The climate is generally perfect for a vacation in Puerto Rico, an easy jaunt from most East Coast cities. Wide golden beaches, lush green mountains, a 272-mile-long coastline, and even a tropical rain forest add up to a variety of vacation settings for sports and exploration. Add to that the historic charm of Old San Juan and Puerto Rico nightlife that sizzles till early morn, and you've got a destination made for fun.
The Excitement of a Puerto Rico VacationTwelve casinos, numerous discos, Bacardi headquarters, the bustling Plaza Las Americas and Condado shopping areas, and rousing LeLoLai shows celebrating Puerto Rico's diverse ethnic history all contribute to a festive vacation atmosphere.
Water sports in Puerto Rico range from snorkeling to wind sailing to deep-sea fishing to sharing an embrace in the warm, shallow waters off shore. Tennis players have a choice of hundreds of courts and ten 18-hole championship golf courses.
Popular Puerto Rico beaches include Luquillo and the El San Juan Hotel and Casino's. Seeking secluded sands on your vacation? Sail to the nearby island of Palomino.
The old-world charm of Old San Juan affords a glimpse of what the area looked like after the first Spanish settlers arrived in Puerto Rico. Among the rows of restored 16th and 17th century buildings, Casa Blanca is the oldest continuously inhabited residence in the Western Hemisphere.
Old San Juan also is the setting for a Dominican convent dating back to the 16th century and the Museo Pablo Casals, highlighting the life and legacy of the celebrated Puerto Rican cellist. The Ponce Museum of Art houses a world-renowned collection and the Museum of the Americas displays crafts and archeological finds. At land's end, El Morro affords a dramatic, windswept vista of the seemingly endless ocean beyond; most couples who vacation in Puerto Rico visit this haunting landmark at least once.
Exploring Beyond San Juan on a Puerto Rico VacationWhat's best about Puerto Rico is that it offers honeymooners a wealth of secluded as well as sophisticated spots to discover on vacation.
Day trips from San Juan lead to sun-drenched beaches and a lush tropical rain forest where two can hike all day. Or cross San Juan Bay by ferry and tour the world's largest rum distillery. More than 100,000 gallons are made each day at this Puerto Rico location, and free samples await. For moon-gazers, self-guided tours are permitted at Arecibo Observatory, site of the world's largest radar/radio telescope and home base for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).
Outside San Juan you can find places of calm repose amidst tranquil beauty. Natural Puerto Rico attractions include the Botanical Gardens, 25,000-acre El Yunque in the Caribbean National Forest, Pinones Forest Reserve, and Las Cabezas Nature Reserve. The latter, 45 minutes from San Juan, encompasses forest land, mangrove stands, lagoons, coral reefs, beaches, and cliffs.
For a great view on your vacation, visit scenic El Faro lighthouse. Subterranean adventures begin in Rio Camuy Cave Park, site of the world's largest underground river.The Caribbean National Forest on the east coast of Puerto Rico, Caguana Indian Ceremonial Park in the northwest, and the Guanica Dry Forest represent more of the island's splendor in every direction.
Plaza Las Americas in Hato Rey is the largest shopping area in the Caribbean. Unique (albeit pricey) souvenirs can be found at the shops at the El San Juan Hotel. Public markets in Puerto Rico, such as one near Plaza Rio Piedras and others along the beaches, offer locally made goods to bring home as vacation souvenirs.
Romantic Puerto Rico Vacation Resorts
In Old San Juan, El Convento Hotel & Resort is a former convent that's been converted to a unique luxury hotel.
The Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa & Casino is located on eight acres of beachfront property in Isla Verde and offers a fine blend of tropical waters and high-rolling excitement.
East of San Juan, where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet, 500-acre Wyndham El Conquistador Resort & Golden Door Spa is an ideal choice for those who want to gambol -- and gamble -- in luxury. While the resort also features a fully equipped fitness center and health spa, lolling in a string hammock under the shade of a palm tree, piña colada in hand, may be all the exertion one desires on a Puerto Rico vacation.