VacationWiser Guide to Puerto Rico part 2

VacationWiser.com Guide to Puerto Rico

(Information courtesy of www.discoverpuertorico.com)

Where to stay in Puerto Rico

If you are into incredible pools, gorgeous beaches, delicious cuisine, and superb service, Puerto Rico has several resorts that will surely exceed your expectations (here are a few recommendations for top-rated resorts on the island).


You’ll find resorts in a variety of settings, depending on your preference, including oceanfront locations as well as resorts located in more remote, forested locations. Across the island, Puerto Rico has made smart use of its resort facilities in a way that highlights the natural beauty of the island.


The resorts of Puerto Rico offer a variety of swimming pools, nearby beaches, world-class golf courses and spas, and on-site restaurants with exquisite cuisine. You can find more information about resort property options in this section of the site.


These are some of our suggested hotels in Puerto Rico.  For more information go to www.vacationwiser.com/puerto-rico.  Sample rates below are for a 4-night stay for 2 people mid-week in May.  Number in parentheses next to rates are bi-weekly prices. Number in parentheses by hotel name is Star rating.



This all-suite hotel is located in Carolina and it is only minutes from San Juan's international airport. The hotel is just two blocks from Isla Verde Beach and features a tropical free-form outdoor pool and waterfall surrounded by lush foliage. Spacious two-room suites have a private bedroom and separate living room with a dining/work area. The living room features a refrigerator, microwave, wet bar, a sofa bed, and a TV in every room.

As low as $1,000 ($39) midweek and $1,211 ($47) weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $1,070 ($42) midweek and $1,180 ($46) weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020



Splash, relax and have fun by staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort, a beachfront hotel in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. Courtyard offers the ideal destination for escape and adventure, near many beaches and Old San Juan. A great place for family vacations, couple’s getaways, friends’ reunion, wedding destinations, business trips and much more. One of the closest hotels from the San Juan International Airport (SJU) by only half mile away and only a few steps from the Blue Flag Certified Isla Verde Beach which is one of the best in the metro area.


As low as $1,292 ($50) midweek and $1,425 ($55) weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $1,325 ($51) midweek and weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020



Following a $65 million redesign, this hotel blends modern tropical splendor with old-world elegance. Situated on two miles of pristine oceanfront, along Isla Verde Beach, El San Juan Hotel is an oasis of 388 guestrooms, suites, pool and beachfront villas. Features include four tropical pool areas and luxury cabanas, 16 restaurants and bars, cabaret with live entertainment, BRAVA nightclub, Well & Being Spa, 24-hour state-of-the-art tri-level Fitness Center, and the Shops at El San Juan – a gallery of dining and exclusive boutique offerings.


As low as $1,413 ($55) midweek and $1,552 ($60) weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $1,421 ($55) midweek and $1,564 ($61) weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


La Concha Renaissance Resort (4*)

Beachfront hotel provides a luxury stay just steps from Condado Beach. Explore the vibrant architecture of Old San Juan and pristine beaches in the popular district of Isla Verde. Rest in chic rooms and suites featuring plush bedding, room service and stylish décor, many with outdoor balconies and ocean views. You can also soak in gorgeous beach views at one of three outdoor pools. Please your palate at the many restaurants and bars, enjoy tapas at Solera and Asian cuisine at Komakai. Before your stay reaches its end, place your bets at our on-site Casino de Mar.


As low as $1,887 ($73) midweek and $1,335 ($89) weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $1,990 ($77) midweek and $2,092 ($81) weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


What to eat & drink in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is more than rice and beans! Your trip to the island won’t be complete if you don’t sample staple dishes such as mofongo, made of deep-fried green plantains smashed with garlic and served with pork, creole, or garlic chicken, crab meat, skirt steak, among others; tostones, double deep-fried plantain wheels, usually served with mayoketchup and garlic; and lechón, a slowly spit-roasted pork dish with juicy meat and crispy skin.

Even though you will always find the distinctive spice that characterizes Afro-Caribbean cuisine, chefs and cooks throughout the island have inclined to infuse other cultures into their menus. So, if your palate is feeling a little adventurous, many kitchens around Puerto Rico offer a variety of plates inspired by Asian, Latin-American, and European cuisine that still highlight creole elements. If you won’t have time to sample the wide variety of local dishes, consider trying out a food tour to sample more flavors of the island.

In San Juan, the heart of Santurce's art scene is full of hip restaurants bringing international flavors to locally sourced ingredients and traditional Puerto Rican recipes. Food parks like Lote 23 and the Miramar Food Truck Park are now in vogue, with kiosks and food trucks helmed by innovative chefs offering bite sized fine dining in a casual atmosphere. Entire streets are now recommended for their selection of restaurants, from the urban chic of Calle Loíza to the more classically high-end Calle Fortaleza.

