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mitsugirly

No clue what to do this time???

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We have been here many times by ship and also before and after cruising and stayed many days prior to cruising.

 

We are only in port from 7-3pm

 

We have pretty much walked all over OSJ multiple times: going to the forts, seeing all the statues, fountains, along the waterfront, pigeon park, churches and parks, to see the presidents and several places to eat.

 

Outside of OSJ we have been to Pamela's (Numero Uno) along (I'm not 100% sure the beach name...)Ocean Park beach area.

Beaches in Luquillo

Beaches in Isla Verde

and Palomino Island (by El Conquistador)

 

We are normally beach loving people but would consider other things.

 

I have always wanted to tour the rain forest, but there's not enough time for that this time around since we are coming by cruise ship.

 

Is there any other beaches worth going to? Any other tours worth doing? (Nor really interested in a tour like Barcardi or a tour that goes to a facility on "how to make" whatever). Those are boring to us.

 

I have recently read about the place Balneario El Escambrón when I was looking into possibly finding a place to scuba dive. All of the pictures I had seen during diving seem to have stirred up water (and I know it is located on the side of the forts, which is not calm water). Anyone been here or any thoughts of the area and swimming/snorkeling?

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Well, technically you could you do your tour of El Yunque on that schedule. But I'd suggest you rent a car for it. There's a rental company that has an office at the Sheraton in Old San Juan. I'd be off the ship as soon as that gangway hits the pier and head to get the car. You guys have driven in PR so it'll be easier for you to get re-acquainted with roads and signage. You'd also beat all the cruise ship tours so you'll have the place almost to yourselves for a while. The upper trails of the forest have yet to re-open but you can get to La Coca falls and to the Yokahu Tower for sightseeing and if you want to take a dip in the cold water, the Juan Diego Falls trail is a very short hike to the falls or you can head back down to the Puente Roto area. If you're in the car by 8am and assuming you have to be back before 2:30pm, you should have 3.5 hours to explore the forest (allotting 1:15 return drive time from Juan Diego fall or about 50 minutes from Puente Roto). It's about an hour drive to the La Coca falls and you should encounter very little traffic along the way on a mostly highway (with two tolls) drive. Me? I'd end the trip with a dip at the Puente Roto area and be on the car, ready to go at 1pm. It can be hectic but you get you El Yunque visit and do something new in PR!

 

 

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12 hours ago, Stinger-pr said:

Well, technically you could you do your tour of El Yunque on that schedule. But I'd suggest you rent a car for it. There's a rental company that has an office at the Sheraton in Old San Juan. I'd be off the ship as soon as that gangway hits the pier and head to get the car. You guys have driven in PR so it'll be easier for you to get re-acquainted with roads and signage. You'd also beat all the cruise ship tours so you'll have the place almost to yourselves for a while. The upper trails of the forest have yet to re-open but you can get to La Coca falls and to the Yokahu Tower for sightseeing and if you want to take a dip in the cold water, the Juan Diego Falls trail is a very short hike to the falls or you can head back down to the Puente Roto area. If you're in the car by 8am and assuming you have to be back before 2:30pm, you should have 3.5 hours to explore the forest (allotting 1:15 return drive time from Juan Diego fall or about 50 minutes from Puente Roto). It's about an hour drive to the La Coca falls and you should encounter very little traffic along the way on a mostly highway (with two tolls) drive. Me? I'd end the trip with a dip at the Puente Roto area and be on the car, ready to go at 1pm. It can be hectic but you get you El Yunque visit and do something new in PR!

 

 

 

Thanks for the info Stinger. I really wanted to do the tour of El Yunque on a land vacation. I honestly don't feel comfortable enough doing it on our own and driving during a day in port that's short (IMO) even though I've drove out that way and feel comfortable on the roads in PR. I think I'm going to save that for a land vacation when we are there again.

 

Can you tell me more about the Balneario El Escambron? Is the beach decent and how's the snorkeling? Is it walkable?

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Well darn, I forgot that RCCL docks over on the other side. So, I guess we wouldn't be able to walk there. But would still like info on it.

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15 hours ago, crewsweeper said:

Mitsugirly did you see this drone vid?

 

 Very nice. Thanks for finding and posting that Crew. That helps some. I do know there's that side for the beach and there's another side as well across from the park...or at least it seems like that from looking at google earth.

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Have you been to the Condado lagoon? You can rent kayaks there. You might see a manatee.

 

The dive shop at Escambron Beach offers a snorkel with turtles excursion. I've been checking AirBnB's Experiences for my upcoming land trip to PR in March. My niece is doing a mermaid photo shoot offered by the dive shop so I hope to do the snorkel while we're there. Lots of options on Experiences.

 

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11 hours ago, Ms411 said:

Have you been to the Condado lagoon? You can rent kayaks there. You might see a manatee.

 

The dive shop at Escambron Beach offers a snorkel with turtles excursion. I've been checking AirBnB's Experiences for my upcoming land trip to PR in March. My niece is doing a mermaid photo shoot offered by the dive shop so I hope to do the snorkel while we're there. Lots of options on Experiences.

 

 

Ohhh, that sounds like fun. I wonder if the manatees are there all the time in the lagoon or if they come and go depending on the time of the year. I'll definitely check them out. I didn't even realize there was a lagoon there.

 

I did see the place with the turtles excursion and also the mermaid photo shoot. My daughter has 8 of those mermaid tails and is a pro at swimming in them since she was young. Your niece will have a blast!

