With the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean lapping upon its pristine palm-fringed beaches and with all-year-round tropical sunshine, Puerto Rico is an exotic island found to the east of the Dominican Republic. Its distinctive culture and quixotic vibe make it an idyllic choice for a romantic break or honeymoon.
Puerto Rico has an array of fine beaches, superb reefs, a host of luxury hotels and villas along with numerous cascading waterfalls found throughout its rugged rainforests. Dubbed the Island of Enchantment, there are huge nature and marine reserves, and for the urban explorer, its colonial past has left some remarkable architecture.
Sitting between the British Virgin Isles and the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico is part of the Greater Antilles and includes several smaller islands like Mona, Culebra and Vieques. The main international airport is at San Juan and it is served by many of the world’s leading airlines, which offer flights from Singapore and Jakarta.
San Juan with its mélange of historical and contemporary architecture, beaches, nightlife and exotic cuisine, is the perfect base blending city life and fun in the sun with relaxation and the opportunity to explore.
In the heart of the city the Condada Vanderbilt Hotel offers luxury with a colonial twist, while Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel offers a modern quayside alternative. To the east of the city in Fajardo discover unbridled beachside luxury at El Conquistador, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. Just a short drive west of San Juan is found the elegant Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
A walk through Old San Juan is a popular excursion where the colourful buildings, narrow cobblestone streets and dramatic city walls will whisk you to a time of Caribbean pirates and Spanish occupation. A real favourite is the famed Old Juan food tour which, through the course of an afternoon, introduces a range of authentic Puerto Rican food and drinks whilst admiring the city’s architecture and scenery.
Authentic Puerto Rican cuisine is a potpourri of Caribbean, Spanish and Latin styles and flavours. For a local San Juan experience try el Jibarito Restaurant or head to the birthplace of the famous piña colada cocktail, Barrachina. Must-try dishes include mofongo and mamaposteao, a rice dish with green peppers, olive oil, cilantro, beans, tomato sauce and onions.
There’s plenty of romantic dining too, from sultry beach grills and dusky bistros to fabulous fine-dining restaurants. For a sophisticated dining experience try 1919 Restaurant at the Condada Vanderbilt Hotel, or for something extra special take one of the breath-taking sunset champagne and dinner cruises from the old port.
For the energetic, the marine-rich crystal clear turquoise waters are ideal for swimming, diving and water sports. La Parguera and the San Juan marine conservation area are favourite spots, but for the best diving and snorkelling take a boat trip to Culebra, Vieques or Mona Islands where there are masses of underwater caves and a multitude of vibrant fish swimming among the stunning corals. As an added bonus there’s also a good chance you will encounter larger creatures like sharks, dolphins or even humpback whales.