I was pretty excited – The San Juan Marriott in Puerto Rico invited my daughter and me down for a visit, for a peek at what to do in Puerto Rico with kids. While I always thought myself to be a pretty knowledgeable person, I truthfully knew very little about the destination for our mother-daughter working vacation, inclusive of 7 meagre tidbits:
–Ricky Martin is from Puerto Rico.
–Jennifer Lopez’s parents are from Puerto Rico.
–The characters in West Side Story are Puerto Rican.
–Nuyorican Soul (Nuyorican is a slang term for Puerto Ricans living in New York) was a collective with some pretty classic House Music tracks (I had a brief club phase in the mid-’90s, don’t judge!)
–Bacardi Rum is Puerto Rican
–Puerto Rico is not an official US state, but Puerto Ricans get a US passport (Ricky Martin told me this. Seriously!)
Pretty pathetic, huh? But in the few short days we spent there, Puerto Rico captured my heart and we can’t wait to return with the whole family. I’ve been humming “La Isla Bonita” for a week, and I’m pretty sure Madonna must’ve written that song with Puerto Rico in mind.
In future postings, I’ll get into deeper detail about where we went, what we did, and what we ate, but in a nutshell – here’s what I loved about Puerto Rico, and why it’s a great (and easy) destination for family travel:
–Every conceivable type of accommodation is available in Puerto Rico, for every budget. The San Juan Marriott is one of the nicer beach resorts Puerto Rico has to offer, but there’s something for everyone. Prefer to rent a villa, Puerto Rico has them. Are you an All Inclusive Resorts family? Puerto Rico has them. Want baby equipment rentals? Puerto Rico has them too.
–Americans don’t need a passport to visit Puerto Rico, and currency is all in US dollars. In fact, some don’t incur roaming costs on their mobile phones!
–There is no malaria in Puerto Rico, and the water is safe to drink from the tap.
–There is a wide range of food & drink options, and stores offer every necessity for babies and little kids at regular prices. The Walgreens across from the San Juan Marriott had organic baby food and even the Baby Mum Mum rusks that I couldn’t find in Florida. (BTW, Puerto Rican food? Aweome.)
–Pretty much everyone speaks English, although falling in love with yet another Latin destination has just reaffirmed my need/desire to learn Spanish.
–Puerto Rico offers great beaches as well as city stuff, tropical rainforest, cool caves, and interesting history. There’s truly something for everyone.
Something wonderful also happened on our Puerto Rican mini-break, our mother-daughter bond got a lot tighter, and I fell madly in love with my girl all over again. The past year’s been tough with all the adjustments of becoming a big sister. As much as mommy-daddy time is essential to keeping your marriage healthy, I now see the benefits in having solo parent time as well. Sibcations? Kidcations? Expect an upcoming piece on that too.
Big thanks to the San Juan Marriott, Diamond PR, and the lovely #SJMoms who were also on this trip: Amber (Crazy Canuck Blog), Debbie (Delicious Baby), and Colleen (Travel Mamas).
Thanks for posting this! I was there in March with my husand and daugher (she was 18 months old at the time) and we had a great time … great island for kids. Very easy to get around in and lots to do.
There were lots of calm, gorgeous beaches and we all loved running all over El Morro and hiking in the rainforest.
It is VERY Americanized (by Caribbean standards) which is to be expected as it is part of the US technically which can be off-putting but it was definitely a lot of fun.
BTW, I have a funny picture of my daughter and husband in front of the same mural!
I agree that it is very Americanized – but it was actually less so than I anticipated. Plus, I was grateful for a McDonalds when my daughter needed the bathroom while we were traipsing around Old San Juan!
Soon I hope to add new destinations to the main site, and Puerto Rico is one of them. I’d love to hear more about your trip one day!
Can’t wait to read more! Love the pic of Megan lying in the grass at El Morro.
Love it! I’m glad you liked Puerto Rico. If you or anyone needs a local “non-official guide”, I’m your gal! 🙂
Hola! I’m here with my husband, my mom and our two daughters–2yrs and 5mo. We are in Luquillo. We only have 2 more full days and fly out on thursday 26th. My mom needs to be at the airport at 3pm, but our flight doesn’t leave til 7:45pm, I think.
We did El Yunque today and had a good time and got rained on at Luquillo beach the other day. We may go back. But if you have another toddler friendly option here or close, I’d love to hear it! We may try Old San Juan the day we leave, but I don’t know if much will be open, if T.givign is celebrated in any way here.
Hi Michelle–I hope you found something fun? Running around on the lawn at El Morro would be great fun for a toddler.
Beautiful! I have never been to Puerto Rico before-I will plan my next vacation with that in mind-thanks
My husband was born in puerto rico and we went down last summer, we are from Connecticut, and I fell in love with the island. So much so that we bought a home and are moving. We are traveling back this month with our six month old and I am interested to see how he will do flying. I can’t wait until we are officially moved in. We choose a home in a nice little town named patillas right on the Caribbean ocean. I am looking forward to showing my baby puerto rico,last ssummer he came with us in utero, now he can see the beautiful island and meet his family!
Wait…why didn’t I hear your story about meeting Ricky Martin while we were in Puerto Rico?! Do tell!
In the olden days in my previous career, I was there for a big interview for a documentary on him I was helping with.
Funny thing was Behind The Music was there shooting with him as well, and he’s kissing me goodbye in the BTM credit roll montage. Just one of my lame claims to fame! 😉
My family will be flying from Costa Rica to Puerto Rico this summer, cant wait for the vacation. I also found that there are some very budget friendly hotels, its always hard when traveling with a family of 5.
Thanks for all the fun facts, especially that the water is safe to drink
Keep up the great work!
Please refer to our calendar for availability on your next vacation.
We have a comfortable apartment in Isla Verde, where five persons can enjoy,
Located in beautiful Isla Verde Beach on the 9th floor of a condominium with 24-hour security, a large swimming pool and assigned parking. Walking to shops, night life, casinos, fine dining and fast food, water sports and much more!
To rent it at Airbnb.com find the title “COZY, OCEANVIEW 1 BEDROOM APT” with a photo of the living room and my sister and I.
I’ll be traveling with an 8 month old to the Caribe Hilton. My husband is very concerned about the possibly of baby getting sick/injured in PR. Do you know anything about the medical care there?
Puerto Rico is VERY developed — with lots of hospitals and clinics. Make sure you have good travel insurance and double check that baby is included on the policy. I LOVED Puerto Rico. Have a great time!
I am going to stay at the San Juan Marriott in August with my husband, my 9 year old, and my 7 month old. We are not renting a car. Any excursions or must sees? Would you book directly with the company or go through the hotel? I’ve read some reviews that the hotel is negligent with answering the phone and cleaning. What is your advice about getting from the airport to the hotel and vice versa? I’m stressing out a bit. Please help.
Our trip was a while back but the hotel offered a shuttle service to and from the airport that was very reasonable. I found the Marriott to be as clean as other Marriotts we’ve stayed in around the world. With a 7mo the beach will be the most fun for all of you and your older child. The pool there is wonderful as well. Some of the excursions are quite active which would be fine for your older child but might not be appropriate with a baby in tow. I can say that a day wandering around Old San Juan would be fine for the baby and made more inviting for your older child with a promise of a piragua (snow cone) at El Morro 🙂
We are looking into a trip to San Juan and weren’t sure how it works if we aren’t bringing a car. We would still need to bring car seat for excursions? Or would it be best to just rent a car? Our daughter will be 20 months.
Renting a car would be the easiest or you could very likely hire a taxi for the day if you’re just planning on doing the odd excursion. Have a great trip!!