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Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

Minneapolis
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Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

Planning a last minute trip is stressful so hopefully someone can help me come up with an itinerary?

The two of us are planning on being in PR for 7 days, 10/12 to 10/19. I would like to split the trip into two parts, first half sightseeing and adventure-y things and the second half very relaxed and chill, beach bumming, snorkeling and other very low-key activities.

Two important things to note, neither of us will get on a small plane and one of us doesn't not like boats so the ferry to the islands is pretty much out of the question. We will have a rental car for the duration of the trip.

Is there a central spot to setup camp to see the rain forest, old San Juan and anything else worth seeing up that way? I don't know if you can see the bio-luminescence bay without traveling off the main island? Plus, the moon looks like it will be out that week/end anyways, too bad :(

Also, is there an on island low-key, relaxation destination? Ponce? Hotel recommendations?

Thanks for what input you can provide!

El Yunque Rain Forest
Nature & Wildlife Areas, Forests
La Marquesa Forest Park
Nature & Wildlife Areas, Parks, Forests
Guanica Dry Forest
Forests, Nature & Wildlife Areas
usa
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1. Re: Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

If you want a relaxing low-key area, you should look into Rincon. It is a very safe area and a favorite for expats on the west coast of PR. Ponce really isn't low-key and the only descent beach is on an island offshore. Ponce is best known for its historic old town center.

Edited: 11:19 pm, September 26, 2013
Minneapolis
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2. Re: Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

Thanks prexplorer, I'll take a look at Rincon!

Clifton Park,NY
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3. Re: Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

FYI, our guide for the bio bay, told us the moon phase has nothing to do with seeing better. I have no idea if he is correct or not but I wouldn't not do the tour just because it was a full moon.

boston
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4. Re: Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

I second the recommendation for Rincon. There's plent to see and do on that side of the island and IMO the beaches are fantastic. That general area is more laid back and less city-like.

5. Re: Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

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King of Prussia...
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for San Juan, Ponce
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6. Re: Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

Cabo Rojo is also low key. Somehow it's not as popular as Rincon, but it's a really nice option because it has great local restaurants and very nice beaches.

Ponce is anything but low key. It's the second city on the island, so there's traffic everywhere, finding parking is a challenge, and it doesn't have a good beach. Unless you live or do business there, one day in Ponce is enough.

Small planes and the ferry are the only ways to get to Vieques, which has a bio bay. However, you don't need to travel off the main island to see a nice bio bay because Fajardo has one. :)

As far as where to stay, you can stay in San Juan and do a day trip to the east side. You can see the rainforest and the bio bay on that same day/evening.

As far as hotels, I always recommend the Intercontinental and El San Juan in Isla Verde because they're right on the beach.

Puerto Rico
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for San Juan
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7. Re: Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

If you don't like boats, then kayaking to the Bio Bay probably out of the question. Try Cabeza de San Juan evening tours through the Nature Reserve to see the Bio Bay

Guaynabo, Puerto...
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8. Re: Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

FYI, folks are mentioning the Bio Bay, but looking at the moon for the time you are here, looks like Oct 10 might be your only option. If this is something you want to do, contact the tour companies to see if they will be running any trips

Fortaleza, CE
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9. Re: Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

I believe some say the bio bay is best experienced on a cloudy or moonless night because it'd be easier to see the luminescence when there's not other light, such as from a full moon, though it may be cloudy, somewhat negating the effects of moonlight. I think they still have tours regardless of moon phase. If we go, the only Saturday night we could go would be Oct. 19, which is almost a full moon. Your luck is better.

Edited: 2:38 pm, September 27, 2013
Maine
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10. Re: Eeek! Puerto Rico in 2 weeks, nothing planned, help!

I'll second the Cabo Rojo area as one of our favorite parts. Driving through the interior can be a fun adventure as well. I would give El Yunque at least a full day or better yet two half days so it's not one long tiring day. That is another of the best parts of the island. The Biobay(s) are most impressive without other sources of light. You'll be more impressed the darker it is. I would think most tour companies would want happy guests and to justify the cost, so if it's not that impressive nobody ends up happy.