Preparing for Visitors

Know Your Guests and Plan Accordingly

We had our first visitors a few weeks back. My brother and sister-in-law stayed with us four nights here at our condo by the beach. We moved into our new home last September, so we were excited to host our first guests after gussying up our digs a bit.

L&J and S&C touring Vega Baja by Trolley Bus!

Now, we’ve met up with some friends – usually for a lunch date in Viejo San Juan – who’ve come to Puerto Rico for a bit of vaca, but S & C were our inaugural houseguests. Thus we spent some time preparing for their arrival.

Scenic Drive Along Dorado Beach

Below’s a short list of some things we did to get ready. 

If you live in a ‘vacation location’ you probably have friends and family drop in from time to time. So you know it takes a bit of prep work before you throw out the welcome mat. Let’s compare notes. What do you do to ‘red up’ for visitors? (As they say in Western PA.)

Things to Consider…

1. Make sure your pad is ready for guests.

When we moved in last fall, we knew our hot water heater was a dud, so that was one of the first things on our list to replace. Most visitors like hot showers! Two of three AC units were kaput as well, so we replaced them all. We’re already used to the warm weather here, but sleeping in a hot and muggy room is usually no bueno for us or our guests. 

The one thing we didn’t get to is a new washer and dryer. But their visit was short enough, so I doubted S&C would need to do laundry. (And yes, I go to the laundromat each week still. We’re almost ready to pull the trigger on a stackable washer/dryer unit. My only hesitancy is getting them up three flights of stairs!)

We also bought new mattresses, guest towels, and such. Our condo came furnished, but the twin beds that the previous owners left behind looked a tad…tired. Besides, who wants to sleep on used mattresses? So that was an easy call. Anyway, be prepared to spend some bucks getting your house guest friendly. We want all of our visitors to feel at home, right?

Fun stop along our scenic drive home.

2. Meal plan and sketch out a daily activity agenda.

We try to be flexible here, but Julie is a planner. Which is a good thing overall, so we looked at the calendar and tried to plan out a week of meals, activities, day trips, and chill time. To do this, you have to gauge the activity level of your guests. We’re hikers and we knew S&C liked the outdoors as well, so we kept busy each day – we engaged in an ‘anchor’ event then had a few ‘extras’ up our sleeve if we had more time. 

I think for many of us, the tendency is to over plan, so don’t be disappointed if you can’t get to everything. There’s always the possibility of another visit in the future! For kicks and giggles, here’s what did each day. 

Monday: Afternoon airport pick-up and scenic drive home with a stop for drinks. Dinner at home and catching up on life. 

Tuesday: Local area tour, short scenic hike, coffee and pastry stop! In the afternoon, we showed them our condo community, walked the beach, fed the stray cats, and relaxed at home.

Plenty of beautiful flora in Puerto Rico.

Wednesday: Morning trip to El Yunque National Forest – the only tropical rainforest in the US national forest system (according to the government website!). Wonderful couple of hours hiking then we drove to a nice beach area in Luquillo then had lunch at some touristy ‘kioskos’ (food and gift shop stands). Dinner at home and a bit of TV before bed. A nice full day.

A random waterfall at El Yunque National Forest.

Thursday: An even busier day. Coffee tour in the morning and a rum distillery tour in the afternoon. Quite the mountain drive to get to both of these places, so we’ll call it a scenic day trip as well. Can’t remember what we did for dinner that night, lol.

A rum distillery in Jayuya, PR.

Friday: Morning walking tour of Old San Juan, including the historic fort/castle called Castillo San Felipe del Morro. If your visitors like history, this is a must-see tourist attraction. We had lunch there as well and then we took S&C to their hotel (near the airport) where we hung out with them through dinner time and early evening. They flew out the next morning.

The walls of the fort in Viejo San Juan.

This is something I’d recommend to visitors who come to PR – the last night here might be best spent in a hotel so that your guests can have a bit of last minute privacy and get going on their own schedule. I know I hate to be dependent on others when I want to get to the airport.

3. Keep a list of activities. Learn from the last visit. Plan for your next.

When planning for the next round of visitors, don’t be worried about repeating some of the same activities. It’ll be a new experience for your guests, of course. And who cares if we hike a fourth time in El Yunque? It’s a nice park. 

In fact, we’re ready to make reservations for the rainforest this week for when our daughters and their husbands come to visit in about a month. Knowing our kids are even more activity-prone than my brother and his wife, we’re going to ramp up adventures for when they get here. We’ve got plans to go zip-lining, night-time kayaking, and additional hiking at some beaches and waterfalls.

We’ll try not to wear them out!

So what do you do to get ready for guests? If you come visit us, what would you like to do? We’ll be happy to accommodate! Just drop us a line a day or two before you arrive! (grin)

Beach near Luquillo, PR next to the kioskos.


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