Topic Wiki

Info for the jewish traveler
http://www.chabadpr.com/


Hotels   (feel free to add suggestions)
   Before booking any hotel check the Chabad website they have very good rates for the popular hotels that are close to them

   Ritz Carlton

   http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/SanJuan/Default.htm
        DDF'r Hotel Review
        http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=7995.msg462832#msg462832
   St. Regis
   http://www.stregisbahiabeach.com/
       DDF'r Hotel Review
       http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=7995.msg161581#msg161581
   El San Juan
   http://www.elsanjuanhotel.com/default-en.html
   Gran Melia
   http://www.melia.com/en/hotels/puerto-rico/coco-beach/gran-melia-puerto-rico-golf-resort/index.html
         DDF'r Hotel Review
         http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=7995.msg927319#msg927319


Preferred Car Rental
   http://www.chabadpr.com/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/2370163/jewish/Charlie-Car-Rental.htm


Kosher food
  Old San Juan
   Kosher in Paradise, Israeli style. With panini, falafel and more.  They can deliver to your hotel for a fee
   261 Fortaleza Street.
   787-244-3399
   Chabad (next to The Ritz and El San Juan)
   http://shop.chabadpr.com/   (please someone add info regarding this)


Things to do

   Bioluminescent Bay
   http://www.pureadventurepr.com/adventure_trips/bio_bay_lagoon_tour_excursion/
 
   El Yunque rainforest
   http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g147324-d1448148-Reviews-The_El_Yunque_Rain_Forest-El_Yunque_National_Forest_Puerto_Rico.html

   ATV/Horseback Riding
   http://www.carabalirainforestpark.com/atv.php

   Casa Bacardi Distillery Tour- Rum Factory
   http://www.casabacardi.org/

   Explore Old San Juan-
   Castillo de San Cristobal- Old Forts in Old San Juan

   http://www.nps.gov/saju/index.htm

   Vieques and Culebra
    2 small islands with fabulous beaches that, IMHO are more interesting than the main island. (and Vieques has its own biobay)

  Mini Boat Adventure
  http://www.kayakingpuertorico.com/pages/island_hop_snorkel.html


Trip Reports:

   http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=7995.msg651144#msg651144

   http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=7995.msg1063469#msg1063469

Author Topic: Puerto Rico Master Thread  (Read 117655 times)

Offline MEIR613

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #135 on: October 10, 2013, 08:52:21 PM »
Round two.

As I needed to be in Baltimore Monday night and back for Shabbos, I decided to take my first vacation with our 2 month old. We wanted to go somewhere short and direct. As I've been to Florida many times I wanted something more exotic. I checked Southwest website and found direct flights from BWI to SJU.

The cost of the ticket was about 14,000 Southwest miles per a person and since PR is part of the US, a lap child is free. Also, Southwest allows you 2 free suitcases, but we only ended up taking one each.
,
As far as the hotel was concerned, I looked around and it seemed that most people stay the Ritz. The Ritz is right near the airport and  Chabad. Since we were travelling with our baby, I wanted to stay some where real nice. As we weren't really going to leave the hotel that much. So even though the Ritz was a better location and was only $200 a night plus taxes, I still wanted to stay at the St Regis as the grounds were a lot nice, it would be more relaxing and a lot better chance of getting upgraded. I don't remember the exact cost, but with the AAA rate, double take promo, 500 points booking with SPG app and all the SPG points I would be earning during my stay (including valet parking and $60 resort fee) the total price came out to around $350 a night which is a bargain compared to the 30k they charge a night not including parking and resort fee. Trust me, it was worth every penny. I'm sure there a lot nicer hotel out there, but for only traveling 4 hours away, I don't think you can beat it (CMIAAW). I will try to give more detail about the hotel later.

We had a 8:00am flight, departing from BWI, so we decided to stay at the Aloft near BWI for 2,000 Starwood points plus $40. I decided since I wouldn't have to pay for parking and I would get stay credit etc. it was worth it. We didn't end up checking into the hotel till 1am and needed to get up at 5am, to daven etc. Since it was our first time flying with our daughter, I wanted to be at the airport extra early. The airport shuttle comes around the hotel every minutes and I believe we ended up leaving the hotel 6am with the hotel shuttle.

The night before I freaked out, as I thought we left our daughters birth certificate at home, till my wife realized it was buried in her wallet. I called up Southwest and they told me all I need is some type of document with her birth day and I will be fine. I ended up giving them the copy of her birth certificate (which they asked for), but not sure if I needed it. On the way back, I gave them her insurance card with her birthday on it, which they told me they need the birth certificate. So I'm not completely sure (CMIAAW), but when going to PR I would suggest taking your kids birth certificate.

