Out There 2.0 – Puerto Rico

Bienvenidos a Puerto Rico! At least, that’s what some of us at AAA Travel were saying recently!

Recently, a group of AAA Travel team members and advisors got to visit beautiful and tropical Puerto Rico as a part of the new Out There 2.0 program.

The Out There 2.0 program brings amazing destinations closer to AAA and our members. In this program, some of our Travel team get to experience and immerse themselves in spots like the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, then share it with the rest of the Travel team and AAA members.

With this new deeper understanding of the destination, know-how, insider tips, and tricks, they will be able to go above and beyond the brochure, AAA Travel will be able to relay everything you need to know about the destination, from where to go and what to eat, to the tricks of the trade on how to swim with the dolphins or hail a taxi in San Juan.

And what a place Puerto Rico is to get to know! A Caribbean destination rich in history, culture, food, untouched beaches, towering mountains, relaxation, and adventure alike, it is difficult to find a better place for travelers of any kind.

Puerto Rico is buena gente, meaning kind and friendly. It’s a place where visitors are made into family.

AAA team members Christina Billington, and Kelly Bolton have shared a bit about themselves and their trip with us. Here is what they had to say!

Tell us a little about yourself! Please provide your name, position at AAA Travel, and anything else you would like us to know about yourself!

Christina is one of our AAA Travel advisors by day and crafter by night! As she put it, “I love everything that scratches the creative itch!” She lives in Cumberland, Rhode Island with her husband and German Shepherd named Piper.

Kelly is a Supervisor of Business Operations, Quality Control, and Data teams. She loves music, traveling, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

What is your background in travel? How much experience do you have? What sorts of places have you been to? What kinds of trips – cruises, guided tours, self-guided etc.

Christina told us that she has “been with AAA as a Travel advisor going on three years. Prior to that, I worked for AAA Member Choice Vacations for almost three years. I have been to Florida several times and to Bermuda on a cruise. “

Kelly has had an extensive career in the travel industry, with certificates in Travel and Tourism from the Community College of Rhode Island, and having worked at Independence Air and Collette Tours. When it comes to travel, Kelly said “ I am an avid traveler.  I have been on numerous cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, and Canada on Carnival, Disney, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian cruise lines.  I have also traveled on many guided tours during my employment with Collette to places such as Copper Canyon in Mexico, France, Alaska, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Memphis, New Orleans, and Nashville.”

What type of traveler are you? Are you an adventure seeker or do you prefer to travel for relaxation? Are you a backpacker or theme park and resort-goer? Think about your past travel experiences, preferences, and habits.

Christina has a mix of travel styles. “It really depends on the day I am having.”, she told us. “Some days I prefer to sit back and relax. Other days, you’ll catch me jumping on a jet ski or parasailing!”

Kelly has similar travel expectations. She told us “I would say I am a mix of an adventure seeker and travel for relaxation.  I enjoy the excitement and thrill of what new destinations bring but I am also up for enjoying a day on the beach to take the sights in and recharge the batteries. “

You recently went on a trip with one of our partners – please summarize the itinerary for us. What were the destinations? How long was the cruise? What kind of room did you stay in?

“We visited Puerto Rico, which has earned its nickname as “the Island of Enchantment” for sure! It is beautiful.” Christina said.

“When people say the Caribbean, most don’t think of Puerto Rico, which is a shame, in part thanks to how easy it is to get there! We stayed in six different resorts over six nights, all around the island! The island has so much to offer, for all varieties of members!”

Kelly let us know how well-rounded their experience in Puerto Rico was. “We traveled… to the areas of San Juan, Loiza, Cayey, Ponce, Guanica, and Rincon. This was a land-based tour. We stayed in several different types of rooms from king bedrooms to double bedrooms, to suites. One of my rooms was even handicapped accessible. We also toured other hotel properties and viewed villas up to presidential suites!”

In a few words, please characterize the type of experience this destination offered you.

Christina characterized Puerto Rico as “Caribbean, beachy, and mountains too! Relaxing in some areas like around beach areas and others like in Old San Juan, you have the hustle and bustle of the city!”

Kelly gave us some insight as to the overall culture and feel. “Each area had its own vibe to it.  The San Juan area was very hip and upbeat while also offering a lot of history and cultural experiences.  The further south we went was outdoorsy and more relaxing.  The further west we went was more adventurous and outdoorsy.”

What was it like to vacation with this partner? Please tell us more about…

  • The amenities available.
  • The activities available.
  • Excursions available.
  • And so on!

Christina was appreciative of everything Discover Puerto Rico had to offer. “We did everything! Our partner, Discover Puerto Rico was AMAZING and made sure we got to take in all that Puerto Rico has to offer – which is a lot! From the accommodations to the excursions such as the BIO BAY and SPOON EXPERIENCE, everything we did was well planned!”

According to Kelly, “One hotel even had a fresh fruit platter in the room upon arrival.  All hotels offered balconies overlooking the ocean.  A few hotels had casinos on-site as well.  The larger properties had golf carts available for ease of getting around. 

Activities available were golf, various beach, and water sports, walking tours, culinary experiences, bio bay experience with night time swimming, as well as visits to local breweries and distilleries.”

What was your favorite part of your trip? What was your least favorite?

Christina’s favorite part was “exploring the different properties and resorts that Puerto Rico has to offer.” No one had a least favorite part of Puerto Rico!

What surprised you the most?

Christina was surprised by “How welcoming everyone is and how prideful of their island they are.”

Kelly was impressed by the variety the island had to offer. “I was so intrigued with how easily accessible each area of Puerto Rico is to get to, yet how different each one is from the next.  The North side that borders the Atlantic Ocean displays extremely different characteristics than the South side that borders the Caribbean Sea.  The West side is widely known for surfing and the waves seen there were an incredible sight.”

Travel gives us a lot of opportunity to learn about the world, ourselves, and anything in between. What was one thing you learned on this trip?

Kelly advises that “There is so much more to Puerto Rico than San Juan – it is a must to venture out of this area when visiting.  The people of Puerto Rico are so proud of their African culture and heritage, yet each area is so different from the next.”

What was your favorite food, meal, dining experience, etc.?

Kelly recalls her culinary experience in the mountains at El Pretexto. “…the owner and her mother prepared for us a traditional Puerto Rican cuisine of arroz con pollo.  This was a farm-to-table experience!”

Share some advice to future travelers, whether it be in Puerto Rico, or any sort of travel. 

“Don’t be afraid to stay outside of the San Juan area. There is so much more to explore outside of just San Juan!” is Kelly’s advice.

Are you ready for your own Puerto Rico adventure? Click here to learn about one of the many fabulous resorts the Out There crew visited. Reach out to a AAA Travel advisor today!