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San Juan Bound!

Virginia
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San Juan Bound!

I'm going to San Juan in September (we were supposed to go in August but had to change plans) and staying at the Best Western Hotel Pierre. I've read mainly good things about it. I know it's not a Hyatt but it looks nice enough. Anyone ever stayed there? Also, if any of you can offer any good tips about places to visit, beaches to go to, please let me know. Also does anyone know what the weather's like in September in San Juan? I've read that it's fairly hot but also can be rainy. Anyone been in September?

I'm excited about going and want to soak in everything so I welcome any feedback, suggestions, tips,etc.

Thanks!

usa
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1. Re: San Juan Bound!

I don't know anything about that hotel. I do know that it is not a beachfront property and you will be away from the beach and will have to cross 2 major city streets to get to the beach. The best city beach is in Isla Verde. If you are a beach person, that can be a real hassle. Be advised also that San Juan is a large city and most areas of the city are not geared specifically to cater to tourists. The major tourist zones in the city are Old San Juan, Condado and Isla Verde sections. Do visit Old San Juan. There is a lot to see and do there, including dining, museums, historic sites (500 years of history), shopping, etc. You may be interested in the Puerto Rican African Museum in OSJ. San Juan also has the largest mall in the Caribbean, Plaza Las Americas, and if you are a shopper, it is worth visiting. Are you renting a car?

Buffalo
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2. Re: San Juan Bound!

If you plan to go to any of the museums, remember that they're closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Virginia
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3. Re: San Juan Bound!

Thank you Pastiche and Prexplorer for the tips, especially the museum closings! Pastiche what do you think about renting a car? I asked Prexplorer too. I've been told to rent one (to be able to get around at my leisure) and to definitely not rent one (because the traffic is terrible and you'll just end up frustrated) and I'm not sure what to do.

Buffalo
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4. Re: San Juan Bound!

I would definitely rent one for going to different parts of the island, but NOT for going to Old San Juan. On the day you plan to go to OSJ, take a taxi or bus from your hotel. The streets in OSJ are very narrow, with limited parking.

usa
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5. Re: San Juan Bound!

Actually you can drive to OSJ, there are parking garages. I somehow have always managed to find a space in the street somewhere in OSJ. I'm good at parallel parking and am used to urban driving. The choice is yours. As mentioned, the streets are narrow and tight. The best way to see the old city is to get on your feet and walk. It is only about 7 square blocks.

You will definitely need to rent a car if you plan to go to the rain forrest, El Yunque or Luquillo Beach (very popular beach in PR near the rain forrest). The traffic in San Juan is overwhelming. Lots of jams. Are you going at it alone?

El Yunque National...
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6. Re: San Juan Bound!

September is hot , sometimes rainy, but not usually a constant rain- just rain showers.

Don't worry- rent a car. Traffic is bad at times and driving is "unique" at times, but take your time, drive as usual, be aware of the drivers around you and you will be fine.

You have to spend time in Old San Juan- at least a day- do 2 half days and you will be happy. Drive in and park or take a taxi (whatever is cheaper/convenient).

With a car, you will be able to see and experience so much more of Puerto Rico.

Catch some different beaches- Luquillo, Pinones, Isla Verde and Seven Seas among others.

The rain forest is very nice- nature at its best- swim in a waterfall!

Take a snorkeling trip from Fajardo- either a "booze cruise" or private boat.

The Fajardo Bio Bay is lovely- a nice natural night out. You can take a sailboat to the Vieques Bio-Bay (which is brighter) from Fajardo also.

The Camuy Caves are nice if you want to head out west.

Really there is so much to do! Check out my blog for ideas- I am constantly adding more day trips.

www.puertoricodaytrips.com

El Yunque National...
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7. Re: San Juan Bound!

Just as an aside- the African Museum is all in Spanish. I went and it took me forever to translate it, but it was very interesting and educational. But if you don't read Spanish, you will be lost.

Redmond, Oregon
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8. Re: San Juan Bound!

I agree that you should rent a car and get out of the city if you get a chance. San Juan has its charms but the real beauty is in the smaller towns and laid back lifestyle you'll find on the rest of the island. Defensive driving is key here (imagine New York CIty maybe) but it's much better once you get out of the metro area. Also, the best beaches are out of the metro area. However, if you stay in the metro area, you can easily go to Isla Verde, Condado, or Escambron beaches.

If you have time, you could even visit Vieques or Culebra by ferry, which offer more secluded beaches. Usually during the rainy season, we have rain for about an hour or two every day starting around 11 am- 12pm, so you just want to go to the beach early. And bring lots of sunscreen - it is definitely more direct sun here.

Puerto Rico
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9. Re: San Juan Bound!

The hotel that you choose it's pretty good, I've stayed there several times and it's just great. The pool is 24hrs, good simple breakfast in a clean area. This hotel is mainly used by Business travelers. The last time I was there, the charge for the Valet Parking was $10.00 daily.

Right in front of the hotel there's a 24 hour Pueblo supermarket, where you can find almost everything to stock that mini fridge.

At walking distnce you have:

Museo de Arte de PR - http://www.mapr.org/

Bebo's cafe - great for lunch, local food not pricey, very relax familiar atmosphere.

La Patisserie - a posh deli place with lunch specials and casual dinig.

Puerto Rico
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10. Re: San Juan Bound!

Just to add...

You can use buses for your day trips, it's cheap and pretty reliable. They run from around 5am to 10pm.

Right outside of your hotel you can catch A5 , this bus takes you to Isla Verde area, with great beaches and restaurants. This bus also takes you back to the hotel from Old San Juan.

I'm not sure about this one, but I think its the B21, that you take from Condado ave. that takes you to Old San Juan.

Here is the map with the routes, just click into an area to enlarge.

http://www.dtop.gov.pr/ama/mapaindex.htm