Family Travel on a Budget: San Juan, Puerto Rico
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Fun in the Sun
Por supuesto, no family comes to Puerto Rico without spending time on the beach, and the island offers more than 272 miles of coastline. Most of the beaches in and around San Juan are free and open to the public. Family favorites include
Mealtimes during vacation can be expensive, but eating with the locals means consuming delicious meals of real Puerto Rican cuisine at cheaper prices. Enjoy authentic mofongo, pasteles, tostones, and rice-and-beans at El Jibarito in San Juan for less than $15 per person for lunch. The restaurant, whose name translates to "the hillbilly" in Spanish, was opened more than 25 years ago by a poor local with less than $150 to his name. A favorite seafood option is the regionally-renowned Marisqueria Altantica in Isla Verda. La Placita, also in San Juan, is tucked away in a residential neighborhood and serves up inexpensive authentic fare. Both of these eateries can average less than $25 per person for dinner.
Of course, where does a budget-conscious family stay? One option: family-owned inns called Paradores. Charming and affordable, these inns offer a local perspective, and visitors get to see an authentic hacienda or a family-run plantation. Most have beach access and offer great family rates during the off-season. (Note: While the summer is peak travel time for many destinations, in the Caribbean it is hurricane season. This means a radical drop in prices in hotels and airfare to entice travelers from May through November). For further information on Paradores call 800-443-0266.
For families that prefer a resort feel, it is possible to stay in style without breaking the bank. The San Juan Marriott, with beachfront access on Condado, features 513 rooms and 12 suites, two pools (one with a fun waterslide) and free daily organized activities. Plus, now through the end of the November, with the hotel's Best Family Vacation Ever Package, rates start at $270 per night - a 20 percent savings that translates to about $70 per person. Included are transfers to and from the airport, a night kayaking package, a picnic lunch for four - even milk and cookies at bedtime!
To learn more about what Puerto Rico can offer your family, visit www.gotopuertorico.com.
Jillian Ryan is a freelance writer who lives in Brooklyn and works in New York City. She specializes in her favorite topics: travel, family, and Central Park.
Also see: Warm Weather Vacations for Families
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