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Old 14-02-2014, 20:49   #1
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Ride Share in Puerto Rico 3/01-3/05

I will be renting a car on the main island during this period.
Present plan is to start in SJ and circumnavigate clockwise back around to end in San Juan Viejo on Thursday and turn in vehicle.
If you are interested in getting a lift and possibly seeing some sights of the interior, PM me here by 2/23 and I'll share details.
We can decide how to work out gas depending on where we motor together.

Plenty Sun,
OG
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Old 14-02-2014, 21:43   #2
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Re: Ride Share in Puerto Rico 3/01-3/05

If your going to try and circle the island in 4 or 5 days.You will not see too much.That is a long trip.And traffic is bad in every major city.

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Old 14-02-2014, 23:20   #3
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Re: Ride Share in Puerto Rico 3/01-3/05

CRASHBOAT BEACH
Is a must go to
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Old 15-02-2014, 09:38   #4
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Re: Ride Share in Puerto Rico 3/01-3/05

Quote:
Originally Posted by Time2Go View Post
CRASHBOAT BEACH
Is a must go to
Thanks, for sure I have that scoped out for last night stay in Rincon on the way back to OSJ.

@spraygun
I've a pretty good route mapped for now that is only 410 miles start to finish.
That means 60-70 miles per day driving. If we have to do even 30mph ave, well, that leaves plenty of time to sight see, eat and enjoy.
There's about 15 points of interest included in that trip with the longest single leg (so far- even that can be broken up) at around an hour and a half.

Or, am I missing something?
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Old 15-02-2014, 12:28   #5
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Re: Ride Share in Puerto Rico 3/01-3/05

If you just want to drive around the island and not see anything, no.

If you want to see interesting things, you have to go off the beaten path. Seeing the sites sometimes takes a little more work than driving around. Its part of the adventure.

Sites to see, in alphabetic order, while driving around Puerto Rico:
Barcardi N18.454290, W-66.143443
Crashboat Beach N18.458020, W-67.164188
El Yunque N18.328039, W-65.767612
La Coca Falls N18.318569, W-65.771246
La Mina Falls N18.303080, W-65.776642
Escondida Beach N18.377230, W-65.644990
Gilligan Island N17.950941, W-66.877429
La Placita N18.450479, W-66.070511
Liquillo Beach & Kiosks N18.382321, W-65.730326
Mar Chiquita Beach N18.472851, W-66.485602
Radiotelescope N18.346131, W-66.752792
Seven Seas Beach N18.367661, W-65.634260
Shacks Beach N18.512239, W-67.108945

Or skip all that driving, drive to Fajardo and catch the ferry to Culebra and then spend the day at Playa Flamenco.
Fajardo Ferry N18.333920, W-65.630400
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Old 15-02-2014, 12:34   #6
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Re: Ride Share in Puerto Rico 3/01-3/05

Forgot, the los morrillos lighthouse in the South West corner has great views.
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Old 15-02-2014, 12:50   #7
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Re: Ride Share in Puerto Rico 3/01-3/05

I also wrote this up for my brother and his family. They were visiting for a week vacation, not sure if the links will work with this copy/paste:

