Travel Advice Articles
Our travel advice category is designed to cover tipping, shopping hotspots and all kinds of cultural insights geared towards travelers to Puerto Rico. We'll tell you which neighborhoods to avoid, which places are over-rated, and what off-the-beaten-path places you simply can't miss. Our staff of writers will focus largely in this area.
Whether you're looking for tips on how to find the best airlines, vacation hotspots, or the tips and tricks you might overlook, or not know to think about, we offer a variety of unique articles to insure your trip is a smooth one.
Latest Travel Advice Headlines:
Confusing Latin American Geographies - So, this isn't so relevant, I think, but it is kind of humorous. Watching some Italian singing contest show (we get Rai here... I know, I know, it's no good but it's the only thing we have in Italian and, like a surprising number of Puerto Ricans, my friend studies Italian, so we have it on frequently), they have on some Argentine... I think footballer player?
The Best Beaches of Puerto Rico - Being an island, there are, of course, lots of beaches in Puerto Rico. Quality varies, but the geographical location is the greatest determining factor. North and east-side beaches touch the Atlantic. Most of these beaches are decent, but in general are nothing particularly special.
Speaking like a Boricua - This post is one of the most important ones, whether you're looking to work, live or just visit Puerto Rico. You have to know how to speak like a Boricua. Well, you don't have to, but it can really help.
Word of the Week: Zafacón - So we just happened to start talking about this and I thought posting it was imperative, since it's a real useful word.
Good News for Gay Puerto Rico - The infamous Resolución 99 didn't get passed. The goals of it were to restrict all marriage to unions between a man and a woman... you know, the usual. Here is Gay.com's article.
Go to Puerto Rico! Please! - So again, I'm urging everyone to go to Puerto Rico. Not because I or anyone I know gets something from it (I wish!), but just because it is an amazing place with something for everyone.
Semana Santa in Puerto Rico (an Easter Thing) - So, my favorite Swede living in Puerto Rico (not that there are that many anyways!) asked me how Puerto Ricans celebrate Easter and semana santa in comparison to Spain and other parts of Latin America.
Puerto Rican Coffee, or Why You've Never Had Any - Before the Spanish-American War, coffee was one of the strongest industries of Puerto Rico. Along with sugar and tobacco, it dominated exports. So why is it today nearly unheard of?
Río Piedras Bookstore Delight - Yesterday we took a short field trip to Río Piedras so I could go book-shopping. I'm a closet voracious reader and the only way to get books from the island is to go shopping here, or at least until the bookstores get their act together and start selling them online (one has already started – but I'll get to that in a minute.)While I'm guessing there are bookstores all around the island, the only ones I know of and the ones that are most familiar to Puerto Ricans in the metro area are the ones in Río Piedras. Because the University of Puerto Rico's main campus is located there, bookstores have been built all around it. I really do mean all around it--the streets right off of campus have plenty of bookstores. Not surprising since the university publishes nearly all the books about the island.
(also, see more pictures from Rio Piedras.)
More Photos from Rio Piedras - If you want a better taste of Rio Piedras, these photos taken by our own Allison W. might give you a better idea.
Airlines All Equally Yucky at Customer Service - With all the articles I spread and share the world over, you've got to hold an ounce of doubt about me. I'm young, less-than-seasoned and juvenile in more ways than I'd ever admit short of my own daddy paying it unduly upon me after I've already cleared an article to run. Beyond that, a big thing I've learned is that there are no good airlines left, not even a single one, and that they're all just a bunch of clowny-jerks. That's right, I said it, "Clowny-Jerks!"
Word(s) of the Week: Cucubano and Cucullo, Plus Tony Croatto - Tonight I was outside, enjoying the breezy dusk we were having here. It's summertime, of course, and the cool nights nearly make up for the muggy days. Anyways, I called my friend over to look at the fireflies, which were everywhere. She was pretty impressed with how many there were... enough, I suppose, to call her mom and tell her about it.
