Swoon-Worthy To-Do’s in Puerto Rico

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Guests at El Conquistador Resort soaking in the views in the infinity pool at Las Casitas.
Guests at El Conquistador Resort soaking in the views in the infinity pool at Las Casitas.

In Recommend’s August issue, we shared with you our Love Affair with Puerto Rico & Four Grand Personalities, but those properties weren’t the only things that had us swooning over this Caribbean island destination—it was also the gorgeous, crystal-clear turquoise waters, the majestic mountain views, and the island’s savory Hispanic cuisine.

Puerto Rico also offers an array of activities for the active traveler, as well as the beach bum vacationer. While soaking up the views in an infinity pool, like the one at El Conquistador Resort, and sipping a mango mojito (very delicious by the way) will put a smile on your client’s face, make sure you let them know about some other fun activities they can experience. Here are a few of the unique experiences we explored during our trip, plus a few more we can’t wait to go back and try out.

Views of Old San Juan from Casa Lila, where travelers can participate in a cheese-making class.
Views of Old San Juan from Casa Lila, where travelers can participate in a cheese-making class.

Fun Tours:

  • Mofongo-making class at La Vaca Brava through Get Shopped Puerto Rico ($99 pp). Visit getshoppedpr.com or call (787) 381-2861.
  • Cheese-making and wine-pairing course with a local cheese-maker at Casa Lila through Get Shopped Puerto Rico; $570 for private tour for six or $95 pp (787) 237-1671. The views of Fort Brooke from the rooftop terrace at Casa Lila at sunset was an idyllic backdrop as we sipped our wine and discussed the flavors we chose for our individual cheeses.

We experienced Get Shopped Puerto Rico’s Shopping & Culinary tour, however, we did a little too much eating and actually zero shopping.

Paddleboarding off Palomino Island.
Paddleboarding off Palomino Island.

Other things to see and do:

  • Palomio Island:
    • Horseback riding at Palomino Stables—a 50-minute, 4.5-mile ride $69 pp (787) 208-6883. Guests who aren’t keen on riding the horses can visit the stables to pet the rescued animals or watch them roam around the pen for exercise; the stable keepers might even let you feed them a banana.
    • Watersports—This writer had her first experience on a paddleboard and kayak on Palomino Island, and it could not have been planned better. Paddling on turquoise waters with mountains in the distance and an ocean with ripples instead of waves, made this experience an easy task. The kayak ride from Palomino Island to Palominito Island, a smaller island a few feet away from Palomino Island (and the filming location for Pirates of the Caribbean 2), is a stunning one. While we glided back to Palomino Island, we floated over some breathtaking, enormous coral in bright red-orange hues that skimmed the water’s surface—we had to raise the oars above our heads to make sure the coral was not damaged. Recommend guests schedule time for snorkeling offshore, too, as they will get to see coral up-close.
  • Bacardi Rum Factory—Travelers can take part in interactive tours of the factory, onsite museum, plus rum tastings. casabacardi.org
  • El Yunque Rainforest—Located on the eastern side of the Luquillo Mountains, travelers will have to drive to the top of the road and hike up to see the cloud or dwarf forest, since the actual rainforest is located at the top of the mountain. elyunque.com
  • Bio-Bays—Three of the five locations in the world where visitors can participate in watersports or swim in the bioluminescent waters are located in Puerto Rico. These include the Laguna Grande, known as Bio-Bay in the Northeast tip of Puerto Rico; plus two more at the east coast in Vieques, or the south coast in La Parguera. biobay.com
  • Camuy Caves—Site of one of the longest underground river systems in the world.
  • Caguana Indian Ceremonial Park—A preservation of stone monoliths and petroglyphs dating to A.D. 800. nps.gov
  • Arecibo Observatory—Site of the largest radar telescope in the world. naic.edu

Now you’re armed with recommendations to make sure your clients have a love affair of their own with Puerto Rico.