Check in and security went as smooth as possible, as the UBV is breeze to take apart and put through the X-ray machine. With plenty of time to kill we sat around by the gate, as the lounge is in a different terminal, we has no patience to start schlepping around. We bought some Bagels from Goldbergs New York Bagel shop the day before (my favorite bagel store), which were amazing (as usual).

Southwest doesn't work like most airlines, where each person is assigned a seat. They divide everyone into 3 groups "A", "B", and "C". You are able to check-in online 24 hours before your flight and they start putting you in group "A" and once "A" is full then "B" etc. So Even though we were in group "C", meaning the last group that boards. Since we have a child under the age of 4 we got to board right after group "A". Since it was a full flight they made us gate check our car seat, which we brought up till the plane. Surprising, the first 2 seats (bulkhead) were empty, which the extra leg room helped having a lap child. All in all the flight was a lot better than I and my wife thought it would be. Our daughter only cried for a minute or two during the whole flight (that's what happen when you hold her the whole time). 

To be continued...
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 09:46:40 PM by MEIR613 »

Offline Aaaron

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #136 on: October 10, 2013, 09:11:26 PM »
I was waiting for your TR, Meir :)

Offline myb821

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #137 on: October 10, 2013, 09:13:38 PM »
the ritz with spg color me confused

Offline Ergel

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #138 on: October 10, 2013, 09:37:14 PM »
the ritz with spg color me confused
+ a million
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline MEIR613

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #139 on: October 10, 2013, 09:54:43 PM »
the ritz with spg color me confused
Fixed it.

Let me know if I should still touch it up.

Sorry, I'm not the best writer in town.


Offline jmoski

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #140 on: October 27, 2013, 08:13:21 PM »
can anyone compare the ritz, caribe hilton, and intercontinental in regards to vacation with toddler. playgrounds, beach, toddler pool etc. staying a few days at el conquistador, but planning on switching hotels mid - vacation. thanks in advance

Offline sky121

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #141 on: November 05, 2013, 03:34:12 PM »
Round two.


To be continued...

Anytime.. :)
"Not all who wander are lost"

Offline alpicone

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #142 on: November 05, 2013, 05:04:47 PM »
Let me know how the EL is.  I've heard reports ranging from horrible to excellent.  It looks like we're going to stay at the Embassy Suites, as of now.

The El San Juan was OK. We had a decent experience (unlike the horrible reviews online) but would not recommend the hotel especially if staying with young kids.

The hotel is basically a large club which is nice if you want to party but not so great it you are there with kids on a family vacation. A lot of people complain about the staff and the noise. I was pleasantly surprised by most of the staff who were very nice and helpful. We were on the 7th floor so we didn't have an issue with loud music but I was woken up at 4am one night from people the the hallway on the way back from their room. Other people that I met in the lobby were complaining to me about the noise but I guess I was too tired to hear most of it.

We were upgraded to a Jr Suite which was very spacious for 2 adults and 2 kids even with a roll-away and crib. My biggest complaint was that the room was not cleaned well. Didn't bother me much but my wife wasn't happy. The also said that the room doesn't come with a fridge(even though the website says it does) and wanted to charge me $26/day for the fridge. They sent it and never charged for it so I didn't have to fight that one. They must have charged someone else as I was charged over $100 for charges that weren't mine. They took it off when I went to the front desk but it was still annoying.

The pool and grounds were nice overall and we had a good time but would not recommend the hotel.

I picked this hotel over the Ritz because it was $50 less per night with the Chabad rates but if I were to go to PR again (which I probably won't) I would stay at the Ritz.

Offline daveb

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #143 on: November 10, 2013, 03:08:32 PM »
hi  does anyone  know the hashgacha status of  the restaurant in san juan? I don't have any problems with any it I just dont  know anything about it.

Offline Mordyk

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #144 on: December 03, 2013, 01:32:48 PM »
Hi, im planning a san juan vacation.  i got a cyber monday marriott deal. wanted to know if anyone went with a baby. and which places are a must-see(besides the beach 8) ).  thanks!
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 01:44:00 PM by Mordyk »

Offline Aaaron

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #145 on: December 03, 2013, 04:13:26 PM »
Hi, im planning a san juan vacation.  i got a cyber monday marriott deal. wanted to know if anyone went with a baby. and which places are a must-see(besides the beach 8) ).  thanks!

