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LODGING & PAMPERING | Comprehensive Guide To San Juan, Puerto Rico

Booking Your Hotel

Booking a hotel room in San Juan is the same as in the continental U.S. Identifying an acceptable room for your stay is more complicated.

The best resources for screening your lodgings are Yelp and Trip Advisor. The reviews on those sites are amazingly accurate; after all, they are written by people like you who have actually stayed at that hotel.

Tips:

Pay attention to the reviews! Negative reviews are especially helpful. One or two negative reviews can be dismissed, but if you see repeated complaints about the same thing (bad customer service, dirty rooms), chances are the reviews are accurate.

Never book a room in a hotel with 3 stars or less. The cautious traveler will avoid 3.5 stars. The star rating system of Yelp and Trip Advisor accurately reflect the quality of services of San Juan’s hotels. The star rating system is not based upon price or degree of luxury; the star system analyzes a luxury hotel as compared to  other luxury hotels, budget hotels as compared with other budget hotels.

Never compromise your expectations because of price. If a hotel is rock bottom in rates, but has a 2 or 3 star review, then you will probably have a miserable time in Puerto Rico. Trip Advisor and Yelp are free services, it is up to you use those resources when planning your vacation.

Once you have identified acceptable hotels, the next thing is to locate the area of San Juan you prefer. San Juan's Tourist Zone is very long and varied in its offerings. A hotel should be selected based on both its reputation as well as its match for your vacation expectations. If you are an adventurous bar hopper, Condado or Old San Juan would be your ideal location. If you prefer the finest that resort can offer, Isla Verde would top out your list. If you are visiting for a convention, the Convention Center is the most obvious choice.

Put planning in to your vacation, and feel free to email La Bochinchosa with your vacation-related questions.

Choosing An Area For Your Stay

San Juan is a major metropolitan city. Most tourists will be staying the “tourist zone”, the portion of San Juan that begins on the Old San Juan peninsula and continues east through the neighboring city of Carolina. The Tourist Zone is less than a mile deep but nearly ten miles long.

The areas where hotels and guest houses are located each offer different amenities.

Old San Juan is a congested, European-style area with sidewalk cafes and shopping.  There is no swimming in Old San Juan and no hotel has a full-size pool. There are, however, casinos, restaurants, nightclubs, museums, tours, and a host of other attractions to delight visitors.

Condado is a commercial center that runs parallel to the Ocean. Condado is one of Puerto Rico’s most exclusive neighborhoods. There are a few beaches for swimming and many of the hotels have outdoor pools. Condado has restaurants, nightclubs, a spattering of shops, and hotels with casinos.

Convention Center lies to the south of Condado and adjoins Miramar. Convention Center and Miramar have limited swimming opportunities, and are accessible only by cab or bus from the tourism centers of Old San Juan and Condado.

Ocean Park has a handful of guest houses, and boasts San Juan’s most beautiful beaches. Ocean Park is a residential neighborhood with few stores, but adjacent Calle Loiza is only a block away for adventurous tourists who want to experience Puerto Rican culture within the safety of the Tourist Zone.

Isla Verde is home to San Juan’s great resort hotels. Technically, Isla Verde is located in the city of Carolina, not San Juan. The beaches of Isla Verde are world renowned, and the resorts will afford ample entertainment and pleasure to guests. There is limited shopping in Isla Verde but its resorts and beaches are the finest in metropolitan San Juan.

All areas in the Tourist Zone are accessible by bus, as shown on La Bochinchosa’s bus map. Cabs are also available for transportation between the various areas.

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