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Old 01-11-2006, 09:43 AM   #1
Slice OP
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Puerto Rico, anyone?

My wife and I are thinking of laying over in PR for three/four days on the way to some other islands. I'm thinking it might be nice to rent scooters, possibly bikes.

Anybody know the area, and have rental suggestions and where to ride? I figure if I get local advice I'm in better shape than goping in green.

While I'm at it, are there any hostels (or other cheap digs) on the island we can check out?
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Old 01-11-2006, 11:21 AM   #2
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Rent a car, go swimming

I spent a signifiant amout of time in PR and I recommend you rent a car. The drivers are agressive and much smarter than american drivers! They often see no reason for waiting for a green light if no cars are comming and left or right turn on red saves time! We grigo's just sit and waste gas!!! I love Puerto Rico and the people are wonderful, "my casa, u casa", but they are happy, care free and party alot even while driving... so did I... so traveling on a motorcycle can be bit more dangerous than state side. You can rent scooter, but the rain forest mountains are steep, twisted and very beautiful and the scooter is too weak for the trip, you will end up walking. STEEP HILLS, FAST CARS, VERY NARROW ROADS, TURNS, TURNS, TURNS

Allow me to recommend you rent a car tour the mountains, and when your back in the hills stop at small stands, buy fresh fruit visit towns, caves forest and beaches.. Then call Captain Greg (San Juan) and book a trip on the "Fun Cat" for some snorkeling fun (The boat is iin Farjado, not far from the Rain Forest)
Tell Captain Greg "HI"... he is way cool.
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:16 PM   #3
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Awesome. That's the stuff I'm hoping to hear. Capton Greg sounds worth a look see. And I'm freekin' all over the idea of snorkeling, having spent mondo hours in the ocean.

Let's keep this thread moving along, and perhaps we can have a nice little archive of Puerto Rico at advrider.
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:22 PM   #4
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Haven't been there, but I understand that if you want laid back and way cool beaches (not many people) and good snorkeling then head to Culebra. It is an out island of PR.
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Old 01-13-2006, 03:34 PM   #5
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Ditto the comment on renting a car. I also worked in PR and I would not advise anyone to bike on the Island.
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Old 01-16-2006, 05:49 PM   #6
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I agree with caging it on the island. my wife is a native, and so I have done a lot of driving around. Just for the info though, the Ducati dealer, Ducati de Puerto Rico rent multi-strada and monsters rents daily or watever is neededhey should have a site on the net. Located in Corlina puerto rico at the Dollar rent a car. about 3 minutes from the airport.
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:19 PM   #7
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Gosh. When you describe steep hills, and turns, turns, turns, I think...




...motorcycle.



However, I'm gonna be with my wife who, although a rider, is not as skilled. So I'm hearing you guys. A car sounds saner.

What about public transport?

At the moment we're thinking of staying in San Juan, to take advantage of the food/nightlife/Old Town, etc. Do any of you know a good, but cheap, place to stay in San Juan? I hear the beach there is nice. Can you camp on it, or is it too busy? Are there any hostels anyone can recommend?
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Old 01-17-2006, 03:16 PM   #8
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Thumb

avoid the taxis, get an explorer or something, Just my experience when I go to visit the inlaws who live in Carolina, a suburb of San Juan. Also- the beach at Luquillo, east of san Juan and carolina, and Boqueron, on the southwest corner are the best beaches by far, you have to pay a few bucks to get in if they are open, if thy are closed just park down the street and walk in, the closed part is the secure parking, not the beach. For Food, all seafood is good, in Old San Juan there is a great hamburger place called
"El Hamburger" small open air place that has a great ocean view. It is on the main road into old San Juan on the left as you go towards the old forts on the island, the tourism office will know where it is, or a local at the hotel. Also try tostones, and plantanos maduros, they are a great fried plantain, wonderful flavor. If you drive to the barcardi factory on your own it is free to tour and you get free drinks(seriously) if you buy a tour from the hotel or someone in town, it all goes in there pocket, and it is not to bad to get there. If for some strange reason you need to go to a mall, Plaza Las America has the best stuff, and the most parking. If you go to old San Juan, find a good place to park down by the customs house(It is on the map) and then walk everywhere, much better than trying to parallel park up in the actual old city. and there is a great walk of the princess, that goes around the base of the old fortrss walls of San Juan- very beautiful. well enough info, let me know what you decide and I can get you more info. It is a nice place to visit.
Sam
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Old 01-17-2006, 04:44 PM   #9
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Yelostn78— Thanks for the info! And please don't hesitate to add more. I'm saving all of this for the trip. And I'm sucking it all up like a giant seasponge. More insider info will only help the cause.

