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Awesome Tour Guide - CoquiPIE


rather-be-sailing

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Just back from the 10/10/04 sailing of the Golden Princess, from San Juan. We did 2 nights pre, and 1 night post cruise.

I was searching and searching for a tour guide, or taxi to take my group of 4 adults around San Juan. Most were too expensive, and the cheaper ones would cram you on a bus with a ton of folks. Then I found the perfect tour guide. This is not an advertisement, and I don't get any kick backs, but rather I'd like to tell you about a wonderful guy that made our day very special.

His name is Jerry, he's from Indiana, and now lives in San Juan. No language barriers, and very comfortable to be around. He has a open air jeep for small groups, but for us he used his Grand Cherokee, with A/C (which was VERY nice to have!)

 

Check out his web site, and send him an email. He's very fast to give you a reply. If you want, tell him the "Arizona Coqui" (pronounced coke-ee) said Hi.

 

<http://www.coquipie.com/index.htm> the name of his company is Coqui P.I.E. Inc. (PIE = Personalized Island Excursions)

 

Here's what we did, but you can go/see anything, it's YOUR tour. Jerry picked us up at our Hotel, took us to the Barcardi Plant for a tour, and drinks! Then we went to the Rain Forest. Jerry hiked with us so we didn't get lost, and there are several paths you can take. Take the wrong turn and you could miss the beautiful falls!

While driving around the island, it's great to be able to say "pull over" anytime you want and take pictures, stop for a bathroom break, or lunch. (Try doing that with a tour bus full of people!)

The price was very reasonable, a few bucks over the cattle car type of tours, but well worth it.

-Dave

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HI Dave -

I'll be seeing about using this tour..we'll be there in a couple of months.

 

I noticed you are from Arziona - me too. Any specific suggestions from one ARizonian to another?

 

Did you go to Aruba on your cruise? Somewhere I read that alot of the landscape is like Arizona - true or not?

Thanks,

Anisa

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This person sounds fantastic. What about pricing?

Also, if he does take you wher you want, you might want to try a stop at Loquillo (sp) Beach. Food is excellent and there or was a little old lady who made the BEST Pina Coladas. She makes them the way they should. This is an excellent place to stop.

Bacardi Plant is a great tour.

The Rain Forest is a must. But please take a guide to get to the falls. AND take a raincoat or you WILL get wet.

 

Enjoy your cruise.

 

dave

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HI Dave -

I'll be seeing about using this tour..we'll be there in a couple of months.

 

I noticed you are from Arziona - me too. Any specific suggestions from one ARizonian to another?

 

Did you go to Aruba on your cruise? Somewhere I read that alot of the landscape is like Arizona - true or not?

Thanks,

Anisa

Unfortunately we didn't spend too much time in Aruba. We had a snorkeling excursion by Red Sail. We booked through Princess, walked just a few steps to the Catamaran and went to some of the best snorkeling I've seen. (my friends say Hawaii is better, but I've never been there.) In Aruba, take the shipwreck snorkel/scuba trip.

 

Yes, there are cacti, and Aruba is a lot drier than most of the other islands in that area. Hold on to your hat, it's been called the windiest place on earth.

 

Hope this helps.

 

-Rather-be-sailing (Dave)

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This person sounds fantastic. What about pricing?

Also, if he does take you wher you want, you might want to try a stop at Loquillo (sp) Beach. Food is excellent and there or was a little old lady who made the BEST Pina Coladas. She makes them the way they should. This is an excellent place to stop.

Bacardi Plant is a great tour.

The Rain Forest is a must. But please take a guide to get to the falls. AND take a raincoat or you WILL get wet.

 

Enjoy your cruise.

 

dave

Hello Dave,

 

About pricing.... Jerry (tour guide) picked us up right at the hotel lobby at 9am, and we didn't get back until 9 hours later. I feel this was a huge deal at $60 p/p. While in the rain forest, we ran into one of the cheaper tours.... there was 5 full buses! So many people that it made it hard to walk around, let alone take any pictures. That tour was around $50 p/p, but that was only for the rain forest. I imagine you waste a lot of time just waiting on people with that size crowd.

Luckily, we ran into this group after we walked to the falls. It's a narrow path, would have taken twice as long with all those folks - just my guess.

 

-Dave

 

ps. we brought our rain gear for the rain forest hike, but it didn't rain that day. Although, we felt like it!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just thought I'd chime in here...

