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Garmin GPS o Google o otra

My new to the island perspective on getting around with technology. After 90 days of driving to new places almost daily, my conclusion: Garmin. But, all the tech's add something be it convenience or familiarity to using that media. I guess it's between a stand alone GPS or if your car has one built in, or driving via cell/computer. Note this was my first time navigating with anything other then a hard map in my life.

I was using a Garmin Nuvi late model that I bought en ebay $60 before I left, the kind that talks to you. Here's why It helped me a whole bunch, maybe one example is better to illustrate.

Twice I had to go from Boquerón to Aguadilla to renew my rent car contract from Charlie Car Rental (highly recommended for price, cars, service). Rental contracts are only good for 30 days. I rented it at the Airport and drove to Cabo so I had never been to Aguadilla but had to go back on the 30th. Aguadilla or Rincon? Chose Aguadilla because I was going that way often, was property hunting NW.

With the Garmin you voice (or manually) enter a command to "Find a Category", OK, I want "Car Rental", then it automatically does the range from your current location, closest first, Charlie's pops up in Aguadilla, away you go step by step. Aguadilla is a fairly big town and easy to get to via an exit on RT 2 but then you need to get specific. It was easy with the Garmin. And elsewhere as well, some glitches.

The official govt map from DTOP.gov is very, very good, but I looked for something like that online before i went with no success. Now, maybe I would try DTOP.gov to find one, My new amiga gave me one from
2006, but after I'd been there a month. They are similar to your State hwy maps you get from DMV. Get one. You will still need the next level however. The car rental company maps, and really all other paper ones, not so much. Google maps pretty good.

Individual addresses on Garmin were difficult depending. If they were on a significant road, not too hard. But I was often looking at stuff on back roads. So what I would do is before I left in the morning I would use my laptop to Googe Earth the specific area I was headed and then find the points of interest that would pop up--Church, School, etc, and then use Garmin "Find a Category or Find a Place" to find it and bingo, I knew I could get close to my destination and then move on from there.You can also tether Garmin to your laptop and plan your day in your kitchen without a cell connection--only needs the Bird.

I don't know if Google has this tech for your phone, if so, cool and that is really really helpful.  The "turn left in 1/2 mile or 100 feet" was super. But a problem was that Garmin's data base often has certain roads with the "Honorary" name, like "Calle Juan Diego" eg, but the area where you are too often only uses the Hwy number on the signs, and not this name. But when Garmin is repeating turn left in 25 feet you know that has to be the street, and if the wrong one, it'll tell you to make a u turn and get you straight again.

Lastly other features I liked alot and that were important: aside from the screen telling me what direction I was going which can be very helpful when I was confused, and how fast I was going, was this: it'll also read what your long-lat is and you can save that as a place/waypoint for later but especially this: the elevation. That was important to me in my hunting, and you could be in an area where the general elevation was say 700' but 3 minutes later without really noticing an incline or decline in your path, you could be very significantly + or - where you just had been.

Looking forward to the day when I won't need a GPS in PR--when I know it that well.

I brought an older Garmin to PR.  Can't get it to work on the island?  Is there a simple fix for it?


My phone GPS works well on the island.

I use Maps on my iPhone and it works fine for the most parts. The only issues I had is when there are multiple streets with the same name in a town, sometimes different Urbanizaciones and sectors have the same named street so the GPS may take you to the wrong part of town.
The GPs don't always know the different sections of a town or allow to enter the full address. Never had an issue with just looking at a map on the phone and putting a pin and have it take me to the pin.

Sitka, just a guess, maybe PR maps were not downloaded? Maps are a free download thru Garmin--mine had PR Mexico and Canada. But I thought well download the update. Shoot, glad I started at night, because it was almost finished when I woke up. Anyway, the fact that PR Canada and Mexico seemed to be an add on, I'm wondering if yours wasn't loaded.

I don't know.  It's in PR, when I get back, maybe look for update on line.

A humorous note on using Garmin in a Spanish speaking country. I learned you have to pronounce the words as if they were English words when doing your voice searches and commands and in interpreting its voice directions.

For example, Garmin pronounces "Calle" as if it was English "call".  "Turn right 1 mile on Call Ronaldo Rivera". 

A bunch of words like that. The letter J gave it fits so Jose Jimenez became Joesee Gymenez.

I don't think I'll ever go back to a devoted GPS unit considering iphone/smartphone capabilities now (land-based that is).  From Rey's comments it sounds like Maps has the accuracy you might expect, and using it alongside Google Maps usually fills in some gaps.  Or if Garmin is your jam, you can also download their app and maps.  With Siri, you can also just say "Siri, how do I get to..." without even touching the phone if you prefer.  It does lack the screen size of some GPS's, but that's about the only thing.  I wish people would get their heads out of their smartphones and therefor out of their a@@$@, but dang they are useful.

The problem wit the dedicated units is the cost of updating the maps. Sometimes the maps cost just as much as a new unit.
I pay nothing with maps, it is a free app and it is updated automatically.

The maps and my update were free with newer Garmin's. Mine has a product release date of 2014.

Lots of ways to skin a cat. I'm locked into Garmin for awhile because I learned it and love the audio thing--not having to put your eyes elsewhere often though I did. A godsend on the return trip to Charlie's Rent a Car in SanJuan when I was departing. Their office was  a tough one, 4-5 quick decisions at high speed in short periods once you got onto SJ X-ways.

I'm looking at Repo pick-ups at Banco Popular. Built in GPS would be a selling point for me..

Tech is changing so much it won't be long before the best of all of our navigation choices will be rolled into one.

I use google maps, so fat it's been very accurate. Also, for those like me that the house is on a rural area, I found very useful the way point feature. It allows you to send your location to someone via text or wassap.

We use Google maps.  Much better than Garmin.

adlin20 :

I use google maps, so fat it's been very accurate. Also, for those like me that the house is on a rural area, I found very useful the way point feature. It allows you to send your location to someone via text or wassap.

Good points, I was playing with Google maps for the first time and specifically rural areas in PR. I like how you can easily mouse-move location A to become A1 (my words) yet still keep your go-to point B. Very cool.

But I also really liked my Garmin talking to me at 40 mph without taking my eyes off the road to look at an internet map.

someday the way tech is moving, all the nav tech's will be rolled into one with the best of each.

The maps app in my iphone talks to me all the way during a trip it tells me when to turn, the name of the road and how many miles to the next turn every so often in voice. It is also connected to my apple watch which shows me the turn and vibrates when is time for the turn. If playing music it lowers the music volume when it speaks, it connects also to the bluetooth on the car so music, turn directions and phone calls go thru the car speaker and microphone. All nicely integrated.

35th :

I was playing with Google maps for the first time and specifically rural areas in PR. I like how you can easily mouse-move location A to become A1 (my words) yet still keep your go-to point B. Very cool.

But I also really liked my Garmin talking to me at 40 mph without taking my eyes off the road to look at an internet map.

The Google maps app in your (Android) phone does exactly that. You set the route, tap start and it starts talking to you. It tells you where to turn, if you miss a turn it re-caculates the route and it nicely and friendly guides you to your destination

I didn't know that.

If you can talk to it to enter commands and search categories which is really sweet then it is a wash between the two.

Give it a try, the app is free. :)

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