Puerto Rico. Y'know, for kids.
June 21, 2016 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Traveling to Puerto Rico next week. Seeking suggestions for family fun.

Myself, my wife, and our 7yo daughter will be spending 5 days in Puerto Rico next week. We're renting a car, staying in an Air BnB near El Yunque. Closest town is Luquillo. I would love some suggestions of kid-friendly activities and locations, as well as any specific restaurant or shopping locations. We already have a bio bay tour booked, but our itinerary is otherwise wide open. I'd like to do some snorkeling, but not sure how kid-friendly it will be. Any experiences in Culebra or Vieques would also be much appreciated.
posted by gnutron to Travel & Transportation around Puerto Rico (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Here's part 1, 2, and 3 of a series that one of my favorite bloggers did recently about taking her young kids to Puerto Rico.
posted by serelliya at 8:21 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

We found this site helpful for finding smaller attractions.

Dine at the tasty kiosks in Luquillo (a mix of take out places and sit-down restaurants).

Spend at least one very long day in old San Juan to give yourself plenty of time to explore the spectacular forts, which are fun for kids and adults: El Morro and San Cristóbal. You can easily spend 2-3 hours in each one. If the timing of your flights allows it, you could also space it out by seeing one fort on the way to or from the airport.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:30 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

My two part series on vacationing in Puerto Rico - we were just there December 2015. Not specific to young kids as mine were both college aged.

San Juan
Rincon/West Coast

And also, driving in Puerto Rico.
posted by COD at 10:09 AM on June 21, 2016

Arecibo Observatory for sure.
posted by JimN2TAW at 10:16 AM on June 21, 2016

We stayed in Fajardo, which isn't far from you.(Also has a Ralph's and a Wal-Mart to stock your kitchen.) There's a children's playground near the water at the town centre. Our 4yo loved it. Also there are rocks to play on at the water's edge. We did the bioluminescent bay tour, and he loved it, even though it was a pretty late night for him.

We also did a hike to a waterfall in el yunque which was great.

We went to Arecibo and did the radio telescope tour, but better for the little one was the Lighthouse. There's a kids playground with a big pirate ship to climb around on, and a small amusement park with bumper boats and a few other things to do. The drive to Arecibo, the radio telescope and the lighhouse would be a full day.

We thought the Scenic Caves would be a good thing to do. We arrived and a giant school trip was there, and it was just a disaster. Long lines, and no staff, and herds of barely supervised kids running everywhere. We heard good things about it, but we bailed and got a refund because there didn't seem to be a prospect of getting in.

We went back this year and spent a day in the old city in San Juan. Our little guy loved the Castillo. Lots of little passages and features to explore.

This year, we spent most of the week on Vieques, but I don't think it's worth a daytrip for you, unless you want to take the 20 minute flight. We flew from San Juan, about 30 minutes and it was a highlight because it's a tiny plane and there's lots to see from the low altitude flight. If you go, maybe cab it down to Esperanza, go to the beach, and eat at the seaside restaurants. But it's a busy day trip, and there's lots to do on the main island.

We did Fin Time snorkeling adventures on Vieques which was perfect for our now 5 year old this year. We were on the boat with 2 other families. We did a practice session just off the pier, an adults only swim over a reef, and then went to a quiet bay, where we ate lunch and snorkeled in really easy conditions over some coral with fish to see. They had life jackets, and all the equipment in a couple of sizes for kids. The adults only swim was guided and challenging for us. They had enough staff to keep a close eye on the kids in the boat. A+ experience for all 3 of us. They leave from a pier not far from the airport, so it's a plausible fly-in, half day snorkel tour, fly out, though it seems an expensive way to do it. But it would be a really memorable day.

We spent a day at seven seas beach near Fajardo, which was a good beach day. Palm trees near the water for shade. We ate 3 times at El Bohio Restaurant in Fajardo, which is about a 7 minute walk from the town centre on the water. Family run restaurant, where they serve cold beer and whatever they pulled out of the ocean that day. Very kid friendly.
posted by thenormshow at 1:03 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

serelliya's blog links above are spot on in their advice. We did most of what she recommends.
posted by thenormshow at 1:09 PM on June 22, 2016

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