Click on one of the links below for a more complete sampling of restaurants throughout Puerto Rico

Metro - sample a gastronomic wonderland of Puerto Rico’s finest restaurants 

North - Traditional Puerto Rican food with an emphasis on the sea.

East - Walking the line between tradition and innovation

South - Explore a diverse culinary scene with strong roots in traditional Puerto Rican food.

West - Head west and discover some of the most eclectic and exciting restaurants on the island.

Central Mountains - Brave the curving roads of the central mountain range for a true culinary adventure.

Culebra & Vieques - The restaurants of the island municipalities offer a unique dining experience in a gorgeous setting.


Did you know Puerto Rico is the Rum Capital of the world? Over 70% of the rum sold and consumed in the United States alone comes from this Caribbean island. From gold to white, spiced or dark, your preferred drink will be at its best when mixed with one of the many on-island distilled spirits.

And, while many establishments have their own interpretation of traditional cocktails like the piña colada, ask to have your drink crafted with award-winning Puerto Rican brands like Bacardí, Don Q, or Ron del Barrilito to see what all the buzz is about.

A great way to taste and learn about the over 70 brands under the Rums of Puerto Rico quality seal is to take a tour around Casa Bacardí or Serrallés, visit La Casita de los Rones in Old San Juan, or make time for a rum tasting excursion.

So, whether it is at a popular restaurant, a famous bar like La Factoría, a microbrewery like Ocean Lab, or the many establishments around La Placita de Santurce, there are plenty of beverage-related adventures you can enjoy while you’re visiting Puerto Rico.


What to do in Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico the possibilities are nearly endless: You might consider kayaking the bioluminescent bays, enjoying a local rum tastinghiking to see waterfalls in a rainforest, or viewing contemporary art in a museum that is its own architectural masterpiece. The hardest part will be to choose from so many options, but you can hang out on one of the island’s beautiful beaches until you decide.

The island is full of hidden gems and exhilarating experiences. Here are more ideas for things to do in Puerto Rico.

Beaches and Watersports – If you had to pick just one watersport to go for on Puerto Rico’s crystal-clear waters, what would it be?  Don’t worry–the good news is that there’s no need to pick just one. Between kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and stand-up paddle boarding, this island has it all. Explore this section to find ideas for things to do during your trip.

  • Beaches – 270 miles of coastline that translate into nearly 300 beaches to choose from.
    • Flamenco Beach (Culebra) – “picture postcard” beach considered one of best in world.  Ideal for swimming, unwinding and simply beach-bumming
    • La Playuela (Cabo Rojo) – southwestern halfmoon gem with breathtaking waters and scenery. 
    • Crash Boat (Aquadilla) – most popular beach in Aquadilla.  Full range of activies – snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and surfing. 
    • Isla Verde (Carolina) – one of the most popular stretches of beach because of all the hotel and restaurants in the area.  Voted best urban beach in the Caribbean.
  • Watersports
    • Boating – rent a boat or catamaran to explore.  Choose from 3 marinas in San Juan and 7 in Fajardo
    • Kayaking – rentals and guided trips available throughout island.  Check out La Parguera and its mangroves.  For more unique adventure wait until sun goes down and explore one of the three bioluminescent bays in Fajardo, Vieques and Lajas.
    • Surfing – head to west coast towns of Rincon and Aquadilla
    • Scuba diving – first-timers can take the plunge with an easy shore dive in Vieques’ Mosquito Pier or Culebra, or a Discover Scuba Diving Experience.  Veteran divers seek out Desecheo, Mona Island or the The Wall near La Parguera.
    • Snorkeling – explore cays, reefs, mangrove coves anywhere on the island, either directly from the beach or take a boat to where sea turtles, tropical fish and colorful reefs await just below the surface.  Dive shops, gear rental facilities and boat charters are widely available.



  • Music & Dancea quick guide to the beats you’ll hear as you explore the island
    • Styles/Genres
      • Bomba - Afro-Caribbean rhythm played by two or more drums guided by the feet of the dancer. 
      • Plena - played in a 2/4 time with differently sized and tuned hand-held drums called panderos. Usually choreographed in pairs to a more blistering pace than bomba, with couples facing each other.
      • Decima - Traditional Holiday music in Puerto Rico. This style is accompanied by a cuatro, güiro, and guitar. Singers are called trovadores and the lyrics are often compared to poetry, given the very specific rules of composition.

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