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2 weeks in Puerto Rico in December

We’re a couple in our early 70s planning our first trip to Puerto Rico. We’ll be there from 10 -14 days. We enjoy arts, culture food and history and we also want to spend some time at a beach/resort absorbing the warmth and sun to get us through our Boston winter.
I’m thinking of 2 or 3 days in San Juan (Maybe staying in Old San Juan). The rest of the time we’d like to stay at a beautiful beach hotel or resort and use it as a base for exploring other interesting areas that have recovered from Hurricane Maria.
Any suggestions for places to explore? I’ve seen that many people recommend Vieques or other islands. I’m not wild about the idea of taking a “puddle jumper” so there would need to be something really compelling about those places to make me consider going there.
I’d also love suggestions for lodging and restaurants. We love trying local cuisine and restaurants—fine dining is not our style. However we’re past the days of “roughing it” and want to stay in NICE places.

Thanks in advance for your ideas!

Posted by
137 posts

Actually there is something very compelling to visit Vieques - the bio-luminescent bay. We were there about 15 years ago so I am not sure what the status of it is now. A true one of a kind experience. Kayak around a quiet mangrove bay as the water literally lights up while you paddle. The kayaks area ocean kayaks so your legs stay on top. We were able to get out and swim and easily get back in the kayak. This phenomenon occurs due to micro organisms that react to movement and light up. Best to go when the moon is not full for the best experience. We also visited Ponce in the southern part of PR and stayed in a condo for a week on the east side. Wish I could remember the name of that resort - gorgeous, great food and amenities.

Posted by
936 posts

You can take a ferry to Culebra. We love OSJ and I would stay at least 3 full days so 4 nights... lots to do and see. We stayed in Fajardo. It was ok but we did take the ferry to Culebra. PR is a great place with great food. Define NICE .... there are some nice hotels for sure.

Posted by
5372 posts

I have not been to PR in fifteen years (went to Hyatt Cerromar and also adjacent original luxury Rockresort. I'd note that there are annoyances with legally public beach vendors and locked beach gates for safety at night-including in San Juan. There is much to see in PR but at 70 you might prefer another country's island. For example Turks and Caicos or Bahamas if you want to stay close to Florida.

This post contains personal opinions and does not include current research. We have been to the Caribbean over 20 times.

Posted by
381 posts

We spent two weeks in Puerto Rico last December and enjoyed it tremendously. However, we did not see a single nice beach resort and did not experience stellar beach weather, although we did swim in Rincon. Maybe there are hidden gems somewhere, and maybe they have recovered from Hurricane Maria by now, but we pretty much drove around the island looking at the coasts. Our most memorable experiences were visiting the radio telescope center at Arecibo (very interesting!) and wandering around Old San Juan, where we stayed at a wonderful small boutique hotel called Villa Herencia - highly recommended for old world atmosphere and location.

According to my research, the ferries to Vieques and Culebra are not dependable (may or may not run, and locals get priority over tourists), and the half hour flight to Vieques was expensive at $249 - so we decided not to go there.

Posted by
6445 posts

Villa Montana beach resort near Isabela PR looks wonderful. We didn't stay there but we did stop and have lunch there and it was definitely a place I would like to stay for a few days or a week. And it's easy to get from there to Rincon, Ponce, Arecibo Observatory as day trips, and the bioluminescent bay at La Parguera as a nighttime trip or for one night's stay. This bio bay is not as spectacular as the one at Vieques Island but it was worth going to and easier to get to. We stayed in Ponce when we went to La Parguera but it can be done from Villa Montana also.