We traveled to Puerto Rico with our two year old, here’s what we did

If you’re looking for an easy, relaxing vacation, keep reading. We had the greatest time in Puerto Rico – which should come at no surprise. The beaches, the food, the music, the culture – it checks every single box. It was our first time, and absolutely wont be our last.

Where we stayed in Puerto Rico

We spent a week nestled up at the Hyatt Grand Reserve in Rio Grande which is about 30 miles east of San Juan. We intentionally stayed outside of the city because we were really looking for that remote feel – we wanted to feel like the only ones on the beach, and that’s exactly what we got. Although we did go during Memorial Day which we were told is the start of their low season. The weather was in the high 80s each day, it rained down poured only one afternoon for a few hours, and the humidity was tolerable.

Despite the hotel’s grandiose size, there were times we felt like the only ones staying there. We got lounge chairs everyday and perched out on them for hours – or at least until our toddler’s nap time. There was a bar on the beach with waiter service where our drinks were delivered at lightning speed. And, golf carts escorted us around to all the restaurants, the pools, and beach in which we never waited more than 5 minutes for one.

What we used for airport transfers

Before we traveled, I ended up calling the hotel concierge and they setup the easiest hotel transfer for us through Group Services Inc. (GSI). They were so reliable, friendly, and prompt! We paid $44 per adult for each way for a shared transfer, but ended up only having to share with one other couple on the arrival. We had the van to ourselves on the way back!

Is the Hyatt Grand Reserve good for kids?

Absolutely. And here’s why.

  • The beach felt so private and was stunning – in fact, the water felt like a bathtub.
  • There were free non-motorized water activities on the beach – kayaks, boogie-boards, rafts
  • We sat on the beach all day with our toddler running around — always in sight, and then we headed to our room for nap time. And were back on the beach right after
  • Golf carts take you everywhere and the little ones love it
  • There are several pools if you dont feel like spending time at the beach
  • There are kid play areas i.e. play grounds, kids-only pools, and giant games like connect four and corn hole that keep them busy
  • They have cribs at hand and you can request them at check-in

And the best part? Despite the laundry list of reasons why it’s good for kids, we really didn’t feel the property was overrun with them. There was still plenty to enjoy as an adult.

What I wish I knew before going

Overall, we loved our stay at the Hyatt, and our itinerary but there are a few things we would have done differently – especially traveling with a toddler.

Snacks on snacks on snacks on snacks

For starters, it’s important to know that the hotel is about 15-20 minutes away from any shopping such as groceries/pharmacies. And Ubers really are not a thing in the area. As a result? The hotel profits from that. There’s one market at the resort stocked with your typical run of the mill convenience store finds (snacks, sunblock, drinks, etc) and as you can imagine, it’s so expensive. And, if your kid is anything like ours, which I know they are – they’re snacking all day long. So, pack a carryon with all of the snacks and keep them in your room. When you think you’ve packed enough, pack more. Pouches were around $8 each.

Breakfast on the go

There’s only one restaurant onsite that serves breakfast – which is a buffet and is good! But, if you don’t do the breakfast package, the price per person is $34++, and over a week that could really add up for a family. We didn’t realize until mid week that the onsite market has great breakfast options (breakfast wraps, sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, coffee, etc.) which is half the price and will fill you up just fine.

I would have splurged for a beach front view

Not that the garden views weren’t nice, but when traveling with kids you are sometimes confined to your room while they’re napping. It would have been nice to sit on the balcony with a margarita/s and still enjoy the beach. Oh well, next time 🤷🏽‍♀️

Bring a travel stroller — especially if you go to San Juan

We brought our Uppababy Vista with us o the trip – which meas we brought it when we toured Old San Juan. And although it’s comfortable and carries a lot, it’s just not conducive to those small narrow streets packed with tourists.

We drove to San Juan for the day and so should you

We decided we wanted a change of scenery so we left the hotel to explore Old San Juan.

Luckily you can rent a car onsite at the hotel for $126/day which is inclusive of taxes, insurance, fees, etc. There seemed to be plenty of cars on site. We reserved one for the day the night before directly with the concierge.

You could spend forever in this magical city, but we had five hours to maximize cause we were traveling with a two-year-old who needed a nap (and IYKYK 🤷🏽‍♀️) and we wanted to maximize our beach time, so we packed as much in as we could in 5 hours.

Here’s what we did

🚙 We rented a car and drove 35 minutes to Old San Juan.

Insider tip: Plug La Pandilla Parking lot into your navigation and park there for the day.

🏠From La Pandilla parking, it was a quick walk to La Casa Estrecha (the narrow house). The house is 5 feet wide, the narrowest house in San Juan – converted from an alley way.

☂️From the parking lot, it was a quick walk to Fortaleza Street with the canopy of colorful umbrellas

🏰 We walked to the Castillo San Felipe del Morro which has amazing history and views of the Bay of San Juan — along the way, we passed San Jose Church (the second oldest church in America)

🎨Along the way, we saw the most magnificent narrow colorful streets

🥩 We walked to El Jibarito — which doesn’t take reservations, but we only waited about 15 minutes. Totally worth it. I got the steak with the beans and rice and highly recommend.