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Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

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Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

I've never been to Puerto Rico before. I'm arriving in San Juan airport at 8:30 pm Friday night, destination Ponce, and wondering if it would make sense to pick up a rental car and drive straight to Ponce same night, or if that would be too crazy, and if I should stay at (expensive) airport hotel, and drive to Ponce next morning. Thoughts?

Is route between San Juan and Ponce well marked, easy to find way in the dark? Okay arriving in Ponce 11-12 pm?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice.

Tim

15 replies to this topic
San Juan, Puerto...
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1. Re: Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

It is highway all the way, safe, but I wouldn't do it. Unless you are used to that much driving when you are tired (10hr flying day at least from SFO).

No need to stay at the airport hotel. You can stay anywhere in Condado, Isls Verde, Miramar or OSJ. All within 15min of the airport.

Edited: 08 December 2015, 05:31
Cleveland, Ohio
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2. Re: Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

I agree. There are no lights on the highway when you get away from San Juan. Very dark, but then again the lights in the distance are pretty. It's not a bad drive. I would personally, stay the night around San Juan and enjoy the ride through the mountains during the day. Maybe make a stop for lunch along the way.

King of Prussia...
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3. Re: Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

The drive is technically "safe". But not really. It's an hour's drive. And even though it's all highway, it is dark. So if anything brakes, you'll have to pull over in dark places.

Also, weekends motivate more alcohol consumption, which also means drunk drivers will be present on the roads.

Add all this to a very long flight, and the result may not be a good one. My suggestion is stay in San Juan and drive the next day.

I've done that drive several times because my family lives in the south. My flight arrived at 9:30 pm, though shorter than yours. These days I spend the night in San Juan and drive the next day. It's just easier and safer that way.

Edited: 08 December 2015, 09:02
NYC
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4. Re: Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

I often arrive in Ponce at 4am and drive to San Juan or Ceiba with no issues.

I find it very easy and although I have been doing it for years, there was a first time and I was fine then. so personally I say do it. Just get a good map before you arrive, and use your phones gps to help.

as for arriving in Ponce at that time, I guess it depends on your hotel.

Hollis, New...
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5. Re: Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

If you can get a gps at the car rental, this will help.

Also get from the rental car people an autoexpresso tag so you do not need to worry about change for tolls.

Like Frank, I have done that drive a minimum of 125 times, never had an issue.

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6. Re: Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

Thanks everybody for your feedback, although I am a little amused by the contrasts. I guess it just depends on how comfortable I am driving in a strange place after dark after I have been flying all day.

Looking forward to my first visit to PR, 2.5 weeks of warmth and fun.

Gracias,

Tim

San Juan, Puerto...
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7. Re: Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

You can use the GPS on your phone! (iPhone/android/windows). Pay for the "Autoexpreso" at the rental is a must for highway tolls. Enjoy your visit!

NYC
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8. Re: Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

2 1/2 weeks?

do you plan on spending it all in one place?

you should definitely visit Vieques

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

Thanks. Ended up with a kinda funny itinerary for complex reasons. Not what I originally planned.

Arrive PR Friday, spend weekend in Ponce on my own, then spend part of week with family in Old San Juan, then Christmas weekend with family in Aguadilla, then 5 days on my own on Vieques. I'm guessing I'll see a reasonable cross section of PR.

Any and all suggestions welcome.

Gracias, Tim

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10. Re: Drive to Ponce same night as arrive San Juan airport 8:30 pm

Just did that drive leaving SJU at 6 PM.

Highway 52 is good for a while than becomes rough, unlighted and many parts don't have any or highly faded lane markings.

Exits appear out of nowhere and if you are in the right lane you are exiting.

If you must do this drive at night, follow someone.

Returned in the daytime and enjoyed the view of the mountains.

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