I know it might be rough to get an unbiased answer here on the Puerto Rico forum, but I figured you all are the experts. ;) After a long, awful year of hunkering down at home, we will both be fully vaccinated by the end of this month, and are dreaming of travel. Leading from that, I guess my first question is: do Puerto Ricans WANT people like my husband and I visiting as tourists (probably sometime late June), or will that be more of an imposition? After the collective global trauma we've all shared, the last thing I want to do is upset anyone by visiting where I'm not wanted.
Issues of timing aside, do you think my husband and I (mid 30's) would enjoy visiting Puerto Rico? We've done a lot of travelling, but this would be our first time there. We generally like good food, gardens, wildlife, scenery, and hiking (but nothing too crazy). We also enjoy cultural stuff, such as beautiful architecture, markets, festivals, art, churches, museums, temples, pyramids, etc. We're also into nerdy stuff. Eating some ice cream in the public square, people watching, and listening to street music is also a good time, but who knows when we can do that as normal again... A massage at the spa is also nice.
We don't like swimming, laying out on the beach, drinking booze, or partying. We adore animals, but would not like to encumber them (as in the case of riding horses or ecologically irresponsible tours).
It seems like we might be able to do some of the stuff we enjoy in Puerto Rico. But then again, as I read more, it seems like there is often a "Yeah, but..." component. As in, "Come see the magnificent bioluminescent bay!" but "it's out of the way and there will barely be any luminescence once you get there." "Come see the beautiful El Yunque rainforest!" but "you will be in a line of people the whole time and there is hardly any wildlife to see." "Come see the petroglyphs carved into the caves in Arecibo!" but "They have removed the ladder so you can no longer actually go into the cave." So far I haven't found the "Yeah, but..." for the Toro Verde zipline, but maybe I haven't looked hard enough. ;)
Do the debbie downers have a point about the above activities? Are there good alternatives that deliver the promises of the more famous options? Given our interests, are there things I should definitely incorporate into our itinerary that I've missed?
As a rough itinerary, I figure we'll probably base ourselves in San Juan. Maybe Old San Juan, since we like staying in historic centers. We'd probably set aside our arrival day and second day for San Juan, then a day trip to El Yunque, and a day trip out west to see some caves - maybe in Arecibo, or Camuy. Not sure where to fit in the ziplining - I guess either in Camuy, or as its own excursion to Toro Verde. We'd love to see sea turtles and other wildlife, but not sure how best to incorporate that. Mona Island is interesting, but seems like a lot of work to get there for what might not be a very long trip. Similar feelings about Vieques. Also, I know it is popular to combine a trip to Luquillo with the visit to El Yunque. Do you think we would enjoy that, given our interests (or lack of interest in beach-lounging)?
Will COVID restrictions make this itinerary untenable? One of the reasons I'm reluctant to book outings to Vieques/Mona Island is I am afraid it will create additional hardship if COVID cancels the trip, as it cancelled my vacation last year.
The thermal hot springs in the south and the pink salt flats in the southwest also piqued my interest, but it might be too much for one trip (especially after such a sedentary year). I figured our visit would last up to 9 days, including arrival and departure days, but this is a little flexible.
I know this post kind of rambled on, but I would appreciate your insight as to whether this would be a good trip for us, and/or how we can better refine it. Sorry if I missed anything huge in my research - I think my trip-planning muscles might have atrophied a little over this past year.