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1 Week Puerto Rico- Solo Female- Itinerary assistance?

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
125 posts
14 reviews
1 Week Puerto Rico- Solo Female- Itinerary assistance?

I'm planning a trip to PR with my sister in May. She only has a week vacation, and we're going on a carribbean cruise Sun-Sat.

I want to add an extra week on my own, before the cruise. Since I'll be getting lots of R&R + beaches in 2nd week, I want to really explore Puerto Rico.I did a trip on my own to New York and Cape Cod last year, split 10 days betwen the 2. NY was ok, but I was happy to leave to the Cape. I LOVED the cape- the culture, the beach, biking to Provincetown, all the neat little shops and stands...

In Puerto Rico, I hope to see as much as possible. Not really into museums, prefer outdoor culture. I want to see some caves, kayak/see the bio bay ,El Yunque National Forest (hike to waterfall, I hope!), and would LOVE to see some older haciendas/towns, cermeonial ground, anything beautiful thats only in Puerto Rico. Anything to add to list above? Depends on what cities I wan tto go, I know...

Considered a trip to culebra-is it worth going to, if I'm going to many other islands on the cruise? I briefly pondered renting a bike and just biking around the island, staying in a different city each night- but thats a LOT of time on a bike, and not sure I"m really up to. Perhaps a portion of the trip.

So is it feasible for me to cross the entire island and back to san juan in a week? Or should I stick to one region and find things to do there? I'm willing to rent a car, but I dont want to spend half my trip driving on my own- I'd rather take a bus, or bike, or something.

And- first and foremost- is it safe for a single woman (25) to be doing all this? I'm not familiar with Puerto Rico at all, except what I've read on these forums. Obviously I will be careful here as I would in ANY city- but anything I should be concerned about? I figure if I can handle new york,I can handle PR.

Saint Louis...
Level Contributor
34 posts
42 reviews
11. Re: 1 Week Puerto Rico- Solo Female- Itinerary assistance?

P.S. there are really nice condo options that are probably more comfortable than hotels in San Juan (probably elsewhere also). You can read about one I stayed at if you go to my 'reviews'. Personally I almost never stay in hotels, I'd rather stay in B&Bs or the like, but everyone is different.

Puerto Rico
1 post
12. Re: 1 Week Puerto Rico- Solo Female- Itinerary assistance?

As a native Puerto Rican, I absolutely agree with "idiotsabroad". Do not stay in San Juan for more than a day or two. Stay just long enough to explore Old San Juan. There are paradores all over the island where you can stay close to any place of interest. Just get in your rental car and drive from place to place. Visit La Piedra Escrita, go to Toro Negro (the other rain forest),go to Guavate for Lechon. Vist the caves. I recommend you get your hands on a "Que Pasa" magazine for a list of tours (they are usually available at hotels upon check-in but perhaps you can write to the Puerto Rico Dept. of Tourism for a copy). Do a day trip to Culebra. Ferry leave from Fajardo. Be prepared to want to stay a night to two there. If you enjoy biking your way around, that is the place to do it. Not on the big island. Stay safe and enjoy.

Washington DC...
Destination Expert
for St. Thomas
Level Contributor
3,255 posts
209 reviews
13. Re: 1 Week Puerto Rico- Solo Female- Itinerary assistance?

Okay...I have a little different take on things. If I were going on a cruise leaving from San Juan, I probably would not spend time on Culebra or Vieques before the trip. Why? Because most cruises leaving from San Juan go to the Southern Caribbean or out to Aruba, Caracao, etc. and the Southern Caribbean, especially -- St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, etc. -- has such gorgeous beaches and natural scenery. So...personally, I'd do the other stuff in PR.

Like what? I'd stay part of the time in Old San Juan (Hotel El Convento, if you can afford it; Hotel Milano or Sheraton, if not). If you're not interested in museums, you may/may not be interested in the old Spanish forts, cathedrals, and other historical places, but they really are worth a look-see. And you can do it in a day, if that's what you want. But just a day trip to OSJ? No. Because there are so many wonderful places to eat you'll want to have at least a couple lunches & dinners here. And there are some really interesting art galleries and unique shops (like Butterfly People, for example).

