Pedro MartinezPedro is a Technology Leader, former CIO/CTO and co-founder, speaker, father of 3, former paratrooper and US Army veteran.  He counts with 19 years of experience in Tech.  Follow Pedro for valuable information about Cloud adoption and overall Digital Transformation.

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Escape to Puerto Rico

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Piñones Beach

Photo: Overlooking Piñones Beach

I was asked about traveling to Puerto Rico at the November’s Social Media Club of Richmond, Virginia (@SMCRVA on Twitter), which by the way, was a total success.  I probably get that questions asked 5 or 6 times every year.  So I’ve decided to copy, paste and modify some of my email responses I’ve sent in the past about the subject, and create a blog post with.  Yes, I keep all my emails and I have a huge archive (don’t know why).

If you are planning to go to Puerto Rico, I strongly recommend you invest 5 minutes on Wikipedia.  It will answer most of the very basic questions about the island, if you never been there.  Nope, been at the airport doesn’t count as been in Puerto Rico, unless you had Captain Morgan and Coke there.

Puerto Rico is where I was born and grew up, so when I go visit, I stay with family and/or friends, but know a lot of people that have recommended a few places to stay, in this order of preference:

  • El Conquistador:  Orbitz and run specials on it all the time.  El Conquistador Resort own a private island that’s truly paradise.  Other than the price, you’ll love it.  Make sure you search for those special packages.
  • Embassy Suites:  Excellent for the prices, I heard a few times.  Embassy Suites at Dorado Beach has what you need.  Search Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico for other hotels in the area.  20 minute drive from San Juan, but hotels offer shuttles and rides to Old San Juan.
  • Most hotels in the Isla Verde area (search with Hotels, Carolina, Puerto Rico or click ).  The good thing about this area is that it’s near Old San Juan where you can do some serious bar hoping, shopping, visit museums and do all the things tourist want to do.

Car Rental

You can find all major car rentals companies in Puerto Rico.  Save money by renting a car with the travel package.  If you don’t, I personally use and recommend Budget Car Rental.  Make sure you check out their RapidRez and Fastbreak programs; they are free and makes renting a car a painless experience.  I will not rent a car from Enterprise in Puerto Rico ever again.  Long story…


Beaches in Puerto Rico are like wine; you’ll have one for every taste.  Here are a few that you might like in my order of preference:

  • Luquillo Beach : Located in the beautiful town of Luquillo, Luquillo Beach is one that anyone will enjoy.  This beach is calm for the most part.  Sea reefs break most waves a couple of miles away from the shore, so you will get very low wave, if any.  The facilities has been built to cater to tourist with plenty of parking ($2 last time I’ve checked), restrooms and shower facilities and kiosk for food and drinks, and yes, including alcohol.
  • Palomino & Icacos:  Off shore, near Fajardo, few islets can be found. These are Icacos, Palominos (which is administered by El Conquistador Resort & Casino), Palominito and Diablo, among other uninhabited coral islands.  You need to get there by boat, which are normally provided by the hotels in the area.  I normally look for a couple of local fisherman to taxi us there, but I don’t recommend it for tourist.  You just never know…
  • Vieques Beaches:  Vieques is a tiny island of Puerto Rico.  You can get there by boat or plane.  I prefer the 7-minute plane ride, plus the view is magnificent.  Here is a link to a website that describes best the beaches of Viques: Click Here
  • Dorado Beach: located 28 minutes west of the airport, Dorado Beach is also a decent beach to hang out or relax.

What to do in Puerto Rico?

Lechón Asao

Photo: Lechón Asao

I’m not even going to attempt to answer that, but I will tell you what I enjoy doing:

  1. Drinking.
  2. Going to los Kioskos de Luquillo:  next to Luquillo beach, you can find a strip of kiosks that have local food, drinks of all kinds and souvenirs. I recommend the very last one called “La Roca Taína.”  Also, right in front of them you will find and old orange truck where they sell fresh oysters and clams.  Say hi to Tito for me while you are there.
  3. Drinking.
  4. Walking around Old San Juan:  I truly enjoy sightseeing and walking around 400-year old architecture, while stopping for food and drinks along the way.
  5. Drinking.
  6. Relaxing at the beach (behind Los Kioskos de Luquillo) while sipping on Heinekens and eating all things unhealthy.
  7. Drinking.
  8. Hiking at El Yunque Rain Forest: Located in my hometown, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Visit EscapeToPuertoRico. That is an awesome guide to plenty of activities around the island.  You can check the local schedule for festivals, fairs and carnivals (   I’m not sure when you are going, but whenever there is a festival or carnival in San Juan, it’s a total blast.  I took a couple of wifey’s friends in 2007 to one of them, now they want to move there.

La Calle de San Sebastián

Photo: Fiestas de La Calle de San Sebastián Jan 2009

Plane Tickets

I use Orbitz for all my trips around the world, because it simply works for me.  With that said, I don’t really recommend a single place to purchase your tickets or vacation package.  Use what has worked for you, but make sure you do your research.  I’ve recently paid $215 for a round-trip ticket between RIC – SJU.

I will keep editing this post with updated information as it becomes available to me by you, the travelers.  When you go to Puerto Rico, please leave a comment below and share your experience, photos and tips; I really will love to know.

Have a great trip and feel free to contact me with questions and/or tips.

Cheers & Long Ashes!