MLT University 2012 Session Recap: Puerto Rico

September 29, 2012

This article is one of our session recaps from MLT University 2012. You can also view recaps on the Panama and Guatemala presentations.

Puerto Rico Travel Agents Guide

Cathy Dionne, a sales account manager for MLT Vacations, had a full room looking to learn more about MLT’s Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands products. We’re covering the Puerto Rico portion in this article but keep an eye out for our USVI article soon!

For information on specific hotels, tours, transportation, and to book visit MLT’s agent site—World Agent Direct. Don’t forget agents that attended MLT U have access into special promo codes.

MLT Vacations Puerto Rico Overview

Forever Stamp

Your client calls and they want to go somewhere tropical in a few weeks but don’t have a passport. Your client calls and wants a quick weekend getaway without the hassle of immigration or customs. Hellooooo Puerto Rico! You can drink the water anywhere on the island, you can use the US dollar, heck, you can even bring your own US Forever stamps to send your postcards!

Things to Know:

  1. 110 miles long, 40 miles across
  2. 4 million people on the island, 2 million of those in San Juan
  3. Drive on right side of road, good highways

MLT Vacations focuses on 3 main areas of Puerto Rico: San Juan, the southern coast region of Porta Caribe including the city of Ponce, and the Porta del Sol region on the west coast.

Getting Around Puerto Rico

Tren Urbano - Puerto Rico

When you book Puerto Rico with MLT Vacations, make sure to check if transfers are included in the package. Currently, only 18 of the 24 hotels carried have transfers. MLT Vacations also offer private transfers and car rentals for your clients.

For your car rental clients, some of the highways may be toll roads so remind them to bring change

Other transportation options on the island include taxis, buses, and light rail. For clients using the taxis, inform them the taxis work on point-to-point fares around cruise ports and are metered elsewhere on the island. Puerto Rico city buses (Metropolitan Bus Authority—AMA) are an affordable 75 cents. Also, clients who are downtown can access the Tren Urbano light rail system, which has nearly 11 miles of track they can ride for 75 cents.

Highlighted Puerto Rico Tours with MLT Vacations

A list of all of MLT’s Puerto Rico tours can be found in World Agent Direct under the "Activities + More" tab. Below, we list the tours Cathy went over in her presentation:

  1. El Yunque Rainforest Tour
  2. Only rainforest in the US National Forest System
  3. 25 miles of short hikes
  4. Great option for nature lovers or clients looking for less strenuous tour
  5. Old San Juan and Bacardi Rum Tour
  6. Stop at historic spots in Old San Juan
  7. Visit the Bacardi Rum factory (and get some samples!)
  8. The Bacardi Rum factory produces 75% of the world’s rum from 4 distilleries on the island
Canopy tour
  1. Canopy Tour
  2. Ziplining
  3. Minimum 8 yrs old, 45 lbs.
  4. Ecologically friend with no hooks, bolts, or screws or anything else penetrating the trees.
  5. Great for your adventure loving clients

Puerto Rico Overview

Around San Juan, there are a wide variety of things for your clients to try. There are plenty of golf courses, over 300 beaches, plantation tours, and for the shoppers they have 20 malls with over 100 stores in each plus 2 outlet malls. San Juan offers your clients a free hop-on/hop-off trolley to see the city.

Old San Juan

Old San Juan is the best place to see restored Spanish colonial structures. The pastel home lined streets covered with bougainvilleas are part of the reason this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cathy referred to it as a true port city with great food from all over the world in abundance. To give you an idea, in Old San Juan, there are over 100 restaurants within 1 square mile.

Porta Caribe is the semi-arid region located on the southern shores of Puerto Rico. Clients can take a dip in the thermal springs, drive along the dramatic coastline, and view colonial homes. Ponce, the second largest city on the island, is located in Porta Caribe and full of historic homes and buildings. When visiting Porta Caribe, clients will see the more traditional side of the island.

Porta del Sol is the the west coast of the island. It’s known for its laid back attitude, remote beaches, whale watching, and world-class surfing. Clients wishing to get in some bio-luminescent action can grab a tour here as well.

Highlighted MLT Vacations’ Puerto Rico Hotels

Here are the highlighted Puerto Rico hotels from the presentation. Please note they are all in the San Juan area and are European Plan only.

  1. Caribe Hilton
  2. 4 stars
  3. Close to downtown and Old San Juan
  4. One of MLT’s top selling hotels
  5. On peninsula with great views
  6. Calm beach for families, lots of children amenities, plenty of connecting rooms for families
  7. 7 restaurants on property and many restaurants in walking distance
  8. Spa on property
  9. San Juan Marriott and Stellaris Casino
  10. Close to downtown and Old San Juan
  11. Long beach, great for body boarding
  12. Cathy’s favorite room is a corner room with balcony. It has 2 whole walls with floor-to-ceiling windows, patio doors, and amazing city/ocean views.
  13. Spa and casino on property
  14. El San Juan Resort and Casino
  15. 4 stars
  16. The place to be seen, in very trendy neighborhood that attracts both locals and tourists
  17. Casino, restaurants and shopping area on property
  18. Starbucks in the lobby for Starbucks addicts
  19. Very eclectic property in terms of design. Dark wood, crystal chandelier, and purple velvet in lobby. The rooms were a complete 180 with white walls, white leather furniture, white marble floors for a very modern look.
El San Juan Resort and Casino Puerto Rico

  1. InterContinental San Juan
  2. Lots of activities
  3. Children’s program
  4. Casino, spa, and lobby café on property
  5. Club level rooms with private lounge, concierge, and afternoon reception
  6. Great for groups and weddings with lots of big spaces
  7. The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan
  8. 5 stars
  9. Peaceful, serene property
  10. Beach is next to a reef
  11. Calm, private beach
  12. Club level with added amenities
Ritz Carlton Puerto Rico

  1. Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort
  2. 4.5 stars
  3. One of MLT’s best selling properties
  4. Right next to tropical rain forest
  5. 60 ft. high waterslide
  6. Beach is a mile long with hammocks all along it and cabanas to rent
  7. 2 championship golf courses on property
  8. Kids club, kids pool, arcades
  9. Spa and casino on property
  10. This property does provide transfers
  11. Not a whole lot in the area outside the resort

In Closing

MLT University is a fantastic learning opportunity for agents. It's bustling, it's well-organized, it's full of useful information for selling destinations/products to your clients. If you haven't checked it out yet, make sure you do next year. Newbies with clients in MLT's market, this is a must! With subsidized air and a jam-packed agenda, it's well worth your time.

Image Credits: Machuka, Steve RhodeEmilio Santacoloma, Rachel Speer

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About the Author
Steph Lee - Host Agency Reviews

Steph Lee

Steph grew up in the travel industry. She worked with thousands of agents in her role as a former host agency director before leaving in 2012 to start HAR. She's insatiably curious, loves her pups Fennec and Orion, and -- in case you haven't noticed -- is pretty quirky and free-spirited.

If you’re looking for Steph, she leaves a trace where ever she goes! You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest as 'iamstephly'. 🙂