By the way, I noticed "swagelok" in your profile. Are you a blacksmith, perchance?
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Old 01-17-2006, 05:16 PM   #10
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Not a Blacksmith, but I did stay in a holiday Inn Expres last. . . Actually, my Great Gandfather had a machine and Blacksmith shop after he retired. But I just deal with valves and tubing and stuff. As for Puerto Rico, Lots to tell.
Have you picked out a hotel yet? I can recommend the hotels in Condado or Isla Verde, these two area are resort type areas, so all the touristy stuff close, but if you rent the cage, you can get all over the place quite easily. If you want a classic place to stay check out the Normandie, it is in old San Juan on the same road As Hamburger, just at the entrance to the Island that Old San Juan resides on. If you want a nice place, in the resort area, without blowing the wallet on a resort room, there is a hampton in just across the street(It is where the family all stayed when the Mrs and I got hitched 6 years ago. I still recommend it, the grill at the hampton in has the second best hamburgers and the best hot dogs on the island for pool/bar food. (Next to Hamburger in old San Juan) The interstate that goes around the island is a toll road, you will take it for the two beaches I mentioned. They go through a bunch of different towns and take you buy all the cool stuff to stop and visit around the island. Th big satelite dish from goldeneye, the largest in the world, is about and hour east of san juan, it is on the map, at Camuy there are some really cool caverns to tour- but don't bother going if it is raining or has recently rained, because the rain water also likes to tour the caves. Cabo Rojo is where the Wife's grand parents live, nice little town, (close to Boqueron) beautiful Church there. Great seafood places, the beach there has very warm water(caribbean side of the island, crystal clear blue water, great seafood places all over this area, better than the atlantic side. From here if you go east towards Ponce there are lotsof banana plantations and such things, one of my favorite drives, there is a great old(1899) fire station in Ponce( and a good holiday Inn if you decide to make it a couple day trip around the island.) Roosevelt Roads further east and that side is nice, but to be honest have not spent as much time over there. Island is pretty, traffic is very aggressive, VERY AGGRESSIVE!. So just drive like beyond thunderdome, almost everyone knows some english, even if they say they don't, just try to speak spanish and that generally breaks the ice, also if food type questions ask wht is there fav type and they really like that. Everything is on the US dollar, take the passport just in case, They are supposed to make it mandatory soon, because of the flight over international waters, and not sharing a border with any other part of the US. When in old San Juan(viejo San Juan) if you see some trinket or shirt that you have to have, shop around, a lot of the sotres have the same stuff. Most of this is common knowledge, but I like to pass it on just in case. Have a great time, PM if you have any questions, especially while you are there, all the hotels have a computer you can use for internet access. Have a good one.
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:54 PM   #11
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Puerto Rico? I can make my first AR post an informed one.

I lived in Puerto Rico as a youth. At the very center of the island are the mountains and the El Yunque rain forest. T the road to the top is narrow (cars honk at every turn - to say "blind turn" would be redundant- to avoid an accident with oncoming traffic). Unless the road has been widened recently, there are only 1 1/2 lanes...no - not in each direction - in total ! Having warned you, now let me tempt you. Views of the ocean and jungle like none other in the country . Lush, expansive and...watch out ! ...another hairpin curve. Keep your eyes on the road. Included in the views will be the largest dish antenna in the world ( a MASSIVE concrete bowl placed into the dense green jungle in an extraterrestrial manner... one primary purpose of this antenna is to scan the universe for ???...it is the prime SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Life) satellite in the world ). Rent the movie "Contact" for a great view of the dish and some of the El Yuenque area.(Personally, the view is better than the movie). It would be a "challenging" bike ride to the top of the mountains, and not to be tried with mini-scooters which lack the HP for the steep ascent. It will take about 45 minutes to reach the top...getting down can take seconds. The road is super-twisty, narrow and with steep drop-offs at practically every point. Tempting enough for you? Ask the locals before scheduling this trip, as it has been many years since I was there and things may have changed...for better or worse!

