Puerto Rico Travel Guide
Tax Refund Vacations / Puerto Rico Travel / San Juan / SJU / Beach Travel / History Travel / Caribbean Travel / Diving / → All Tags
Tax day is coming, and you're probably excited not because you look forward to sifting through receipts and credit card statements, but because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" trip.
As much as we love to flash our passports to border security and ogle at the exotic stamps, it is also novelty to travel to a place a world different from what we know at home, yet breeze through the airport. Puerto Rico is one of those places and it's super easy to get to.
We hope this brief geography lesson is not needed, but the island is situated in the northern Caribbean between the Domincan Republic and the US Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico, Spanish for 'rich port' is a protectorate of the US and is governed by our constitution, so that means any flights originating in the US to Puerto Rican cities do not require passport control. This ultimately means more time on the beach!
Movie Set Travel / The Rum Diary / Food Travel / Puerto Rico Travel / Booze Travel / Drinking Travel / Johnny Depp / → All Tags
Today The Rum Diary, starring Johnny Depp, opens across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, where the movie was filmed in 2009. Based on the Hunter S. Thompson novel about his own real-life boozy existence in San Juan in the 1950's, The Rum Diary stars Depp as Paul Kemp, a young American journalist working for a floundering English newspaper in San Juan.
The movie was filmed in Old San Jaun, Fajardo, at the former U.S. air base Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, and in the rainforest of El Yunque.
Yesterday morning, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the western coast of Puerto Rico, causing immediate panic for locals and tourists. Luckily for Puerto Rico, this event was not anywhere near as deadly and destructive as the 7.0 earthquake that decimated areas of Haiti in January.
For travelers heading to Puerto Rico, no flights have been cancelled and there have no reports of injuries or structural damage to hotels and resorts in Aguadilla, Anasco, San Sebastian and Mayaguez, all cities close to the epicenter in Moca. They have actually been very lucky with this, although geologists warn that this earthquake is only a warning for a much larger one to follow. But they always say that; California is way overdue to sink into the ocean as it is. Just check out this world map of earthquakes within the last weekthey're happening constantly!
Valentine's Day Travel / Valentine's Day / Romantic Travel / Travel Deals / Puerto Rico Travel / Caribbean Travel / Caribbean / Travelzoo / → All Tags
If chocolate and a cheap stuffed animal won't cut it for your valentine this year, try whisking your baby away to Puerto Rico for a last-minute Valentine's Day vacation.
Travelzoo is offering a deal where you'll get four nights at a hotel and round-trip airfare for $399. But you have to jump on this, since the sale ends today at midnight, EST.
Neither Depp nor Eckhart would need an International Driving Permit to take the wheel of that sweet convertible -- a US driver's license would suffice. But if they wanted to island-hop to, say, Antigua or Jamaica after shooting, an IDP would come in handy. Even if a local car rental in one of the 155 countries that accept it doesn't ask for it, it can't hurt to be covered for the price of $15 and 2 passport photos in places where an American driver's license isn't accepted.
Besides, this may be the last year it's that easy to drive around the world: The IDP was set up back in 1949 by the UN, which is expected to revisit the regulations at a road safety conference in November. (Host country Russia also accepts the IDP, but take it from us: don't drive there.)
[Photo: Faded Youth Blog]
It's cold and wet in New York today, the first day of winter, and the mind wanders to thoughts of warm tropical paradises. A trip to Puerto Rico sure would be nice. Icy rum cocktails, gentle turquoise waters, soft white sand, and the constant threat of attack by hordes of diseased monkeys. Did somebody say beach party?
Too bad the Puerto Rican government wants to capture and kill all the monkeys. According to local rangers, the monkeys are an invasive species - having originally escaped from a secret research facility nearly forty years ago - and they pose a serious threat to native flora and fauna, agriculture, and even people.
That's right, some of these randy primates have herpes and hepatitis. Fun!
Why, in Puerto Rico, of course! World famous bachelor George Clooney took some time out from filming his new movie "Men Who Stare At Goats" to play a pickup basketball game, complete with the mustache he (or someone) has apparently chosen for his character. Looks like nose hair gone wrong, right?
Clooney is also co-producing the film, which is using the Rio Piedras neighborhood (where a campus of the University of Puerto Rico is located) as a stand-in for the Middle East.
The movie costars Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges as US military officers trying to find strategic applications for paranormal powers.
Jaunted Field Trips / Puerto-Rico-Travel-Guide-Map / Puerto Rico Hotel Reviews / Islands / → All Tags
While we normally leave the hotel chronicles to our big sister site, we couldn't leave you without mappin' and recappin' the hotel scene we encountered on PR.
The basics? You have plenty of options: full blown resorts, upscale hotels, mid-range hotels and plenty of brand name chains.
The short video above is of El Conquistador in Fajardo, and after the jump we've got a bunch of one-line hotel reviews. To find out where exactly these places are, hit up our Puerto Rico Travel Map. We'll leave the heavy lifting to HotelChatter, which should have full reports in the coming weeks.
Yes, Old San Juan is touristy. But Old San Juan is totally worth it. Founded in 1521 by the forever young Ponce de León, the city was heavily fortified with turrets and walls to protect it from British invasion.
These days Old San Juan is the tourist center of Puerto Rico. Full of cruisers in for one night and day trippers coming back from the beaches, you'll see slack-jawed fanny packers by the busload.
That said Old San Juan is an interesting place, full of small town Costa Blanca influence, Puerto Rican style and US commercialism. One thing's for sure, the Puerto Ricans did successfully stave off the British. We didn't see a single Union Jack.
Sure you could spend your entire time in Puerto Rico hitting US fast food chains like Subway and Wendy's for lunch, then sit down for dinner at places like Chili's and Outback, but what fun would that be?
Puerto Rican food has plenty to offer, almost too much, but if you find yourself with limited time you at least have to try two things: the seafood and the mofongo.
There are plenty of beaches in Puerto Rico and chances are if you stay at a resort or a hotel, a completely satisfactory beach will be just steps away. However, if you want to break away from the tourists and those waiting to board their cruise liner, rent a car, pick a coast and drive it.
As the day begins to expire you are bound to run into a beach-side BBQ, and maybe even a Lechón de Asado. So where do the locals hang out? Not at the resort or hotel beaches. We stuck to the east of the island and picked our two favorite beaches there.
When it comes to active travel, we've checked out some pretty crazy stuff. But when HotelChatter tipped us off to kiteboarding, we had to investigate. The adventure sport puts riders on a small surfboard that's a bit like the more-popular wakeboard--and then hands them the reins to a big kite. Riders strap their feet into bindings before letting loose.
The sport is still in its infancy, but there are plenty of places to check it out. Our suggestion? Kiteboarding PR. The one-day Kite Control Class helps beginners master kiteboarding techniques, everything from kite setup to takeoffs and landings. Advanced lessons and custom camps are also available for those anxious to ride the waves like a true pro.
Our number one tip for the newbies? Well, it came from the experts:
The best way to feel like you're not at your local Costco meat section is to be sure all the boys wear board shorts over their wetsuits.