out the one we felt misled by the resort staff about.

York, Pennsylvania
posts: 9
8. Re: Only 4 days in Rio Grande

Thanks everyone! All of your replies help tremendously! One last question: The current forecast basically calls for scattered T-storms everyday. This is often what the forecast is every year when we visit Hilton Head, but it rarely rains where we are at the beach. I wonder if this is typical for PR, too? That I should worry about rain because it is usually fleeting?

9. Re: Only 4 days in Rio Grande

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