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  1. #1
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    Vacation to Puerto Rico

    Has anyone traveled to Puerto Rico before? Specifically, San Juan? If you have, how was your experience?
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  2. #2
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    Only as a stopover for a cruise. Some pretty shady areas but Old San Juan was cool.
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    13 Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimscafs25 View Post
    Has anyone traveled to Puerto Rico before? Specifically, San Juan? If you have, how was your experience?
    Old San Juan is enjoyable to walk around, a lot of art good food and old world cobblestones buildings and forts. The rest of San Juan is a third world ****hole. Garbage littered everywhere, the island resembles a garbage dump. Rusted Shanty houses and ruined infrastructure as far as the eye can see. Every residential house surrounded by large iron fences some with barb wire at the top. Visit the neighborhoods off the main roads and everyone uses their yards are a garbage dump, old mattresses TVs bags of garbage parts of cars. The attitude there is to elect politicians that will give them money from federal dollars so they can do nothing. Just ask people they will tell you with a serious face that only the dumb people work. The majority prefer to live in squalor on federal welfare... Which oddly enough they don't pay into.

    If you find stores like Walgreens and other chains you see back at home don't expect the same product or anything remotely close. Most of the food sold here is not fit for human consumption and is primarily pork added into beef. There are some good spots for food but they are hard to find.

    Get used to people not using blinkers, only the tourists use them... Or follow basic road rules for that matter. Road markers are listed in miles, speed limits in kilometers and gas sold by the liter. GPS doesn't keep signals that well if you are traveling around the island it will wander. Everything takes 3-4x longer in Puerto Rico and is pretty disorganized. If you plan on taking the ferry to the famous flamenco beach be prepared to wake up around '6am and wait in line for 3 hours and then you still may or may not get on the ferry depending on how many locals or people that paid the cartels through the taxi company to save tickets (which you can't do through the ferry company, unless your connected) the western side of the island is much more peaceful and not as crime ridden. The island is filled with wild dogs, Probably just as many dog as people. They have a beach named dead dog beach, self explanatory.

    It's a decent spot if you are into embracing Latin slum culture or if you are going to some large resort and just traveling to some selected enjoyable areas and reefs but don't expect it to be anything like Hawaii. The people on this island don't give a crap about it and it shows..

    Don't bother doing the night kayak over the bioluminescent bay unless your staying on island of vieques as the bio bay has been destroyed, though they will still take your money to show you 1/100th the glow it used to have. There are some great catamaran trips you can take to uninhibited islands around Puerto Rico with clear turquoise water and mostly alive reefs. If you are into snorkeling.

    Not the type of island to walk around at night, unless your in the old San Juan area while stuff still open and police are on every third corner. I've been to 15 tropical islands so far and Puerto Rico was the only one I couldn't wait to leave. Everything there frustrated or pissed me off.

    Oh and if you go to old San Juan to walk around there is a very large building in the shape of a horse shoe 3 stories there is a Spanish place called Louis something or other that sells coffee. Best coffee I've had EVER! Worth looking for it, you will have to find the building first it's near the customs house that's across the road from the massive fort.
    Last edited by TheCardiak; 07-27-2014 at 07:29 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Ok, i've heard PR wasn't very nice, but i never heard anyone eviscerate the place like the cardiak just did. Daaaaaamn.
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  5. #5
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    Yeah, have heard it's a lot like Jamaica. Some beautiful areas and all of them are very touristy. People are routinely led yo believe they can venture off the beaten path and see some natural beauty in other less traveled places. And they get robbed, kidnapped, or raped, and/or killed.

    If you go stay in the touristy areas.

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    **** hole is generous.

  7. #7
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    Old San Juan is a cool place to visit and there are good places to eat/hang out. Outside of that, Cardiak is on point. There are a few good places for rainforest tours but in general, PR isn't a place I'd spend more than a few days visiting. Vieques is a very nice, tranquil island, maybe consider looking at that if you are looking for an island getaway.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCardiak View Post
    Old San Juan is enjoyable to walk around, a lot of art good food and old world cobblestones buildings and forts. The rest of San Juan is a third world ****hole. Garbage littered everywhere, the island resembles a garbage dump. Rusted Shanty houses and ruined infrastructure as far as the eye can see. Every residential house surrounded by large iron fences some with barb wire at the top. Visit the neighborhoods off the main roads and everyone uses their yards are a garbage dump, old mattresses TVs bags of garbage parts of cars. The attitude there is to elect politicians that will give them money from federal dollars so they can do nothing. Just ask people they will tell you with a serious face that only the dumb people work. The majority prefer to live in squalor on federal welfare... Which oddly enough they don't pay into.

