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Home / Puerto Rico Vacation Blog-April 2017

Puerto Rico Vacation Blog-April 2017

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Caribe Hiltion Arial View

We are headed off to explore Puerto Rico for the very first time. This is a beautiful island destination in the Caribbean that really has allot to offer...and NO PASSPORTS REQUIRED! 

We decided to split our stay between the Caribe Hilton Resort in San Juan (Photo Above) and the Wyndam Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort. This will allow us to better experience  and enjoy the diversity of Puerto Rico.

We'll continue to update the blog each day so that you and our future clients can learn more about Puerto Rico, the hotels, the attractions and many unique excursions through our first-hand report.

Arrival Day:

It was a long journey from Wisconsin but given the views, it is worth the trip. 

The Caribe Hilton is about 15 minutes from the San Juan airport...an easy $26 cab ride. It located in the Condado area of San Juan and is close to restaurants and shops right across the street at the Paseo Caribe. In the hotel, there are a number of dining option including Morton's Steakhouse and a beautiful outdoor restaurant in a lush garden area called Lemon Grass...complete with all kinds of wildlife including turkeys, peacocks, a coy pond and a tree frog who serenaded us throughout dinner.

The accommodations in the rooms are comfortable with amazing oceanviews.

And here is a fun fact...

In 1954, a bartender at this hotel named Ramón “Monchito” Marrero created a new cocktail that mixed rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice – and the delicious Piña Colada was born! In 1978, the Piña Colada was declared the official drink of Puerto Rico.

Original Piña Colada Recipe

Ingredients:

2 ounces white rum
1 ounce coconut cream
1 ounce heavy cream
6 ounces fresh pineapple juice
½ cup of crushed ice

Add the rum, coconut cream, heavy cream and pineapple juice in a blender. Add the ice and blend until smooth for about 15 seconds. Serve in a 12-ounce glass. Garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.

Day 2

There a very nice swimmable beach area on one side of the hotel. It is a very safe cove protected by a coral reef. You can rent snorkel equipment at the shack for $15 per hour and there was a great variety of fish and sea urchins. The rest of the coastline around the hotel are large rocks and a small historic fort on the far side.

Overall, the food choices and beverage choices here have been good...but not inexpensive. The breakfast buffet was $26.95 and a Cheeseburger at the pool goes for $18. The local beer, Medella is a bit pricey at $7 per can/bottle. There is wait staff service around the pool area along with an iguana or two that are happy to help with any scraps that get left behind.

After a great day at the pool and snorkeling, we hopped in a cab ($15) to go see the historic Castillo San Felipe del Morro Fort ($5 for adults and free for kids.). This is an amazing fortress dating back to 1493 that was a key in defending San Juan against the Dutch and many other enemies who sought to take San Juan from Spain. I would say this is definitely worth seeing and we really enjoyed reading the story of the fort on the placards posted throughout. There was also some spectacular ocean views. 

Before you make your way up the hill to the fort, make sure to stop and grab a strawberry, mango, papaya or coconut gelato from the street vendor!

For dinner, we discovered the Paseo Caribe just short walk across the street from the resort. There are several nice restaurants here and what can be best be described as an "upscale food court". There is a wide range of fresh food options including steaks, fresh fish, Italian, and Mediterranean to name a few.  We elected to do the "dine around" approach with each course at a different place...so Caprese Salad, Spring Rolls, Margarita Pizza and Oreo Cookie Ice Cream rolls. I would highly recommend this as a dinner option as there is something here for everyone and the prices are good.

From a Kid's Perspective (A Few Thoughts About Our Experience From My 11 Year Old):

The stay at the Hilton was okay and although I enjoyed it, it could have used some improvements. The pool wasn't the cleanest which was not necessarily their fault, but overall it could have been cleaner. The food seemed kind of expensive and sometimes slow which because I am 11...I hate waiting. When you wanted to order something from the pool without getting up, it was hard to get someone because they're wasn't very many staff members which made it hard to relax because you had no one to assist you .

There was no pool or night time entertainment really. When I go to a resort, I always look forward to a schedule of entertainment activities. If I had to rate this hotel I would give it a 3 because it definitely needed improvements but, I didn't hate the stay. I have been to many resorts and compared to the others this wasn't my favorite but wasn't the worst. This is a great place for a short period of time like 2 days but definitely not for a week.

Day 3

We're changing hotels today and heading to the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach. To wrap up our stay at the Caribe Hilton, here are few Pro and Cons:

Pros:

- Good location close to the airport

- Amazing oceanviews from the rooms (comfortable beds)

- Nice swimmable beach area with snorkeling

- Paseo Caribe mall with dining options close by

- Free Wi-fi with good connectivity

- Starbucks in the lobby

Click Here to Go to Part 2 of Our Journey...Arrival in Paradise


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