Saunter Ponies-Up Fun, Regardless of Naysaying - Think back, if you're able, to a time when you were outweighed by a load of groceries. Sure, it was a simpler time, a time when even the littlest things made you happy. I know this because I am myself so unafflicted by the confines of gravity, and the things of greatest minutia indeed delight me in spades. In this case, specifically, it's a pony.
Speaking with Facial Expressions - So early on in the creation of the blog I made a post about the Puerto Rican accent in Spanish. I've gotten a bit distracted from talking about language and how Puerto Ricans speak... not entirely, of course, but of course everything comes down to politics, so a fair part of the blog has been, for better or worse, dedicated to that. I think it's about time I returned to a language topic though.
Jorge Nunez Advances, Tatiana Blows Her Second Chance - Just a couple days ago we made the bold prediction that American Idol finalist Jorge Nunez was sure to be eliminated, and that Puerto Rico's best chance at the finals was the unlikely possibility that Tatiana Nicole Del Toro would be brought back in the judge's wild card round… boy did we miss the mark on that one. Jorge wasn't ranked 4th out of all the guys, but 3rd overall. And Tatiana finally got a fair shot, she just didn't live up to it.
Use of English in Puerto Rico, or, How to Deal with the Inevitable "Gringo" Label - So I was asked recently if Americans speak English or Spanish while living in Puerto Rico. The answer is a bit complicated so I want to start with some history first.
Cockfighting is Still Legal in Puerto Rico - Cockfighting, surprisingly, is still legal in Puerto Rico, even though it's illegal in the United States (including Louisiana as of late). Interestingly enough, it's legal in Guam as well--maybe it's a U.S. territory thing?
Why Puerto Rico? (A Primer for Would-Be Travelers) - So, as we get started, maybe you're wondering what is so exciting about Puerto Rico, anyways. Why aren't I writing about Mexico or Chile or Spain instead? And why should you be interested in going?
Age Exaggeration Aids Airfare Budget by Hundreds - I may be many things, but one I'm not is a liar. Sure, I may fudge when it comes to curiously missing chocolates or point the finger when it comes to my turn in the blame game, but I don't admit to lying, even when I'm lying down. If not telling the truth is lying, then here's hoping we all can make a tidy fistful of Benjamins everytime we do it. Tell you one thing, we sure did this time.
Initiating Sex with Puerto Ricans and the Word of the Week: Wiki Wiki - So I pull open El Nuevo Día today, and of all things to write an article about, they have one about how Puerto Ricans use language to initiate sexual relations (I can't think of a better way to say that). It's an extremely interesting subject linguistically and I have to admit I am jealous of the researcher.
Passports Pointless por Puerto Rico - In my culture we have many customs but, if you ask people who are not from my culture, you'll find that their experience of American customs is very different. Thing's like body cavities, racial profiling and all kinds of assorted awkwardyness. What's odd though is I flew more than half a day, but never crossed these "customs" clowns.
Blair.com Might Not Be a Scam, Except It Is - I've made the mistake of buying from an online retailer with a short name before, with disastrous results (thanks for nothing, lousy Buy.com,) but the jokers at Blair.com are real scammers in ways I couldn't have even imagined. Order hasn't materialized, tracking numbers never work, and the telephone help is rude at best… good work, guys!
Travelocity Successfully Books Longest Route Possible - Over the course of the past day I've enjoyed many firsts. My first trip to the airport, first nightmare through security screening, and even my first flight on an airplane. Thanks to Travelocity, I not only saved a bundle, but also got to experience my second flight and my third flight as well. Who knew saving money could be so sucky?
Richard Branson's Virgin Airlines Offers Direct London to Puerto Rico Flights - Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited has officially announced that they have signed a deal to begin direct flights between London and Puerto Rico beginning in 2009. Puerto Rico tourism director Terestella Gonzalez says weekly flights will generate about $30 million a year in tourism revenue for the island, and that they will begin very quickly.
