Be our travel agent

Posted by jdg | Monday, February 09, 2009 |

Last week I was pretty miserable. The weather was taking a toll and I turned a year older. If the temperature was never going to go above 31, why did I have to? And if I had to be 32, couldn't I at least be 32 for five years like Jennifer Aniston? Even worse than getting older was all the checkwriting I have to do at this time of year: car insurance; car registration; the bill from the liquor store. And my bar dues. Why do I pay $400 every year to the California Bar Association? All they give me is junk mail. And last I checked I don't need to be a member of the bar to change shitty diapers. I guess I could file a nuisance complaint against my daughter for Crayola marker proliferation. But she's already a far better lawyer than I ever was.

Turning 32 and paying all these bills and sitting around in this glass box looking out at the impenetrable winter with two kids hellbent on havoc during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression wore me down to an uncharacteristic gloom.

But then, my wife gave me my birthday present: three dirt-cheap plane tickets to Puerto Rico this coming March. I've never been to the Caribbean. I am told it's somewhat different from Cincinnati. I haven't even set foot on an airplane since November 2006. I am pretty excited.

When it comes to vacationing with children, though, I don't think I'd enjoy the spontaneity we enjoyed traveling while childless. I actually want to have an itinerary. With reservations. Just as I became overwhelmed with the information on Puerto Rico available online, my wife said, "Why don't you just write about it? The blog has some of the most well-traveled, smart, articulate readers out there, and I'm sure more than a few of them have been to Puerto Rico. Plus: they know you, and the sorts of things you like."

So dear readers, I'm asking if any of you have ever lived in or traveled to Puerto Rico. What do you think we should do? Basically, I'd like to avoid places full of drunk college kids and crowded beaches. Kid-friendly is obviously a plus. Also, I want to avoid places that are difficult to get to logistically (Vieques sounds awesome but challenging to get to). I'd like to stay a few nights in a coffee hacienda somewhere in the mountains. Has anyone out there had a good or bad experience in Puerto Rico they would be willing to share? A great hotel or rented villa? Well-kept secrets? An amazing restaurant? Can anyone feed our goldfish? I'll bring back some cheesy t-shirts from the cheesiest t-shirt shop in San Juan. . . .