Beaches: (Google maps)
Luquillo Beach (map photos web), small entry fee, lots of parking, bathroom/shower facilities, nice sand, usually calm waves (we liked this beach) make sure to walk around the point to the North, there was some shallow crazy warm water there last time I was there.
Seven Seas Beach (map photos web read the ‘gateway’ comment), same as Luquillo, small entry fee, lots of parking, bathroom facilities, usually medium waves. Crowded with local families. Can get full of seagrass but is the entry point if you want to do some hiking to other beaches. If you walk to the far West side of Seven Seas beach, you will find a trail heading away from the beach into the mangroves. Follow this trail in and when it widens, go to the right. After a while hiking, you will find a branch in the trail heading North, you can take this short trail to Playa Colora (map photos web). There will be a sign at the end of the trail marking the beach. Last time I was there the surf was very big, and dangerous to be in the water. You can skip this or return to the main trail in the mangroves. (It can get hot, bring water!!) You can return to Seven Seas or continue West to the other shoreline and you will fine Playa Escondida (map photos web spot on another web link). This beach was big, calm, beautiful, no facilities, and no people. Farther down I guess is El Convento Beach (map), did not go there. But 1 time I was there the surf was up and the current crazy strong, almost too dangerous to be in. It all depends on which direction the wind and swells are hitting Puerto Rico.
Ocean Park Beach (map photos), long beach in San Juan. Great on the weekends, crowded with hot hot young college crowd. Did I mention sexy hot. Difficult parking, on the street, walk to beach.
Playa Flamenco (map photos web), famous top 10 beach per Travel Channel. Beautiful white sand like Ft Walton Beach (note most beaches in PR have the blonde/brown sand). Great half moon bay shape, calm waves. Tough to get to. I suggest 3 possible ways. 1) take the ferry out of Fajardo (Ferry info, schedule)early in the morning (get there early, the ferry can become sold out, especially on weekends and holidays. Also purchase a round trip ticket and if you have luggage/cooler on wheels/large items you might need to pay a fee for these ‘large carry on items’. Check when you buy tickets), arrives at the docks on Culebra island (map). Lots of small local busses willing to take you to the beach. Buy any beer here in town before getting to the beach, you can’t buy beer at the beach. The bus guys usually offer a round trip deal per person (cash). Enjoy the beach for the day, typically there are vendors selling food, there are bathroom/shower facilities. Take the shuttle bus back to the ferry dock, take the ferry back to Fajardo, drive back to rental. Suggest also paying for parking in a big lot South of ferry dock in Farjardo (parking lot A, Ferry terminal B). I think the ferry ride is about 60-75 minutes. You need to have the attitude that getting there is part of the adventure. 2) skip all that, pay for a trip with East Island Excursions (web). They have a snorkel and Playa Flamenco trip. Includes a small power catamaran ride to Culebra, snorkeling on a reef in protected park, then they go over to the beach, serve lunch and rum cocktails included, and give you time to explore the beach on your own, then return. This is the easiest. Or 3) fly. There are small planes that fly out of San Juan to Culebra, but that’s what rich people from San Juan do.

Sites/Excursions:
Barccardi (map web) This was cool, only I did this, Anj and the kids did not. I liked the history of the distillery, you don’t get to sample any more, you do get 2 free drink tickets. You drive there, they have free parking.
The fort El Morro (map), San Juan Small fee but cool history and structure. Skip the other one San Cristobal. Parking is a pain. This is my goto parking ramp (map). It then means a few block walk to the fort, but easier driving in and out of Old San Juan. Make sure to bring your parking ticket because when you leave you have to pre-pay with a payment machine and your ticket gets stamped, then you have time to get to your car and exit the ramp sliding your ticket into the exit machine/gate.
El Yunque Rain Forest (Route in A entrance B top web) Worth the drive up, lots of switch backs, can get you car sick, but worth it. Skip the visitors center, very lame, not worth the entrance fee. When up there the hike down to the La Mina falls was nice. It’s about a 25 minute hike down and then back up. Bring water! Can be crowded because its popular but during the week it should not be crowded.
Icacos Island (map) This is the island I took 2 different sailing trips to. This is the island you were asking about with snorkeling and shelling. I first went there with Spread Eagle (location web) tours. They were good, located in Fajardo. The second was East Island Excursions (location web). They are out of marina Puerto del Rey. Little farther South, making the sail to/from Icacos a little longer. Service for both are good, include lunch (simple and not hot) and all the run punch you can drink, beer is extra cash. I think Spread Eagle is less expensive. I think both include snorkel equipment so you don’t have to bring your own.
Monkey Island (map web1 web2 web3 meet location), Humacoa This is a sea kayak trip around Monkey Island off the East coast of PR near Humacoa (Hoom a cow) You meet at the beach, guide brings the kayaks and takes you across the bay to the island. You can’t go onto the island, only view from the kayak. There is a snorkeling stop to dive a sunken barge. You can see the monkeys from the kayaks. Paddling can get tiring but it’s not a race and the guide kept a slow pace.
Shopping Outlet stores in Canovanas (typical US outlet mall map), Plaza Las Americas (map) in San Juan (typical US mall), Old San Juan has better shopping but very touristy, but what are you going to do?


