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San Juan / Rental Car / El Yunque or other destination in 6 hrs?


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Does this sound like a reasonable journey?  

 

NCL Epic arrives at 5AM Sunday, I am guessing I can be off about 8:15AM, pick up rental car at Enterprise, drive to El Yunque, via PR-66, PR3, PR-191(looks about an hour on a Sunday) - spend time at El Yunque, then back to SJU Airport for a 5:45P departure - but, if time permits come back PR-187, looks like it turns into a coastal route to SJU so thinking it will be more to see than coming back the same way.

 

Questions are:

  • Does this sound reasonable assuming I can pick up car by 9AM and drop off at SJU at 3:45? Is 7 hrs enough to do this justice?
  • Is route out a good way to go - via PR-66, PR3, PR-191?
  • Is coming back via 187 a more interesting route (or to be avoided for any reason)?
  • Do you really need to be at SJU dropping off car 2 hrs before flight - does airport and Enterprise car location require even more time - what would you want time wise for a Delta flight to NY - is SJU easy to get around (and an hour+ would be good)?

 

Reading reports on El Yunque and it looks questionable as it is still recovering from the past super storms. We have done Old San Juan in the past. Thought rental car would be a good way to get from NCL dock - keep luggage in trunk - and get out and see some of PR. Any suggestions for a 6 or 7 hour tour beside El Yunque that's drivable / interesting tour of PR?

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On a Sunday, I would do your itinerary the other way around: I'd start on Rd 187 este (East) to Rd 188 and turn right (south) towards Rd 3 east to El Yunque. You already have the rest of the way there. Do this in the morning since you'll be passing Piñones on Rd 187 which is filled with rustic kiosks where some of the best local finger food is prepared and it gets quite full and congested during the afternoon.

 

Check out this link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/elyunque/home/?cid=fseprd579158

 

When you arrive at El Yunque, I'd go straight to La Coca Falls for a photo opp, then to Yokahu observation tower. The best trails south of that are still closed. Unless you're coming after Jan. 2020 which they're supposed to open and your suggested trip should change to see La Mina falls. After Yokahu, drive back north to Rd 998 and turn right to Puente Roto and Angelito trail where you'll have your best chance of getting your feet wet in the cool river, weather permitting.

 

On your way back, take PR-3 west (oeste) to PR-66 and PR-26 straight to SJU. The Enterprise return lot is located in the multi-level garage just across the departures terminal. And yes, allow your 2 hours buffer for your flight. SJU can be a bit unpredictable. Sometimes you breeze trough, some times you see your kids graduate from college standing at the security lines.

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9 hours ago, Stinger-pr said:

I would do your itinerary the other way around

Stinger-PR, excellent, thanks for the guidance! Will do. So you think my plan is a good use of time - and for seeing and getting a sense of PR beyond San Juan? Good advice on keeping my 2 hr buffer for SJU too.

 

The NCL Epic docks at the Pan American Pier, the Enterprise Rental car is at 999 Ave Ashford (across the street from the Condado Hilton Plaza) - I am thinking with 4K people getting off ship getting a taxi for the 1 1/2 miles (my kids will be retired☺️) and the taxi driver would curse me for such a short ride. I checked out Google Street Map View and it looks like I can walk (run to beat the crowds) over to Enterprise (maybe making some illegal street crossing across 4 lanes to shorten the route - but, maybe Sunday at that hour it won't be too busy?) leaving my wife to fetch the bags, me get car and circle back for pick-up. Do you think it is walkable to Enterprise from the Pan American Pier?

Thanks, Brian

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On 11/4/2019 at 11:22 AM, FairportNY said:

Stinger-PR, excellent, thanks for the guidance! Will do. So you think my plan is a good use of time - and for seeing and getting a sense of PR beyond San Juan? Good advice on keeping my 2 hr buffer for SJU too.

 

The NCL Epic docks at the Pan American Pier, the Enterprise Rental car is at 999 Ave Ashford (across the street from the Condado Hilton Plaza) - I am thinking with 4K people getting off ship getting a taxi for the 1 1/2 miles (my kids will be retired☺️) and the taxi driver would curse me for such a short ride. I checked out Google Street Map View and it looks like I can walk (run to beat the crowds) over to Enterprise (maybe making some illegal street crossing across 4 lanes to shorten the route - but, maybe Sunday at that hour it won't be too busy?) leaving my wife to fetch the bags, me get car and circle back for pick-up. Do you think it is walkable to Enterprise from the Pan American Pier?

Thanks, Brian

Trust me on this, you are better off taking that taxi to the Enterprise pickup. Unless you're traveling between Jan. 12 and Mar. 8, 2020 when the Freedom of the seas will be in dry dock, traffic around the Pan Am pier is horrible, especially coming TO the terminal since, if both ships are docked, over 7,000 passengers will be getting off and will be using a one-lane each way street. Skip the time consuming walk and traffic jam back to the terminal to pick up the rest of your family. And that way you'll have more time to spend on the road. If time permits once you're done in El Yunque, stop by the food kiosks at Luquillo Beach (about 5 minutes drive east from the intersection of PR-3 road once out of the forest). Lots of tasty, local choices!

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4 minutes ago, jean87510 said:

Ive done this before and trust me. Take everyone with you. Do not go back to port. 

Thanks, I just called Enterprise Rental Car and they said they would pick me up at the Pier - so that works - unless I am missing something - that sounds almost too good to be true for a $50 rental? Any other advice on making this trip or travel tips for my 6 hour junket are appreciated.  

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5 hours ago, FairportNY said:

Thanks, I just called Enterprise Rental Car and they said they would pick me up at the Pier - so that works - unless I am missing something - that sounds almost too good to be true for a $50 rental? Any other advice on making this trip or travel tips for my 6 hour junket are appreciated.  

This is standard on Enterprise. One of their corporate slogans is "we pick you up". So yes, when renting from a location not readily accessible to you, they will pick you up free of charge.

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@FairportNY Most gas stations along the way have small convenience stores attached to them although it might not seem apparent at first. If your in need of buying some refreshments or snacks, they can be a good, cheap option. Gas prices are per Litre and distances are in Km while speed is stated in MPH (don't ask why, not one soul seems to know!!). Don't be afraid to try the food from the rustic kiosks. and load Google translate on your phone just in case!

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