My boyfriend and I had a great time but definitely do your research before. I researched the shuttle service and thought that $75.00 pp each way to the airport was a bit pricey. We rented a mid-size car on Hotwire for 4 days at $75.00 for the entire trip. Renting a car was more suitable for us going to the rain forest, restaurants, old san juan etc. The best part about renting a car is that, we got to leave and arrive at our own pace. The total with parking fees (self parking), gas and rental with insurance we spent $165. By doing this we saved $ because we didn't eat on-site much (expensive) and going through hotel excursions can be a bit overpriced. We arrived at the airport and found the shuttle buses for the car rentals outside. It may take a bit for you to see your specific rental company bus but don't worry they go on a loop around the airport. After inspections (I always take photos on my phone just in case) we left and used our IPhone for navigation to the resort. It is about a 45 min. drive, we passed a Wal-Mart and picked up some necessities (water, sunblock, etc.). This is important to keep in mind being that things like this can be expensive at the resort.
When we arrived the front desk was very helpful and even upgraded our room to an ocean. This was a GREAT bonus and one that we were grateful for. The view was fantastic and close to the attractions. We stayed on the bayside which is at the bottom. I liked this because the water park and ferry to take you to the island were near. The main pool area is on top with great views but we didn’t use them much. The room was nice and large. You can tell they've upgraded fixtures, blankets/pillows, TV, etc. The actual building was a bit dated. I could see some drywall damage (humidity) and other minor things but nothing big. I'm a bit of a clean freak so I don't like walking barefoot on any hotel carpet and this one was no exception. The TV was small but who cares when you have a FANTASTIC view! The tub drained very slow, we didn't call since we had short showers. Ocean view is a must and top floor if you can, we had vaulted ceilings (I don't know if this is standard).
The ferry was large and usually a line formed but I didn't see anyone get refused due to over capacity. The web-site and the actual arrival/departure times for the ferry are a bit off. I would double check the signs at the ferry dock to confirm when you arrive so you know when to leave your room. The ferry was nice especially if you sit at the top for views. The ride seems to be choppy regardless of wave swells but unless you get sick easily it's kind of fun. The island seems to be the main attraction at the resort. The actual sand is a bit rough due to coral being in shallow areas around the beach. Not ideal for snorkeling but they have snorkeling tours that will take you out further. There are only certain spots where you go in the ocean and not get your feet torn up by the coral. Bring water shoes if you can. There are plenty of seats and they give you towels as you arrive.
We're big kids so the water park was fun for us. It costs $ but this was included in our package. If you go after a certain hour it's only half the cost. There are 3 slides, a little lazy river and kiddy pool. I think a half day is more than sufficient for kiddos. The lines were not long if there were any.
The restaurants were my only concern about the resort. They do have a variety because the resort is secluded (you cannot walk to anything else). Our first night we ordered a burger, caesar salad (lettuce, croutons, and cheese shavings), 1 beer and a soda. The total cost including tip $45!
The rain forest is not far and it's FREE but don't get fooled by the entrance. When we arrived we were in a 'cow effect' following everyone else. Stay on the windy road, DON'T veer off the right at what looks like the entrance. Unless you want to watch a short video, look at some photos on the wall, etc. for $7.00pp. Not a lot of $ but we got a map at the resort that was the same as the one they handed out at this ‘entrance’. There are many little stops on the windy road leading into the rain forest for taking photos, bathroom, etc.
All in all we loved Puerto Rico and thought that the resort was lovely. Of course we didn't pay full price (cheapcarribean) and I researched for $ saving tips. Hope this helps :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Award-winning oceanfront resort perched atop a cliff, overlooking Caribbean Sea on one side & Atlantic Ocean on the other. Check out the dramatic views, the private island, relaxing spa golf course or the water park - it's all part of this Caribbean paradise. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel Fajardo
- Waldorf Astoria Fajardo
- El Conquistador Hotel Puerto Rico
- Conquistador Hotel Puerto Rico
- El Conquistador Puerto Rico
- El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort Puerto Rico/Fajardo