    If you find stores like Walgreens and other chains you see back at home don't expect the same product or anything remotely close. Most of the food sold here is not fit for human consumption and is primarily pork added into beef. There are some good spots for food but they are hard to find.

    Get used to people not using blinkers, only the tourists use them... Or follow basic road rules for that matter. Road markers are listed in miles, speed limits in kilometers and gas sold by the liter. GPS doesn't keep signals that well if you are traveling around the island it will wander. Everything takes 3-4x longer in Puerto Rico and is pretty disorganized. If you plan on taking the ferry to the famous flamenco beach be prepared to wake up around '6am and wait in line for 3 hours and then you still may or may not get on the ferry depending on how many locals or people that paid the cartels through the taxi company to save tickets (which you can't do through the ferry company, unless your connected) the western side of the island is much more peaceful and not as crime ridden. The island is filled with wild dogs, Probably just as many dog as people. They have a beach named dead dog beach, self explanatory.

    It's a decent spot if you are into embracing Latin slum culture or if you are going to some large resort and just traveling to some selected enjoyable areas and reefs but don't expect it to be anything like Hawaii. The people on this island don't give a crap about it and it shows..

    Don't bother doing the night kayak over the bioluminescent bay unless your staying on island of vieques as the bio bay has been destroyed, though they will still take your money to show you 1/100th the glow it used to have. There are some great catamaran trips you can take to uninhibited islands around Puerto Rico with clear turquoise water and mostly alive reefs. If you are into snorkeling.

    Not the type of island to walk around at night, unless your in the old San Juan area while stuff still open and police are on every third corner. I've been to 15 tropical islands so far and Puerto Rico was the only one I couldn't wait to leave. Everything there frustrated or pissed me off.

    Oh and if you go to old San Juan to walk around there is a very large building in the shape of a horse shoe 3 stories there is a Spanish place called Louis something or other that sells coffee. Best coffee I've had EVER! Worth looking for it, you will have to find the building first it's near the customs house that's across the road from the massive fort.
    I've been there four times, and have seen pretty much the whole island, including Culebra and Vieques.

    Things I agree with.

    PR is a frustrating place to be. The people in general aren't all that bright, and give awful directions. Don't even think of driving. There are signs until you really need one, then there are no signs. GPS doesn't work well here at all either. The drivers are terrible, I never went more than 5 minutes without seeing something completely retarded happening on the road. You'll actually think you've gotten beyond it for a while, being on the highway with some nice space and pretty scenery then right as you get comfortable, BOOM, there's somebody going 20mph right in the middle of the highway, then you get all tense again.

    I'd disagree with a lot of things though. As third world as it can be, no tourist is going to go to the crap areas anyway, so it's irrelevant. I had to because of work, and getting lost, which as I alluded to before is going to happen a lot no matter what. Even still, I never felt like I was in any danger anyway. Puerto Ricans are very nice and easy going in their own country, I don't know what happens to them when they move to the States, but they're some fine people over there. San Juan is really nice, and has a lot of other areas beyond old town like the harbor, Isla Verde, and Carolina which are very nice too. Hotel El Convento gets flack from the locals for being touristy, but it's an absolute stunner, and very affordable for what it is if you're staying in Old Town.

    The food is great. Mofongo probably put 10 pounds on me by itself, but get it every chance you can. They also have some more unique fishes like Trunkfish that are really good too. If you can find lechon anywhere, GET IT. They do give you a pointless and bland green salad with everything you order though, not sure why. The main beers out there, Medalla, Presidente, and Carib are all very good and refreshing, Medalla being the one that is actually from there. Don Q rum is their thing, and is above average.

    The beaches, regardless of where you might be on the island are anywhere from good to outstanding.