Restaurants: (map)
La Parrilla. I think this means grill in Spanish. We liked this place and ate twice here. It’s the last restaurant in the line of kiosks at Luquillo.
La Estacion. I ate here once. It was great and would eat here any time. Its just that it is too far to drive from San Juan. Try a Fajardo Sunrise, fish was good, portions large, also known for BBQ.
Luquillo Kiosks. (cheap fried local eats, good pinchos) We stopped here many times for a quick meal. There are vendors selling pinchos (meat kabobs) right when you enter the line of kiosks. There are also many other vendors/shops selling junk to other fried food to beer and liquor. Everything you need.
Isamar Bakery. We ate breakfast and coffee here almost every morning. We even had sandwiches made in the morning for our lunch later in the day. Our rental was just up the road.
Richies Skip this place. Over priced, average food, advertised all over the place. Don’t let the ‘great view’ hook you.
Crazy Cow Steakhouse. Heard this was great. Portions huge like Flinstones.
In Old San Juan:
1. Aguaviva Really good, expensive, trendy, dress code
2. Istanbul Turkish Good if you like Turkish, I do. Hummas and coffee are great
3. Raices Traditional Puerto Rican. Have not tried but heard it was good.
4. Lots of others near the cruise ship docks like Tijuana’s, Senor Frogs, some other steak house
5. El Hamburger. Cheap, good, locals eat there. Serve a variety of small meatball style hamburgers and fries with coke or beer. Very busy at lunch.
In Condado:
1. Ummo Great South American Steak place. Expensive.
2. Ropa Vieja good Cuban.
3. Texas de Brazil all you can eat meat, like when we went to Disney. Expensive though
4. Waiter’s I eat here a lot. Good mahi mahi, good chirasco, good crab soup. The appetizers are good. Only open at night, not expensive
5. Pinky’s Good sandwiches, breakfast, and coffee.
6. Bebo’s (map) Very traditional Puerto Rican, many many locals eat here. Always crowded, cheap.
7. Via Appia Italian. I always order the pizza. Nice place. I always drink a beer, most others in the restaurant drink sangria so it must be good. I had good fish here too. Reasonable prices.
8. Mike’s pizza. Best NY style pizza in Puerto Rico.
9. Buns Burger shop Good for a quick burger.
10. Brother Jimmy’s BBQ. Top floor of El San Juan Hotel. Take off of Famous Daves. Great view.
11. Kasalta Deli. Great deli and bakery, very popular with locals. A Quesito is filled with cream cheese, mmm good.
12. El Postino. Italian, large portions.
13. Let Yelp be your guide also. You can tell I spend most of my time in Condado.