 

Thanks so much for telling me about the lagoon. Ohhhh, decisions! :D

 

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Kim, I have yet to snorkel at Escambron but I hear it's a bit lackluster for snorkeling. Diving on the other hand seems to be good. The only problem I see from a bunch of videos I've seen is the murkiness of the water and, depending on the time of year and wind, the surf can also be a big factor. I'll link to a YT search for videos about diving there. Seems like there's basically one company that provides "dive shop" services in the area so I can't be any more specific here.

 

YT videos: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=escambron+scuba

 

About walking, it's roughly two miles one-way. So figure about a 30-40 minute walk. You'd have to walks towards Castillo San Cristobal fort and walk east on that sidewalk along the outer wall, past the capitol building until you reach the beach entrance. The dive area is on the far side of where the entrance is located. There's no places to get food at Escambron but you'll find two options along the way: KFC and El Hamburger <-😉

 

If you'd rather go to the Condado lagoon it's almost 3 miles. It's an ok place for snorkeling, especially on the Condado Plaza side of the bridge since it's right besides one of the main water inlets from sea.. But the manatee sightings (which are very common) have happened over on the lagoon side, on the other side of the bridge. If you go for kayak or SUP rental, I think you'd be better off with a taxi or contacting the company that runs the kayak shop to see if they provide pick up/drop off service (do a search for "Condado lagoon kayak").

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On 2/7/2020 at 12:30 PM, mitsugirly said:

Well darn, I forgot that RCCL docks over on the other side. So, I guess we wouldn't be able to walk there. But would still like info on it.

Royal docks in Old San Juan on port calls. They only use Pan American terminal for cruises starting or ending in San Juan.

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4 hours ago, Stinger-pr said:

Kim, I have yet to snorkel at Escambron but I hear it's a bit lackluster for snorkeling. Diving on the other hand seems to be good. The only problem I see from a bunch of videos I've seen is the murkiness of the water and, depending on the time of year and wind, the surf can also be a big factor. I'll link to a YT search for videos about diving there. Seems like there's basically one company that provides "dive shop" services in the area so I can't be any more specific here.

 

YT videos: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=escambron+scuba

 

About walking, it's roughly two miles one-way. So figure about a 30-40 minute walk. You'd have to walks towards Castillo San Cristobal fort and walk east on that sidewalk along the outer wall, past the capitol building until you reach the beach entrance. The dive area is on the far side of where the entrance is located. There's no places to get food at Escambron but you'll find two options along the way: KFC and El Hamburger <-😉

 

If you'd rather go to the Condado lagoon it's almost 3 miles. It's an ok place for snorkeling, especially on the Condado Plaza side of the bridge since it's right besides one of the main water inlets from sea.. But the manatee sightings (which are very common) have happened over on the lagoon side, on the other side of the bridge. If you go for kayak or SUP rental, I think you'd be better off with a taxi or contacting the company that runs the kayak shop to see if they provide pick up/drop off service (do a search for "Condado lagoon kayak").

 

Yea every video I have seen of Escambron shows that the water is pretty stirred up or murky looking. I have even seen some scuba video's and to me, they leave nothing to be desired. But, I thought maybe the people taking the video's just don't have a decent camera. But now, especially after seeing more YT video's, I'm thinking it's just the place.

 

Walking wouldn't work for me if it's that far away and especially coming from the RCCL pier.

 

So the Condado Lagoon, I have looked at google earth and can't really see much of a beach there other than a small area closer to the inlet and main road area? The company (Aqua Fitness) seem to get excellent reviews and a lot of manatee sightings. But it looks like their shop is located on the opposite side of this beach area I see on the map. I'm trying to figure out where the manatee and more shallow area is located (so that you'd be able to actually see something in the water). I have seen pictures of stingrays, manatees and starfish.

 

In this photo, I have marked Aqua Fitness, which seems to be in an area with no entrance to the lagoon, so I'm not sure how they do this but plan on contacting them. Then all the way across the water is the little beach area (which I'm not even sure if that's what it is). Where are you saying the manatee's usually are?

 

 

condado%20lagoon-L.jpg

 

Edited by mitsugirly

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19 minutes ago, njhorseman said:

Royal docks in Old San Juan on port calls. They only use Pan American terminal for cruises starting or ending in San Juan.

 

 

Oh really? Well that's good to know. Thanks so much for that!!!

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There is a beach across the street from the lagoon and it's protected from the open water by a natural barrier. The beach is small though. The hotel (Hilton?) provides chairs but may be for their guests only. I stayed at the Marriott in Condado one trip and there are some tide pools further up from there that make for good photos if you time it right.

 

I have walked from Condado to Old San Juan many times so I see things people driving don't see. That's how I discovered the lagoon, the tide pools, and the calm beach area. 

 

I think I'm also going to do a tour to La Perla in March to look for Sea Glass and make a pendant. That's also offered through Airbnb Experiences.

 

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I can't seem to get an answer back from VIP where they rent the kayaks.

 

Ms411 or Stinger, can you tell me the area where the manatees are usually seen at from the map I posted above? Is it by the bridge within the lagoon area or do you go under the bridge to the other side? Can you actually snorkel in this lagoon around the edges or is it too deep?

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I posted the link to a company that offers the tours in another thread so I'll see if I can find it and post it in this thread. According to the review they did go to another area outside the lagoon to snorkel, but they saw the manatees in the lagoon. I have read several reviews where people said they saw them when they were paddle boarding in the lagoon.

 

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Here's the link. But, there might be other reviews on other sites. I don't remember what's on their Facebook page and don't have time to reread it.

 

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