Where to Stay: Understanding Your Options
It's important when choosing accommodations to focus first on location. Do you want to be near the popular tourist attractions, so taxi rides to reach them will be relatively inexpensive? Some of the resorts are located an hour or more from the popular tourist attractions. While these resorts offer all of the dining options and many of the activities you'd want right on the property, sightseeing can get expensive if you need to rent a car or take taxis.
If you're spending at least a week in Puerto Rico, a money-saving option is to rent a fully-equipped townhouse or villa for your family, as opposed to staying in multiple guestrooms at a resort. There are many real estate rental agencies, such as Casa Verde Vacation Rentals (787-823-3271, www.enrincon.com), that manage rental properties throughout Puerto Rico. Using any Internet search engine, use the search phrase “Puerto Rico Villa Rental” to find additional resources.
If staying in or near the beach is important to you, keep in mind that some resorts—such as those located near Old San Juan, for example—offer swimming pools as opposed to beach access. Some of the nicest beaches are located in the Condado, Ocean Park, and Isla Verde areas.
As you choose your accommodations in Puerto Rico, consider the following:
Access to the beach
Distance from popular tourist attractions
Water- and land-based activities offered on the property (and their cost)
Configuration of the guestroom accommodations available
Dining options available at the resort/hotel and what type of meal plans are offered
Whether you'll have a rental car to get around
An alternative to staying at a luxurious, full-service resort is to stay at a smaller hotel or even a guesthouse. Puerto Rico offers literally hundreds of traditional high-rise hotels. In addition, you'll find many full-service resorts and smaller hotels, as well as villas and townhouses which can be rented. There are also a handful of time-share properties throughout Puerto Rico.
While you'll find several all-inclusive resorts in Puerto Rico, the majority of the resorts offer luxurious guest-room accommodations for a per-night fee, plus a wide array of land- and water-based activities (available at an extra cost). Some of the resorts offer meal plans (two or three meals per day), while others offer several different on-property restaurants, but all meals can be paid for separately or billed to your room.
Each of these accommodation options will provide you and your family with a very different vacation experience. So, before booking your accommodations, determine how you're interested in spending your time, what services and amenities are important to you, and what type of accommodations are best suited to meet your needs. You can then contact the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, a travel agent, or one of the popular travel-related Web sites to help you find and reserve the ideal accommodations at a price you can afford.
The advantage of staying at a full-service resort is that these properties tend to be located on or near a beach. They offer a wide range of on-property activities, and they have several dining options located on the property, so it's not necessary to constantly leave the resort to enjoy a fun-filled or relaxing vacation.