My buddy went with a 1-year old a few months ago.  I have his itinerary if you'd like it.  Shoot me a PM with your email and I can send it over.  He traveled with a relative as a babysitter so they can also do non-kid-friendly activities.

Offline Dan

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #146 on: December 03, 2013, 04:21:04 PM »
Why not just post it?
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Aaaron

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #147 on: December 03, 2013, 05:19:56 PM »
I didn't want to post it because it's not the most organized.

Either way, here y'all go:

Thursday night:
8:35pm - Fly out, arrive late, rent car @Avis and unpack.

Friday:
A)   bike along the beach $39 two hours (with baby seat) (https://sites.google.com/site/rentbicycletours/)
or do the tour of the city or the boardwalk (https://sites.google.com/site/rentbicycletours/rental--tours)
B)   get ready for shabbos

Shabbos
at chabad in morning, board games, motzai shabbos – (big parties) – casino?

Sunday:
Old San Juan etc:
•   free trolley around El Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan) –
o   http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/old-san-juan-walking-tour-1/
•   walking tour of 2 castles (Castillo San Cristobal & Castillo San Felipe del Morro)
•   kite flying? and Calle Del Cristo (tourist shopping)
o   + children’s museum of Old San Juan (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g147320-d149919-Reviews-Museo_del_Nino-San_Juan_Puerto_Rico.html)
•   if bored, do Bacardi ferry?

Monday:
A.   Barefoot Travelers Kayak Tour to Monkey Island
a.   (For Dina: kid’s waterpark 1 mile away)
B.   Drive back then possibly Bacardi tour or Don Q store?
a.   http://www.casabacardi.org/content.aspx?section=welcome
i.   arrive via ferry from old san juan? http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/catano-ferry/
C.   night tour of old san juan? http://www.legendsofpr.com/nighttales.htm

Tuesday:
Driving Directions: http://goo.gl/maps/CKE1L (approx 1.25 hours)
•   El-yunque Rain forest – La Mina waterfall trail (paved) hiking (ranger tour @11am or self guided)
o   (overview: http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/el-yunque-overview/)
•   Luquillo Beach – 20 minutes away, snorkeling at beach / lunch.
o   http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g147324-d148049-Reviews-Luquillo_Beach-El_Yunque_National_Forest_Puerto_Rico.html
o   do the Balenario Monserrate (next to luqillo to the right after kiosk to the pay-parking)
•   Bio Baby Bay tour in evening http://bioislandpr.com/service_excursion.html (electric boat )

Wednesday:
Arecibo: 1.5 hour drive, Directions - http://goo.gl/maps/wkIil
A)   Arrive EARLY (at 8:30) w/ sneakers @ Rio Camuy Cave Tour (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1383492-d147952-Reviews-or10-Rio_Camuy_Cave_Park_Parque_de_las_Cavernas_del_Rio_Camuy-Arecibo_Puerto_Rico.html#REVIEWS)
(overview: http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/rio-camuy-caves-park/)
B)   Arecibo Observatory http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1383492-d147943-Reviews-Arecibo_Observatory-Arecibo_Puerto_Rico.html

Thursday:
A)   Back to Old San Juan to finish up walking tour?
B)   Beach day / rain-makeup day and /or shopping  - Plaza las Americas (bowling, movies, shopping) (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g147320-d274582-Reviews-Plaza_las_Americas-San_Juan_Puerto_Rico.html)
C)   Jetskiing for Dina… https://www.facebook.com/pages/KNO-Jet-Ski-Rental-Banana-Boat-and-Fishing-Charter/153339038033415
D)   horseback riding by the beach: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g2721197-d2658965-Reviews-Horseback_Riding_Puerto_Rico-Manati_Puerto_Rico.html

Friday: return car and flying back early in the morning.
(YAY.) (because it’s awesome)

parking in OSJ
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147320-i72-k5995689-Trick_to_parking_lots_in_OSJ-San_Juan_Puerto_Rico.html
jetskiing:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147320-i72-k6153811-Jet_ski_rental_in_Condado-San_Juan_Puerto_Rico.html
night tour?
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g147320-d584016-Reviews-Legends_of_Puerto_Rico-San_Juan_Puerto_Rico.html#REVIEWS

Offline Mordyk

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #148 on: December 03, 2013, 08:38:18 PM »
Thanx!! first time going on vacation with my 8 month old, wanted to do the most possible with a baby.  i will try to post the outcome after i finish my trip :D

Offline E-MAN

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Re: Puerto Rico Master Thread
« Reply #149 on: December 04, 2013, 11:35:37 AM »
Thanks great info!