Using Old San Juan as a base (of, if you prefer, you can stay on the beach in Isla Verde)you can get day tours to many of the places you've mentioned -- the caves, the biobay, etc. and you will be going with groups, so that alleviates the concern over safety.

You might hire a taxi (not cheap)to drive the Panoramic Route or take a tour of one of the coffee plantations or even stay a couple of nights at a paradore like Hacienda Gripinas or Casa Grande Mountain Retreat (NOT the Ritz, by any stretch; but full of character). Travelers like these kinds of places; tourists do not. So depends...

Safety: Yes, a couple of weeks ago this horrible incident happened to this young woman and it is something to take into consideration. But this sort of thing has happened and will continue to happen round the world. I've been to many third world countries and am aware of the kind of vigilance that is needed in those places, but I still go because of the awesome experiences I've had in those places. BUT I am extremely cautious. The following are my personal DON'Ts... (for any city/country that I am not familiar with)

I don't go to deserted beaches, don't walk down deserted streets, don't sit on a bench in a deserted park. If nobody's around, I head for someplace else.

I don't walk anywhere at night. If I go out, I taxi door to door. It's one thing if there are tons of people on the street celebrating Carnival, for example, but otherwise I'm taking a cab.

I don't jog on any trails anywhere without other people with me. I use the fitness center.

I ALWAYS ask the hotel desk to call a cab at night, check with them about the right tours or guides, ask them about areas/neighborhoods to avoid, get advice on what to do and see, etc. Ask and listen.

Although terrible things do happen during the daytime, much of the time crimes happen at night in the wee hours and involve drinking or drugs or hanging out in sketchy places.

The old saying that there is safety in numbers is a truism, but that doesn't mean you can't travel alone. Just park somewhere in a convenient hotel and sign up for tours -- you'll meet people, feel safe, and I've always found the PR tour guides to be excellent and great sources of all kinds of useful info.

new york
Level Contributor
123 posts
12 reviews
14. Re: 1 Week Puerto Rico- Solo Female- Itinerary assistance?

I am from NY and felt more police presence in PR than in NY. We traveled to PR last year in April (going back again this April). We saw SO MANY police patroling the area. We felt very safe, but we were always back to the hotel & condo by 10:00 each night. We stayed at a COndo in DOrado and a the Hilton in Ponce. It is a beautiful place- bring an IPOD to give yourself that added "insulation" and keep your cell on you-always. Back when, I used to travel alone and LOVED it!

Toledo, Ohio
Level Contributor
806 posts
1 review
15. Re: 1 Week Puerto Rico- Solo Female- Itinerary assistance?

I only disagree with Dallas on the issue of not visiting Culebra or Vieques. The reason is that when you are on your cruise you will see beautiful beaches that are comparable, but good luck finding a peaceful place to actually enjoy the beach with your 10,000 new friends.

Puerto Rico
Destination Expert
for San Juan
Level Contributor
4,790 posts
24 reviews
16. Re: 1 Week Puerto Rico- Solo Female- Itinerary assistance?

This would be my choice with the things you would like to do:

2 nights in Fajardo to see the bio bay and Rainforest

2 nights in Isabela for horseback riding, see the Caguana Indian Ceremonial park, Camy Caves, surfing or snorkeling

3 nights in San Juan , Isla Verde would be my choice. Very safe, everything in walking distance like Hotels, Restaurants, Casinos, shops and has a beautifull beach with jetski rental and parasailing. You can also book a zipline tour from San Juan at any Hotel Tour desk.Old San Juan is a must and the weekend is great, because they have local Artist selling there goods.

The Miramar area would not be a good choice. There you really need to get a Taxi to go anywhere. The area is a little run down, check out the reviews.

17. Re: 1 Week Puerto Rico- Solo Female- Itinerary assistance?

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