Despite Appearance, Tribal Native Denies 'Ninja' Status - It was the strangest thing. We were having a runaway, rampant day out, doing our darnedest to span the landscape of the Puerto Rican interestosphere, regardless of the locals' patent refusals to engage us in our media-istic capacities. It was a trouble we'd faced everywhere, but a resistance I hadn't expected to face was that upon meeting a poorly-wigged tribal re-enactor, who obviously looked like a ninja, that he'd say he wasn't a ninja.
Surviving Long, Foodless Flights to Puerto Rico and Beyond - Apparently things were different before 9/11, but nowadays, airlines aren't just cheap, but they've reinvented cheapness in ways that really astound. If ever there could be a way to make air travel more inconvenient and uncomfortable, they've figured it out. So here's a couple ways you can make your flight more bearable.
Cuevas de Camuy: the K-Mart of Puerto Rico Spelunkholes - Fresh flowers are hard to come by, especially when you live in a warm climate, as we ephemerally do. These are that much harder to find when you add on the language barrier and my total unwillingness to pay any amount of money for them, but I've found a place that has a wide selection, always fresh, and unless I miss my guess, they're free.
Carlito's Bar & Kitchen an Ideal Stopover Dive - Traveling west on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, between Ponce and Cabo Rojo, you aren't going to find a whole lot of reasons to stop. There are periodic festivals, and the town of San German has it's own quaint charm, but you may just be passing through in hopes of finding food or gas. Gas is easy enough, since the service stations down there are fair and reasonable, but let me throw in a quick vote for where you should eat.
McRestaurant McAlmost McReminds McMe of McHome - If you've ever traveled, whether it was across town or across the world, the one thing you wanted more than unlimited outgoing calls from your room was something familiar that reminded you of home. In my case I could think of nothing better or more familiar than passage of those golden arches through which kids come out happy and cows come out hamburger.
Baby Pony Silent, Technically a Little Horse - We had our third shot at giving our local Puerto Rican hotspot a chance the other day and it went pretty well. We once again enjoyed fine food and a good half-hour on the playground, but this time we upped the auntie's ante and partook of the diminutive equine staff on hand and enjoyed ourselves a rousing round of pony rides to boot, despite our wearing sandals.
Craig's List Approaching Critical Mass in Puerto Rico - Savvy browsers the world over are quickly contributing to the downfall of traditional newspapers thanks to their understanding of Craig's List and the basic need for a better way to post classified ads. In many markets Craig's List has struggled to catch on, but Puerto Rico is one of those markets in transition, and it's finally gaining the traction it's long held elsewhere.
Enterprise Truly Earns 6th Straight J.D. Powers Award, These Guys Kick Ass - I've traveled a good million miles and rented cars from pretty much everybody under the sun, and that include the "top rated" likes of Hertz. I've paid the absurd $20 a day for GPS and the accidental $15/day for insurance, but nobody has been as good to me as the people at Enterprise, and I do mean nobody.
Payless Rent-A-Car Profits from Lousy Cars, Rampant Fraud - When I first landed in Puerto Rico, I was scheduled to pick up a car from my very favorite rental car company of all time; Enterprise. They are honest, ethical, and unwaveringly committed to the satisfaction of the consumer (as their top-of-market rating on JD Powers five years running will agree.) Turns out I landed on the opposite side of the island from my reservation, so I was forced to consider other options at the last second, and Payless-Rent-a-Car deliver not just a car, but a headache, hassle, and a busted-ass car all at once.
Puerto Rico Tattoos a Great Way to Get Discount, Lousy Ink, Hepatitis - Puerto Rico is a great place for spring break, corporate conferences gone wild and too many more sorts of potentially crazy getaways to name. One thing that's fun to contemplate while blitzed on the world's most endless supply of cheap, premium rum, is getting a tattoo. There are a perhaps a million reasons why this can be a bad idea, so let's cover just a few of the top ones.
