Top 10 Surprises During our Recent Visit

Published Tuesday, February 6, 2018 12:00 pm by Mary Ann Passi

When CHPA leaders selected Puerto Rico as the 2019 Conference location, no one foresaw this kind of unprecedented disaster seen from Hurricane Maria. Due to these events, the CHPA Board asked members if the Association should continue to hold the February 2019 Annual Conference in Puerto Rico, as scheduled. Overwhelmingly, 75% of members responding said they plan to attend the conference, with a wish to help rebuild the island.

To support members’ wishes and evaluate the island, the CHPA’s Executive Committee recently met at the Sheraton Puerto Rico.

The Executive Committee was very impressed with the progress made and new improvements continue to be made every day to the people of the Puerto Rico.

Here’s our Top 10 List of Surprises:

  1. Passports are not needed within the US (unless required by your state).
  2. No customs, however, plenty of duty free shopping available.
  3. Flights from most major cities are more convenient, cost effective and easier than anticipated.
  4. Strong sense of safety around the hotel and tourist areas of Condado and Old San Juan.
  5. Local police are visible, friendly, and approachable - even helping with directions and recommendations.
  6. Locals were gracious, hospitable and welcoming, proudly sharing the rich history of the island.
  7. Prices were inexpensive and very affordable on the island:
    • Old San Juan is just a $6 UBER ride away; $18 taxi trip from the airport to the hotel.
    • Water at the airport is $3 and a breakfast sandwich is about $1.
    • Food of all cuisines is reasonably priced.
    • Gas is cheaper than Toronto.
    • Play blackjack at the hotel for a $10 minimum.
  8. There is a very walkable entertainment area just 10 minutes from the Sheraton. The Condado area has shops, restaurants and bars – many on the water and with outdoor seating.
  9. Old San Juan combines the charm of Charleston and Europe, with streets of cobblestones originally used to weigh down ships coming to Puerto Rico.
  10. The hotel’s 24/7 café has homemade gelato!

Take a look at what Puerto Rico is really like right now – and the improvements that continue. Check the CHPA website as we begin to plan for the 2019 conference and programming. Puerto Rico Strong!