Monday, July 2, 2012

Planning Puerto Rico

We ended up deciding on the Fort Lauderdale beach cottage.  We like the idea of being closer to the city, which gives us more flexibility in making day trips around Southern Florida.  We’re excited about checking out Florida.  I know it’s crazy to go in the summer, but it’s our vacation window, and so we’ll take it!  We will be celebrating our fifth anniversary there, too!

For our next leg, we’re off to Puerto Rico.  I spent a lot of time sifting through different vacation properties.  The end of our time in Puerto Rico will be spent at Wyndham’s Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa, a beautiful hotel with a AAA four diamond rating.  I’m using almost half of the points I won from the Women on Their Way travel blog contest to stay at the resort for three nights (90,000 Wyndham Rewards points of my 200,000).  We are super excited about staying there, so we made that our last three nights.  That left us a full week to find a vacation rental. 

Here are the two we deeply considered.  The Rio Mar resort is on the northeast part of the island, close to San Juan, so we will explore that part of the island and El Yunque rain forest while we stay there.  Because of that, I looked for an entirely different area of the island to make our base for the week.  I looked at Fajardo, on the east coast, a couple of places on the southern coast, but I kept going to properties that were on the west coast in Aquadilla, or the northwest, in Isabela.  Here are the two properties that were available during the week we needed.  We went back and forth on them several times while deciding.

Option 1:  Aguadilla 2 bedroom condo with ocean views, beautiful pool, free parking, wi-fi, children’s playground, and a 3 minute drive to the beach.

We really liked the size of this unit, not to mention the amazing views.  We usually stay at more budget friendly places, but I looked at this week as the highlight, big budget item of our year, so I justified spending more money than usual.  We really like this one because Ele would have her own room.  It seems silly, as she is in a crib, but it would be nice to close her off at bed time and have the run of the place without sneaking around her or moving her. 

Option 2:  Isabella 1 bedroom condo with ocean views, pool, free parking, wi-fi, and it’s on the beach, but it’s a 15 minute or 20 minute walk to beaches that are safe for children. 

We couldn’t get over the balconies and views from this unit.  It’s right on the beach, which is really appealing, as vacation is the only chance for this type of view or experience to happen!  The down side is that Ele will have to go to sleep in our room, and then we’ll have to either sleep with her in there, or transport her after we’re ready to go to bed to the living room.  The thing we kept coming back to when debating the two units are the amazing views from the balcony, even better than the Aguadilla unit.  There’s really comfortable furniture on the balcony, and a grill, so we can also have meals out there.  It’s more expensive, though.

When it came down to it, I was going over the options with my dad, and I realized that we will not be able to stay in a unit like that the next time we go to Puerto Rico, unless it is just Rick and I.  We hope to grow our family soon, so we could potentially stay at the Aquadilla unit with more kids in tow.  With that realization, we opted for an amazing week on the beach, option 2.  I am super excited about our Puerto Rico vacation.  Now I just need to research what to do to keep my 1 year old bug bite free!  We also need to rent a car, still. 

***This picture isn't our exact unit, but the views are similar.  Click on the vrbo link to see the unit.

Photos:  1) Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa  2) Wyndham Rio Mar  3) Aquadilla balcony view  4) Isabela condo complex  5) Isabela balcony view

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