Michel Thomas Spanish Lessons Effective, Hysterical - I know I'm being a bit juvenile here, but we got four different language courses for our big trip to Puerto Rico, and they're all very different. Some are lousy on a good day, others pretty good (but much too long) and one is really, really great, but it's still comical to me. What can I say, Spanish is a funny language.
Fort Caprón Perfect for Everything Except a Visit - We've traveled far, wide, deep and always shallow, so when we were looking for fun things to do in the humble, seaside town of Gúanica, Puerto Rico, we dug in our research heels as best we were able to find things worth writing up. As it turns out, Fort Caprón should be omitted from this list in every case.
Hurridean Cain is Super, Man: Category-3 - We're a bit behind the ball reporting on this one, but Hurricane Dean swept through our Puerto Rican quasi-paradise, and we lived to tell the tale. Sure, you might point out it was barely a category-3 hurricane when it swept across the open ocean some 300-miles to the south of us, but we were pelted with torrential rains, screaming winds, and it was still the sort of thing that makes news, and not just by our own admittedly low thresholds of newsworthiness.
AAA Car Rental Inc Doesn't Live up to Mediocre Reputation - Once I arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I needed a rental car, specifically to get the hell out of Dodge, though in all fairness it's because our business office and accommodations are on the other side of the island. I'd already checked all the rates through the mega-chains, but wanted to try my luck with the local flavor, and what an acrid taste it was.
Coqui Not Quite Ubiquitous, Despite Famous Claims - Prior to visiting Puerto Rico, I had read that the coqui is a ubiquitous nocturnal noisemaker throughout the island, but upon arrival, I learned two important things. First of all, I learned that it isn't ubiquitous, and that there are places where the micro-beasties don't exist. Secondly, I learned that most travel writers are lazy as hell and don't bother to do their own research… which of these is more important to you?
If You're Ever in Sabana Grande, Try Nicky's Pizza - If you're ever in Sabana Grande, and honestly I can't imagine why you would be, you'll find there's nearly nothing in terms of tourist draw. The buildings are quaint and rustic, the people are as friendly as anywhere, but strangely this is a town that really likes pizza, and Nicky's is a good choice.
Garbage in the Heart of Touristland, Puerto Rico - Maybe it's a cultural difference, but where I come from we don't throw garbage on the ground, when we do there's somebody to pick it up, and this is always twice as true for the tourist spots. I couldn't imagine begging tourists to come spend money in my town if there were heaps of garbage beside (and inside) the city park, along the beach, and dotted along every single road.
Puerto Rican Drivers Are a Special Kind of Terrible - Most travelers heading overseas are advised strongly against driving. Unfamiliarity with rules, signs and the custom of local driving attitudes are reason enough to take a bus or taxi, and in those places, the infrastructure supports you doing so. In Puerto Rico you have to have a car if you intend to do any serious traveling, and the driving isn't impossible, but these people drive a special kind of terrible.
Best, Cheapest Luggage, and How Not to Lose it at Baggage Claim - Luggage generally costs somewhere between a lot and way too much, but there are less expensive options if you're not elitist about it. You need fair quality, want decent looks and from there you want to be able to recognize it when it rolls off the carousel. This covers all those bases.
Every Puerto Rican Town Shares the Same Unique Charm - When you get to the heart of a small, old town, like Lajas, Yauco, Gúanica or Sabana Grande, you find a unique, antique charm. The sort of thing you've read about but can't quite express until you're there. You should plan to visit a few such towns on your trip, but there's no reason to go crazy with it, because the charm they have, they all have in common.
Puerto Rico Children's Museum No Place for Kids - We took a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico last week and we saw a bunch of newsworthy things that really rocked the boat of our ability to take the cake. We'll cover all of them in uncomfortable detail in coming weeks, but first I have to point out the horrible travesty on child-named attractions that is the Puerto Rico Children's Museum. All I can say is that it's no place for kids.
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