Experiencing the very best hotels and activities in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is known for its endless sun, vivacious culture, and flavorful culinary dishes. With numerous options for accommodations on the island, finding the perfect place to spend the night might be a challenge. We’ve mapped out a few of our favorite places to stay on San Juan, and have included a collection of some impressive activities to experience. So sit back, grab a piña colada, and let us help you plan your next trip to Puerto Rico.
Where to stay
San Juan offers a variety of hotels to suit every style and budget. Whether you’re looking for easy beach access, gaming facilities, or a rockin’ bar scene, you’re sure to find it in spades on the island.
The San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino is the perfect hotel for the person who wants to have it all. This beachfront property gives you the choice between salt water or chlorine with its easy beach access and spacious outdoor swimming pools. Relax and rejuvenate at one of the poolside yoga classes in the morning, and reward yourself for all of your hard work with a meal at the La Vista Latin Grill restaurant at night.
Shake your booty to spirited live music at the hotel’s Red Coral Lounge. Take bets to see who can withstand the famous Dragon Berry Mojito or a spicy margarita, and, if you’re a different kind of risk-taker, head to the hotel’s on-site casino. Spend as many chips as you wan,t but make sure to order a burger to accompany them. We’re serious: The Stellaris Casino offers one of the best burgers we’ve ever had.
Another unique overnight option is the historic Hotel El Convento. This former convent dates back to 1651 and is now a boutique hotel for saints and sinners alike. In the rooms, antique meets modern with classic four-poster beds, Andalusian tiles, plasma TVs, and Bose stereos. Also be sure to hit up Hotel El Convento’s complimentary cocktail hour, which features an assortment of hors d’oeuvres and boozy beverages.
Where to play
Now that we’ve advised you on the sleeping situation, we have a host of recommendations for San Juan’s exclusive island activities.
Rum fans will love the Casa Bacardi Distillery. Visitors of the legal drinking age will learn about the distillery’s rich history and sample two (that’s right, TWO) free rum-based libations. This Disneyland of rum might have you feeling a little goofy when you leave so it might be best to cab it back to your hotel. You can even buy a bottle of the Bacardi Reserva and have your bottle engraved for free. Now that’s a sentimental spirit that makes the perfect souvenir.
Viewfinder Tip: Getting to the Bacardi Distillery can be a little tricky. Your best bet is to take the ferry from Pier 2 and hop in a cab from there.
If you want to ride a different kind of high, head to Toro Verde Nature Park and take on La Bestia a.k.a. “The Beast.” At 843 feet off the ground, this is the world’s highest zipline. The experience is a wild ride: Adrenaline junkies whiz at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour over rain forests, rivers, and valleys. Did we mention that you ride “Superman Style” or head-first? If that doesn’t give you a head rush we don’t know what will. Aside from “The Beast”, the park offers rock climbing, rappelling, suspension bridges, and slightly tamer ziplines.
To calm down after that adrenaline rish, head to the breezy Condado Lagoon. The calm waters of the lagoon make for an ideal kayaking and paddle boarding experience. Equipment rentals are available along the shore; two- and four-person pedal boats also are available. Keep an eye out for local wildlife as the lagoon is part of the San Juan Bay Estuary. Also, make sure to sport some water shoes as the bottom is littered with sharp rocks and shells.
What are your favorite activities for a tropical destination?
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Chris and Tawny have had articles and videos published on USA TODAY TRAVEL, BBC Travel, Matador Network, as well as appeared as guest stars on TLC Asia's Fun Taiwan television series. When not on the road, you can find Chris and Tawny nestled in their home in Tacoma, Washington fueling up on coffee and cat cuddles while planning their future adventures. You can follow their travels on their blog, Instagram, and YouTube