Coming to Palmas Del Mar, Puerto Rico? Here are some fast facts for you to get booked and comfortable.
1. Places to stay:
This is where I recommend to book: Stay West Indies
It's best to book right on that site. If you are planning to stay close to the Prince family then book in the area of ‘Palmas Del Mar'. Below is a screenshot of Puerto Rico. San Juan is the big city and where the airport is located. The red marker on the map is where Palmas Del Mar is located. Southern eastern side of the island.
2. Transportation from the airport to Palmas:
We booked a rental car. It's about a 45-minute drive from the San Juan Airport (SJU) even though the map says more. Go on HWY 52 vs Route 185. Route 185 increases your odds of getting you car sick.
If you are coming in late and need food, Caguas has some great stops. A lot of restaurants close early so this is your best bet. There are no open restaurants/stores open past 9-10 pm in or around Palmas Del Mar.
3. Golf Cart Rental
This is just for fun. It's not needed. We just got a rental car when we came out, but it would have been fun to have one of these buzzing around Palmas.
Target Rent a Car (at the Plaza in Palmas Del Mar)
Carol Blanco firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are staying in the condo's with a kitchen you can stock up on food at Costso or Walmart for your snacks, lunches, and breakfasts to keep costs lower. At night be prepared to hit some amazing food trucks right out of the gate of Palmas! It's around $7-$10 a meal and I split this with a kid. Most restaurants cost about 30% more than in the states, but the food trucks seem to be a score for us!
Oh and there is one inside of Palmas, it's more like a green box vs food truck and we don't recommend eating at that one. It's located next to the golf cart place. #foodposioning
Money is the same because it's still in the United States. I'd recommend bringing about $100 in cash for toll booths or entry into beach/rainforest parks. Sometimes cards won't work…at places like that. Your cards will work great everywhere else though.
6. What to pack
Shorts, Shorts, and Shorts. It's warm. Include sandals, tennis shoes, swimsuits, hats, sunscreen, bug repellent and anti-itch lotion (like Benadryl cream). Formal dress here in Puerto Rico is anything besides a bathing suit. Every place we've stayed at had towels for us to use so I wouldn't stress about bringing those.
I have a good feeling you'll be visiting the beach, pools, and rain forest during your visits.
If you tend to get cold, then bring a jacket for 2 main things…
Church and Anything indoors.
If you plan on visiting a Church, then bring a dress. Men are good with polos. The chapels are crazy cold. I bring blankets to church. Yep, I'm that person.
Theaters and restaurants are ice boxes. We went last week to the theatre and our noses started to run because it was so chilly. A jacket is an absolute must. Even the men wear jackets.
This isn't Kaysville, Utah, but it sure beats downtown Ogden, Utah. Use common sense and don't leave anything in your car. Lock up your house at night. Women…don't go out at night alone. It gets dark around 7-[7:30] PM year round so unless you are with others, call it a night.
At this time, I wouldn't recommend going to Walmart at dark either. We haven't had any issues, but being aware will increase our chances of it keeping it that way. Bars are on almost everything. I found out it's not all for safety, some places use bars to protect windows from the hurricanes.
8. Time Zone
Puerto Rico is on Atlantic Standard time, which is the same time zone as Eastern Time in the US when not on Daylight Savings time. Puerto Rico does not observe Daylight Savings time either. I'm loving this time zone because I'm up 2 hours before everyone else so I feel like I can get a ton done in the morning.
9. It's slower paced
Be prepared for a slower paced way of life. If you book a tour or have any type of reservation, know they'll be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and a half behind. Driving can take you an extra 2 minutes or 2 hours to get anywhere. Sit down restaurants…you are in for at least a 2-hour adventure even if you just order tacos. Bring snacks and enjoy the company.
Happy Booking! Excited for you to come to visit paradise!