Mornings in Puerto Rico are filled with the smell of fresh-roasted, local coffee and the sound of surfers heading out to catch the morning swell. By afternoon, your feet dangle in the pool while you listen to the calls of the local coquí frogs. And by dusk in Puerto Rico, you’ve watched from your balcony as the sun melted into the ocean. Under the stars, you’ll head to your favorite local restaurant — their mofongo is the best around — then back to your luxurious room for a deep sleep, comforted by ocean sounds and fresh air from the open window.

A tranquil place to rest your head at night is an essential part of any vacation, but that doesn’t mean you need to settle for the bare necessities. Puerto Rico’s accommodation options offer a wide variety of experiences — beachside resorts, secluded forest havens, and grand, historical hotels. When planning your Puerto Rican getaway, be sure to consider these breathtakingly beautiful and unique properties.

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Retreat into Nature

Lush El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system. This expansive forest boasts waterfalls, tropical birdlife and a network of hiking trails. Though a few locations in the park are still under progress, the rainforest is regrowing rapidly and receiving visitors every day as more areas continue to open for business. At Dos Aguas bed and breakfast, you’re in a bamboo forest only a stone’s throw away from the entrance to El Yunque. You can spend your day resting in the hammocks along the porch, admiring the captivating coloring of Puerto Rican parrots. Wake up to a complimentary breakfast, then partake in an on-site yoga class, rent a kayak or jump on a paddleboard to explore the river and nearby secluded beaches. If you’re the adventurous sort, lace up your hiking shoes and explore the many nearby trails — be sure to bring a snack to enjoy with the ice-cold limonada found at trail entrances.

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Copamarina Beach Resort and Spa in Guánica is also a nature-centered experience. The resort is amidst 20 acres of tropical garden, and stands close to both Cayo Aurora — one of Guánica’s mangrove islands — and the Guánica Dry Forest.

Cayo Aurora, also known as Gilligan’s Island, is a small island with crystal-clear waters perfect forsnorkeling. The dry forest — an official UN biosphere reserve — is an arid, desert-like landscape. It’s a stark contrast to the foliage elsewhere in Puerto Rico and truly fascinating to explore. The dry forest’s many walking trails will lead you down a variety paths to breathtaking limestone caves and the ancient Fuerte de Caprón, a fort constructed in 1892 during the Spanish-American War. You’ll get lots of sun on this hike, so mornings or late afternoons are the best — avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day.

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Step into History
In the oldest part of Old San Juan, Villa Herencia sits between the famous San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan) and the Cathedral of San Juan. Each of the eight luxurious rooms in this boutique hotel are furnished with local art and original furniture from the 1900s. Step back in time for the night, then wake up to walk the distinct blue cobblestone streets laid by the Spaniards or wander through the massive El Morro fortress nearby.

Meliá Century Hotel is the oldest hotel in Puerto Rico, and one rich in history. Originally designed and built in 1895, when Puerto Rico was still under Spain’s control, the hotel is a historical and architectural landmark in Ponce — Puerto Rico’s second largest city, which was founded in 1692 and is located in the south of the island. Nearby, you’ll find Parque de Bombas, a century-old firehouse turned museum, as well as the Museum of Puerto Rican Music and the world-class Ponce Museum of Art. In the evening, relax with the locals on the boardwalk and enjoy delicious empanadillas while listening to live music.
Stay Close to Adventure
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La Parguera, in the island’s southwest, is a natural reserve famous for its coral reef formations. It is in Lajas, which is still an active fishing village. Four species of mangrove trees grow on the beautiful little islands that dot the waters (called cayos, or keys). And if you’re a fan of water sports, this is the place for you.

Both Turtle Bay Inn and La Jamaca offer easy access to fun on and in the water in La Parguera: scuba diving, snorkeling, jet-ski tours, kayaking, deep-sea fishing and more. Turtle Bay Inn, an eco-friendly hotel, is close to the lively Playita Rosada, yet a perfect distance for ensuring you get a quiet night’s sleep. La Jamaca is a great choice for families, with the property featuring a peaceful swimming pool and deck with a full snack bar. You also won’t want to miss the nearby bioluminescent bay — take a tour by kayak, small motorboat or in a glass-bottom boat to see the waters come to life.

Written by Discover Puerto Rico May, 2018