I'm planning to take my girlfriend on the Carnival Destiny July 31st sailing, which is a charter "theme" cruise...Since my girlfriend has never been to San Juan before, and I've only flown in the night before to catch the ship the next day, and since this is costing me so much more than what I usually pay for a cruise..plus my birthday is the first part of August, I've decided to just say the heck with it and go into San Juan on Friday and spend the weekend
Any suggestions on hotel deals and things to do in San Juan ?
We're going to PR for a 2 day pre-cruise in April & staying at the Holiday Inn (note: a 2nd Holiday Inn has been built & just recently opened - that's the more expensive one!). The one we're staying at is Holiday Inn Express I believe.
There's other hotels, however, you are going to pay an arm & a leg. Believe me, I've been researching these hotels for the last 4 months & watching the prices go up & down. The hotels are real expensive.
If you like shopping, lots of that. There's a old fort there near the cruise docks in Old San Juan you can see. We're going to see the Arecibo only because my BF is heavily into the whole space & satellite thing. I heard the rain forest is lame, but hey, we don't have those here in the U.S.! So we might check that out as well. It just depends on what you want to do.
We went on the Destiny Feb. 04. We stayed at the Regency and would highly reccomend it. 150.00 night and the room is huge, nice view right on the water. You can use all the ammenitites at the Condado but not pay the price! I wrote a review and talked about SJ, it was fun!
Have a riot!
We have stayed at both the Wyndham Old San Juan and Wyndham Condado and enjoyed them both for different reasons. They can be a bit expensive in high season though (between $160 and $200) but probably less in July. Best to book direct through the Wyndham website for the best deal. Old San Juan location is right in the heart of the old town so great for sightseeing. Condado has a great pool area and a small beach and lots of great restaurants. Both have beautiful rooms and amenities.
Id recommend the Caribe Hilton, I wrote about it in the Hotel message board. My Girlfriend and I loved this place, it was very relaxing and the resort is beautiful. If you are looking for things to do I would check out the old fortress, Castillo de Morro and walk around Old San Juan. Theres also a sailing tour I didnt get to do but looked pretty cool.
If you are looking for a less expensive place to stay, you could try Priceline for a hotel in the area you would most like to stay, and you may get a good price. 3 years ago we got the Caribe Hilton for $65 per night. It is between Old San Juan and the Condado area. There is a great beach there. If you stay in the Condado area, which is where we stayed last time, there is a lot of new construction, and a nice family beach nearby. Old San Juan is a nice place to walk around during the day, not the safest place at night. Nice places for lunch, shopping, etc. There is a trolley service that runs through that area that is free, and will take you around the sights including El Morro. You just hop on and off when you want, and it is free. There are very nice hotels at the Port area in Old San Juan with casinos, as well, for a little more money. Depends on what you are looking for. I hope this helps a little.
I live in PR but used to live in NY and FL. I personally love the Old San Juan because is romantic, safe, beautiiful and with great history. You could visit El Morro and the catholic churches which are very nive. Visiting El Convento Hotel is a must since is one of the finest in the world. Its very old but well mantained and sophisticated. The Wynham is right in front of the port so you will not miss your cruise. The shops are good but iif you want to shop just visit Plaza Las Americas that isn't that far away in a taxi. If you are the museum type we have a couple in the capital area and the biggest one in Ponce (south of the island). The best onenear you would be in Santurce. A nature person will love the rainforest EL YUNQUE and the caverns LAS CAVERNAS DE CAMUY. Another great site is the Bacardi Rum place in Catano (near capital). in Arecibo/ Utuado the observatory which you can see in the movie Contact. The best beaches are in IIsla Verde )near airport), Vieques island (FLAMENCO) and Cabo Rojo (Boqueron).
I hope this helps. You can email if intrested in more info.
I am from Puerto Rico. The truth is that hotels are very expensive, especially if you want to stay in the “city”. Prices start at $150 per night, per room, per guest. All the hotels that have been mentioned are beautiful but costly. The price is well worth it if what you want is the casinos and nightlife.
The island also has alternatives to big chain hotels. We have what we call “paradores”. There is no adequate translation to English but you might see them labeled as small inns. They are small compared to the hotels, but have all the amenities a person needs. Usually they are either close to the beach or at the center of the island in the mountains. You could also get a great price, they have packages that range from $200 for the whole 3 days. I do a lot of internal tourism, so I might help you out with places to stay.
The beaches near San Juan are nice, but too crowded and not as beautiful. The most beautiful beach is Playa de Flamenco in Culebras. This is a tiny island to the east of the mainland. You may take a ferry that cost $5 or a plane that will cost you $160 roundtrip. You may go and return on the same day. Playa Flamenco is part of the Blue Ribbon Beach and is rated the second most beautiful beach of the United States.
Other beaches that are beautiful are the ones located to the west. I am a huge fan of the beaches located at Rincón and Isabela, especially Jobos, among others.
It all depends on how long you are going to be staying in Puerto Rico, for how long, and what you want to get out of your stay here.
These are some sites that you may find general information, but I am feel free answer any question you might have to make your stay more enjoyable.
Stay at the Hyatt Dorado in Dorado about 30 minutes outside of San Juan. I know it is a bit far from the old area & cruise port, but it is the most romantic, beautiful resorts we have been to. We stayed after a cruise for a few days & bid on Priceline. It ran $80 a night w/o taxes or fees. Quite a deal. We rented a car for a few days & drove in to San Juan when necessary. Look on biddingfortravel.com to see if anyone has been getting hits on Priceline for this property. We loved it!
We sailed Adventure out of San Juan last year and got a package deal through our TA from RCI. Wyndham Condado and shuttles from airport to hotel, to pier and back to airport. Condado is about 10 min from pier. We ended up with an Executive Suite on the top floor with free finger food buffet and cash bar in our lounge on Sat. night and extensive continental breakfast on Sun. morning. We saved a bundle on food. So glad TA nixed RCI's plan to "upgrade" us to another hotel 20 mi away on the other side of the island.
Condado has beach and pool, as well as lots of grassy lounging areas with free chairs/chaise longues--great views, too.
Explorer E. Carib. 1/12/02
Explorer W. Carib. 1/18/03
Summit Alaska cruise/tour 8/3/03
Adventure S. Carib. 2/8/04
Galaxy Panama Canal 2/3/05