Stressed out, overworked parents need a place to stay in Puerto Rico
January 27, 2017 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Mid-March my husband and I are going on our first real vacation - no kids, no sleeping on friends/relatives pullout couches, no driving 12 hours, no camping in a hay field watching music for days...We need some R&R that involves warm pools, nice beaches, and a cozy place to read a good book.

We have tickets to Puerto Rico for mid-March (spring break FYI) and need to find a nice relaxing place off the beaten path that will help us feel human again. We were thinking about Culebra but realized the extra logistics of getting there were causing more stress. Where can we stay on the main island that has the above, plus maybe some hiking/ bird watching. Bonus points if it is far from a casino - even more bonus points if it is surrounded by places for locals rather than tourists.
posted by a22lamia to Travel & Transportation around Puerto Rico (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I went to Culebra and the logistics were not that tough -- just a short (exciting!) plane ride. But the hotels there are a little rustic and you'd likely have to rent a jeep to get around the island. However it is definitely more full of locals (including Puerto Ricans on vacation) than other spots.
posted by yarly at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2017

Cape Air can be booked through the GDS and when we went to Vieques for our honeymoon JetBlue was (eventually) able to tag our luggage for our final destination. W Vieques has a really high resort fee you can't get out of, but it's very calming there. They have a lounge at the airport and their own shuttle, so logistics are not a problem.

For the best beaches on Vieques, though, I'd recommend renting a Jeep and driving to the federal lands on the Caribbean side of the island. The beach turnouts are all numbered; our favorite was Silver/Orchid beach, turnout 27.
posted by fedward at 12:37 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have heard truly wondrous things about Culebra as well.
posted by radicalawyer at 1:05 PM on January 27, 2017

Another option is to rent a car and make the 2.5 hour drive to Rincon on the west coast. Many of the locals there are ex-pats from the US. It's kind of a laid back surfer town like what you'd see in a movie about CA in the 60s. No chain hotels, only a couple of fast food restaurants and every thing else is local. More on Rincon, from my trip there last year.
posted by COD at 5:06 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am from Puerto Rico. Culebra is amazing and worth the effort, but if the extra logistics are causing stress I would recommend Rincón. Not much hiking, but it's a great place to unwind.

If a resort works for you, the Copamarina in Guanica is one of my favorites. Make sure to take their ferry to Guilligan's Island.

The San Juan area has a lot of stuff to do, but it's not exactly relaxing. But it might be worth it to spend a day or two there, since it's close to the El Yunque rainforest and you can hike and birdwatch to your hearts content :)
posted by DrGirlfriend at 8:57 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fajardo is a pretty little beach town close to San Juan and El Yunque. If you want to hike and birdwatch, go to El Yunque. It's amazing! Fajardo is also the departure point for the ferry to Culebra, and it's not a terrible day trip to take the ferry to go snorkeling on Culebra and then come back to the (more developed and comfy) Fajardo. Accommodations in or near Fajardo range from resort to hostel and everything in between.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:09 AM on January 28, 2017

It's been a decade or so since I've been to Puerto Rico, but I was always very taken with Isabela. The beaches were breathtaking, the little tiki hut bars on the cliffs above were very inviting, and there are nice things to do and see within a short drive. Wherever you decide to go, check out the paradores for a place to stay; they are very nice non-resort hotels, locally-owned, and generally off the beaten track.
posted by DrGail at 4:17 PM on January 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Rincon would be great for you if you can handle a 2-3 hour drive. The roads are fine and it's just like driving in America, but advanced level. It's a little bit Gringolandia, but it's also very local and so calm. Lovely beaches. You can certainly do some walking. is a mainstay for finding hikes and little off-the-beaten path stuff.

Isabela is meh, there's not a ton in the town.

Vieques is fabulous, but I haven't been to Culebra. You can fly to either from SJU, but yes, you will need a car on either island.
posted by quadrilaterals at 4:47 PM on January 29, 2017

Copamarina ++
posted by Ms Vegetable at 2:59 PM on February 1, 2017

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