    I liked Vieques a lot. If you spend a few days there, you pretty much get to know everybody. If you go there, spend most of your time on the south side of the island, the north is a little sketchy and doesn't offer a lot. I thought the bio bay there was great, I don't know what it looked like before, but I had a great time seeing something very unique. FWIW, there's also one on the SW side of the main island which SUCKS, that may have been the one Cardiak was talking about actually. That one IS a ripoff as it's green instead of blue, and not very bright as all. Tough to get to as well, I almost ran out of gas in the middle of the boons looking for it. Again, no signs anywhere, you have to just get lucky.

    The inland mountain areas are very hit/miss. Not worth the gamble. In Cidra for example, I found this gorgeous mountain lake, but was told that they had just discovered alligators there, and I shouldn't go in (WTF??).

    So I would do San Juan, Vieques, and maybe Ponce if you're into architecture, and can tell the difference between the buildings there and in San Juan (I could not until I ran into this American guy who could and pointed them out). Rincon is freaking great, but on the west side, and the only thing over there worth going to. But do not drive. Buck up for the puddle jumpers and avoid any accepted misery that going cheap will do to you.
    Last edited by Bayonett; 07-28-2014 at 12:31 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Save some money and visit Philly, Right around 5th and Luzerne, North of W Sedgley Ave., south of W Hunting Park Ave. and down Rising Sun Ave (the Golden Mile).
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edonidd View Post

    led yo believe they can venture off the beaten path and see some natural beauty in other less traveled places. And they get robbed, kidnapped, or raped, and/or killed.
    Other than that, how is it?

  11. #11
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    One of my best friends designed this place:

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  12. #12
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    If you're going to travel there, be aware of some newfound outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases in Puerto Rico. I just heard about this from the lady that cuts my hair, who is from there. Dengue, Chagas, and another type of fever that reminds me of Lyme Disease the way she was describing it. She passed on visiting there this summer, and said she was glad she did because of this. Not sure how much of a problem it is over there right now, but do your research. It has made recent headlines.
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  13. #13
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    Lots of silliness above, ignore for the most part.

    I've been several times in the past few years, stayed in Old San Juan, Condado and Isla Verde. Never felt remotely unsafe while exploring at night with the GF. Certainly there are unsafe/shanty areas, just as there are in pretty much every major metropolitan center on the planet. A few recommendations.

    Isla Verde: The Water Beach Club is a rooftop bar/tapas restaurant that makes fantastic drinks, has good food and a great view of the beach. Highly recommend. La Playita is a great restaurant with tables overlooking the ocean. Good food, fairly romantic setting if you're bringing a lady friend. There's a Walgreens down the street where you can load up on booze if you're staying at a resort. $10 for a bottle of rum beats paying $15 for a single rum and coke at the Ritz/Hilton etc. Nightlife: Not sure of your age but if your younger on the weekends El San Juan resort has a great atmosphere and night club. Also a small casino.

    Condado: Spent the least amount of time here. Beaches are all great. There's beach on the other side of the lagoon is very tranquil. For food I'd highly recommend Jose Enrique's. It's one of PR's hippest restaurants, and they don't take reservations, so go early. For nightlife there are a million bars along the main drag.

    Old San Juan: Beautiful walking town. I'd recommend either staying at Da House or looking into AirBnB which is what I used on my last visit a few months ago. Specifically stayed in a place overlooking the governors mansion and the bay for under $100 a night, great deal. Mesa Verde is a great seafood/vegetarian oriented restaurant. If you're a beer guy at all you absolutely have to visit La Taberna Lupulo. It's the only great craft beer place I've found in Puerto Rico, but it is killer. After a few days of drinking Medalla I would've killed several locals for a good IPA, and this place delivers. For touristy events most people check out the two forts San Cristobal and el Morro, also a cheap ferry to take a tour of the Bacardi factory.

    Outside San Juan as others have mentioned there's the bio-bay. Most places will arrange for the transportation to Fajardo, I probably wouldn't drive it myself, the locals are a little crazy. Although I've found adherence to driving laws tends to be pretty poor outside of the US no matter the country. If you're feeling adventurous I'd recommend Las Tinajas. It's essentially a river in the rainforest. You walk up the trail until the water gets deep and you can jump off various size cliffs into the water. One of my most memorable moments.

    People are on island time, things most definitely move slower. I let it slide for the most part, it's vacation after all. If you have any other inquiries feel free to PM me. Hope you enjoy your trip.
    Last edited by Freedom298; 07-30-2014 at 03:24 AM.

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