Driving/Traffic:
Do not waste time driving around too far. It looks like Puerto Rico is small and you want to visit Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla, but seriously that is a 3 hour drive from Rio Mar/Rio Grande and then 3 hours back because of traffic and highway 2 is not a highway, it’s a street with lights every half mile. The farthest I would go West would be Barccardi, the farthest South would be Humacao.
Traffic has both extremes. Very passive drivers and very aggressive drivers. Be defensive and you will be fine. You may have to nose your vehicle into traffic to make a turn. That’s the way it is done. Traffic typically lets you in. If you wait for a gap, you may have to wait for a looong time. That is why they do this. On the highways (Route 66) the real danger is the slow drivers (old folks in crap vehicles that probably can’t go 55 mph). Speed limits are in miles per hour, gas is sold in liters, distance signs are in kilometers. I know weird. Gas: you have to always pre-pay. Just go inside and hand over a credit card and say fill on pump 4 or whatever and then they will turn on the pump for you, then you go back in and pay. There is never pay at the pump and pay after you pump, always pre-pay or leave a credit card inside.
Radio, I tune to 104.3 the Buzz
PR does very poor maintenance on everything. Almost none. What out for pot holes, speed bumps, and large culvert dips.
You will always run into a slow vehicle in the left lane. I don’t know why but they always camp out in the left lane going 40 in at 55-65. Probably because the peace of crap car can’t go 60 anymore.
You will always find cars with one or all brakes lights not working. Again, no one does maintenance or fixes anything.
Police and emergency vehicles flash their lights ALL the time (blue and green). This is standard.
When renting a car:
o Choose Avis, Hertz, Budget, National, or Alamo because they are located on the airport property, all others are off property and a little drive away. Its OK if you choose an off site rental, just plan for the shuttle time.
o Elect the toll pass option when renting a car, the rental car company will tell you what lane to be in. It’s the left Express Pass lane. The alarm sounds, but ignore it.
A ‘marginal’ is a frontage road. Norte is North, Sur is South, Este is East, and Oeste is West. A ‘Caya’ is road.

Other Advice:
Your cell phones should work fine.
Be patient, there is no such thing as fast in Puerto Rico. 10 minute line at a Burger King or Wendys is normal, during lunch rush it can be easily 20 minutes.
There will be many stray cats and dogs. Do not pet them. They are dirty and could be sick.
Be prepared to see extremes swings from very wealthy to very poor. There might be signs of neglect and garbage but the views are still beautiful. Their public service and maintenance is poor.
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Old 15-02-2014, 13:07   #8
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Re: Ride Share in Puerto Rico 3/01-3/05

Quote:
Originally Posted by OolyGahn View Post
Thanks, for sure I have that scoped out for last night stay in Rincon on the way back to OSJ.

@spraygun
I've a pretty good route mapped for now that is only 410 miles start to finish.
That means 60-70 miles per day driving. If we have to do even 30mph ave, well, that leaves plenty of time to sight see, eat and enjoy.
There's about 15 points of interest included in that trip with the longest single leg (so far- even that can be broken up) at around an hour and a half.

Or, am I missing something?
Have you been before? It is island time.I wish you well on your plan.Well be there in May

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Old 15-02-2014, 16:44   #9
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Re: Ride Share in Puerto Rico 3/01-3/05

Wow! Thanks for all the input. E1218 that must of taken some time to compile. Thanks for sharing.
I will be studying it in the days to come.

No, never been to PR, it's why I am doing the whole island and the Spanish Virgins at the same time. I am taking 2 weeks to do this, just renting a car to check on some Casa de Campos up in the Cordillera at the half way point timewise.

I am not so much interested in SJ and will spend most of the time there in Old San Juan, both coming and going overnight. I'm flying to Culebra and Vieques for 2 nights each.
I've got a permit for camping in El Yunque, and have a couple of acqauintances in La Paguera and Toa Baja.
If all goes well, I will be moving down in the Fall of this year, buying a finca/solar after 4-6 months and refitting a sailboat to "ply the trades".
I want to have a home base in the area, so I'm really looking hard at whether it's right for me there.

I just thought I'd offer to give someone a lift at various spots along the way.
Again, if you're down there or will be during this period, PM and we'll see from there.
Thanks again all.
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Old 15-02-2014, 18:36   #10
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Re: Ride Share in Puerto Rico 3/01-3/05

Well, now that we know you have more than 5 days. You can see everything in about 9.But Fajardo is probably going to be your best bet to refit a sailboat.But things do move slower.And traffic is brutal in all major cities around the coast.

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