The other tips people are giving you are all good. Ponce on the south-central coast is the historical cultural capitol of the country (San Juan was the military and trade capitol). The fire station (Plaza de Bombas) referenced in the previous post is a must see. The design and COLORS are truly inspired...possibly by LSD. But the use of outrageous colors in architectural design is a theme (competition?) throughout large areas of Ponce. The beaches there are, unfortunately, negatively impacted by the tides (murky water, muddy bottom, riptides). Go to Ponce for the museums/ architecture/ primitive crafts...swim and snorkel elsewhere!

Dining? The Puerto Rican national dish is as much a event as it is a meal. A Lechon is a whole pig cooked over coals on a spit ( kinda like luau meets ole'). It takes all day to cook. Honestly, the quality of taste varies...but the party is a constant . Give it a shot if you have a chance to attend a Lechon roast.

I'm sure you will have a great time. Let us know how it goes. Vaya con Dios amigo !!!

P.S. I notice from previous posts that you are from N.C. I am riding down to your neck of the woods on a solo trip from Springfield, Illinois this July. Maybe you can share a tip or two with me about a part of the country I've never been to ?
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Old 02-02-2006, 02:11 PM   #12
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I used to travel to Puerto Rico for work. I stayed in the El San Juan and Ritz-Carlton. Depending on your personality, you might not be comfortable in the Ritz. I like wearing t-shirts and shorts. That is not exactly normal for either of those establishments. I felt somewhat out of place due to the stuffy atmosphere. However, both are excellent hotels. The El San Juan feels like an old 50's movie about Rio or Havana. Very colonial feel.

As long as you avoid the traffic jams such as going into San Juan from the west during morning rush hour, I wouldn't worry about riding a bike. It was my experience that drivers calmed down the further from San Juan you got.

I spent a good deal of time on the west side of the island in Mayaguez. I stayed in Rincon. Very nice. Very laid back. Beaches are nice. So are the beaches on Isla Verde.

Crime is kinda nasty in parts of Puerto Rico. I would try to avoid those places at night and during the day. The touristy areas are safe all the time, at least I felt safe. You have to visit old San Juan. Its something you just can't miss.

A few pointers: NEVER get in a discussion about Vieques Island or Roosevelt Roads Naval station. Maybe it has calmed down since I was there last but that was a HUGE issue. I didn't even have an opinion on it and I was jumped on for not having one, let alone supporting the islanders.

Gas is dispensed by liter, not gallon. Remember that when you look at the sign.

I love Puerto Rico. I mean LOVE Puerto Rico.
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:56 AM   #13
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Bump

Just wanted to bump this one to the top.
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Old 12-30-2007, 01:37 PM   #14
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don't get caught in La Perla, a very bad ghetto near san juan. i was walking on the beach with my girlfriend and did not realize i had strayed into La Perla because i was on the beach. we narrowly escaped an ambush by 6-8 guys who were posted throughout the trees along the high tide line. my whole family still lives in PR and i love it there. try culebra island for a real slow paced puerto rican experience.
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Old 12-30-2007, 08:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmrdad
My wife and I are thinking of laying over in PR for three/four days on the way to some other islands. I'm thinking it might be nice to rent scooters, possibly bikes.

Anybody know the area, and have rental suggestions and where to ride? I figure if I get local advice I'm in better shape than goping in green.

While I'm at it, are there any hostels (or other cheap digs) on the island we can check out?
Born there & driven there many times. Don't recommend a scoot or mc. Beautiful country, but do it in a car.

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