Based on this thread we also had Jerry show us around. Thanks for the suggestion!! :D He's such a nice guy with a great sense of humor and a tremendous amount of knowledge. We were in SJ on election day - a very strange day to be there! Practically everything was closed and all the ship's tours were cancelled. Not ours though - since there were 6 of us, Jerry contracted with a driver and they took us to the rainforest. We practically had the place to ourselves. It was a great way to spend our short time there!

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  • 1 month later...

Based on "rather-be-sailing's" post, I have booked Jerry aka Couqui PIE for a Feb. 05 pre-cruise tour. I haven't personally meet Jerry yet, but I have to share with this forum his awesome upfront customer service. I've had questions about what to do and see and even what type of shoes to wear while in San Juan, we settled on kayaking into the bio bay on Saturday night and going to the rain forest on Sunday (day the cruise ship leaves).

 

He has provided a ton of information; for example, I asked him what to expect in the rainforest. Here is his reply to me:

 

From Jerry>>> We will be hiking and, weather permitting, swimming in the rain forest. There is a great waterfall where people like to get in and swim, and it also makes a great photo op! The water is plenty cold, though...so I have had some forego the experience. Completely up to you! I love it, myself! The water is sometimes too rough, though...depending on the rainfall.

 

We will also make a few other stops in the rain forest. If you are photo people, there is a great large waterfall right on the side of the road. There is also a little observation tower (98 steps) which we usually stop at. The top provides an excellent view of the northeast part of the island. On a clear day, you can see St. Thomas. It also gives a very tiny view of the bio bay where we will be kayaking.

 

Shoes for the rainforest...I suggest anything besides flip flops or open heeled shoes. I wear hiking boots, but Tennis shoes work. The path is concrete but is always wet. The toughest part of the hike is simply that the return is a lot of stairs and mostly up all the way.

 

Clothes...I wear cargo shorts over my swimsuit. So, anything comfortable. The rainforest does shift roughly 10 to 15 degrees lower...so it can get chilly for some! I was there the other day and it actually was 65F! You might want to bring a jacket if you get cold. I also have ponchos in case it rains on us really hard. There are nice restrooms to use in the forest.

 

---------------------------

JERRY: Can't wait to see SJ's rainforest and to meet you!

---------------------------

Cruise Critic Friends: I'll post a post-cruise review when we're back!

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Based on all your glowing reports we have booked Jerry for May 8. He sounds like a super guy and responded to my emails very quickly. Thanks so much for posting info about this guy. We are really looking forward to meeting and spending some time touring SanJuan with him. His prices are very reasonable and I like the fact that we do what we want and see what we want.

Laura

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My husband and I just got back from our AOS cruise on Monday. I am so glad that we decided to tour with Jerry during our pre-cruise days in San Juan. He really made our time in San Juan fantastic! Jerry is the best tour guide around and we would strongly recommend him - you won't be disappointed!

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Hey - jlane! You got to Jerry for the day I am interested in before I even read the thread! Sounds like you got the absolute best combination of tours - exactly what I had wanted to do. Is he going to take you to and into the bio-bay himself, or has he contracted with someone else to do it? And which Biobay? (There are two - the one off Fajardo, and another one on the south side of Puerto Rico (I believe)

 

What ship are you sailing on feb 6?

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Birdnutty...

 

I am not quite sure which biobay, but am checking into it. I'll let you know after Jerry replies to my question.

 

Concerning which cruise...

We are leaving on Carnival Destiny.

 

Also...

I am always open to meeting new people, and if you were thinking of booking with Jerry, let's talk about the possibility of sharing this excursion.

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This guy sounds great and would have liked to book him, but sounds like Jane beat me to it. We will also be in on 2/5 pre cruise on the AOS. Does anyone know how hard it would be to just get a taxi to the rainforest and do it on our own? Or what about renting a jeep for the day? Any shared experiences are appreciated.

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Denimite:

 

Not sure if your reference to "jane" is me "jlane"? If so, we are NOT booked with Jerry on the 5th but on the 12th! The confusion might have come from my post about having a February 05 trip...sorry, I meant 2005!

 

You may want to double check with him. I can't wait to see San Juan with Jerry!

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Denimite:

 

Not sure if your reference to "jane" is me "jlane"? If so, we are NOT booked with Jerry on the 5th but on the 12th! The confusion might have come from my post about having a February 05 trip...sorry, I meant 2005!

 

Hi jlane,

 

yes, i was referring to you and thanks for the clarification. i actually emailed jerry and he responded very promptly. since he is booked for our pre cruise stay, we are going to try to set something up post cruise (the 13th or 14th). thanks!

Denise

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  • 5 weeks later...

What can I say? Jerry was awesome. He is easy-going and has a ton of information to share about San Juan...Puerto Rico for that matter. He's from Indiana, but does speak Spanish (which can be helpful).

 

Our Saturday night trip into the biobay...

Jerry contracted with another person who does the biobay in Fajardo. There are three bays in P.R. that have the bioluminescent microbes. The other guy (can't recall his name), was extremely knowledgable about the eco-system. In fact, if you hear about motor boating into the bay, DO NOT do it. It actually destroys the eco-system...kayaking is really the only way. We started kayaking at dusk (another absolute must, but something not everyone does). This way, as you kayak into the bay via the stream outlet, you'll see the mangrove trees, other vegetation, birds, and critters that are all part of this. It was nice to see this in daylight. Once we were in the bay, and night started falling in, we were able to witness the most fascinating thing. The glow from the micro-organisms is truly beautiful. In fact, since we came in kayaks, it was easy to get out and swim in the water. The water was warm and I can't begin to tell you how cool it was to see yourself glow.

 

Sunday we hiked into the rainforest, and as other people have posted here, Jerry hikes in with you, gives you a ton of info, is there in a heartbeat to take your pictures...overall it was great.

 

Jerry then took us to the cruise ship. The port was an absolute zoo, but he got us right to the door!

 

He will be in San Juan until approximately October and then he is moving back to the States. Suggest you book him ahead of time!!!!

 

After our cruise, we had one more full day in San Juan. Jerry called us on that Sunday and invited us out to supper with a group of friends. It was nice to meet up with him and end our vacation with such a great new friend!

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I would second all the great info on Jerry. We did the rainforest and biobay tour with Jerry on Feb. 11. After just 15 minutes of driving with him, we felt like we were out for a day with someone we had known for years. We had some extra time between the rainforest and biobay tour, so he just drove us around to see various parts of the area around Fajardo.

 

I would also recommend him because of the biobay. The tour guide that Jerry uses for that was very knowledgable (I believe Mark was his name). The kayacking was definitely an unexpected fun time!! We enjoyed it so much, we are talking of buying one for use at the lake in the summertime. You also get much more time with Jerry's tour. We saw other tours come into the biobay and leave 20 minutes later. We were in the bay for a full hour at least, 30 minutes of which was swimming time (be warned though, Mark mentioned there was some talk by the government of not allow swimming in the bay anymore to protect it. Not sure when that might take effect, if ever). Kayacking into the bay at sunset is beautiful, the other tours we saw did not come in until it was completely dark.

 

Even though Jerry had a long day the next two days, and plenty of things to do to get ready, he offered to sit and eat with us afterwards. We didn't take him up on the offer as we were very tired and needed showers anyway, but I thought that was a nice touch.

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Hi, I'd been lurking on these boards prior to our cruise on the Voyager of the Seas on 19th February and based on what I had read we booked with Jerry. He is such a nice guy who will take you wherever you wish to go on Puerto Rico. His charges are very reasonable and he made the whole day so enjoyable. He is moving back to the states in October/November but was keen for everyone to know that he will continue to take bookings through until then. During our trip I had been very keen to have a coconut (being from the UK where they are not available!!!). As the place that we stopped for a bite to eat didn't have any, he ran up the hill to find me one from another seller!!! I can't imagine any tour guides on the larger trips doing that.

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Thanks for pointing out Jerry. Last year we had a late flight home and ended up on one of those busses described- the piles of luggage and the bus filled to capacity. I e-mailed Jerry yesterday and got a reply almost immediately. We're going to use him post cruise this April. Now the hard part- deciding where to go:)

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Not that I'm an expert on San Juan, but I will say the biobay kayak tour was a life-time experience and I would strongly recommend it. Read up on bio bays and then decide for yourself (http://www.biobay.com/). As luck would have it for me and my husband, the night we were in San Juan the moon was a but a sliver (they say less moon is better), but either way, the tour guide that Jerry used will actually pull out a tarp and create more darkness on the full moon nights if needed.

 

I've never been one to swim at night, but here I am swimming in the biobay, giggling like a kid again as the blue luminescent microbes were a-glow. It was so cool!!! I would definitely do this again.

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