After spending a week in Puerto Rico in partnership with Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, we’re true believers in the island’s magic. From the historic architecture to the rich art, mouth watering mofongo, and idyllic beaches Puerto Rico is definitely having a moment.
Walk the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan
A collage of brightly colored colonial houses set against a backdrop of cerulean blue waves, Old San Juan is one of the US’s most well preserved colonial cities. Best explored on foot, the weaving labyrinth of blue cobblestone streets, dramatic art installations, imposing fortresses, historic churches, and adorable cafes set the tone for Puerto Rican culture. Take a guided walking tour of Old San Juan with a local guide to learn more context about the history and culture of Puerto Rico.
Hunt for local art
Puerto Rico is home to some of the most talented artists in the world. Art enthusiasts will find an eclectic showcase of works in the Santurace neighborhood. Stroll the streets to marvel at everything from subtle installations, to intricate mosaics and large scale murals. To view the city’s rich creativity through a historical lens, visit the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico for 17th and 18th century works. Right around the corner is the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo home to mixed media works, video installations, and classic Puerto Rican architecture.
Experience Fine Puerto Rican Cuisine
For a modernized take on Puerto Rico’s most popular dishes head to Caña by Chef Juliana Gonzalez. Named after the island’s famed sugar cane, Caña seamlessly blends fine dining with authentic Puerto Rican flavors. The Taste of Caña menu with six courses of Puerto Rican delicacies is the perfect opportunity to try an extensive selection of local culinary favorites.
Discover Historical Landmarks
Puerto Rico is alive with stunning colonial architecture. The Cuartel de Ballajá was the last piece of monumental military architecture created by the Americas’ Spanish army in 1854. A history tour of Puerto Rico isn’t complete without visiting the fortresses on either side of Old San Juan Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal. Guests can also tour the charming governor’s mansion in Old San Juan, La Fortaleza or El Palacio de Santa Catalina. Or head to the west side of the island to visit Punta Borinquen, the ruins of an 18th-century Spanish lighthouse.
Taste Puerto Rican Rum
In Puerto Rico rum is big business. A local tradition dating back more than 100 years, Puerto Rico is the home of iconic rum brands like Bacardi, Don Q, and Palo Viejo, and travelers have to experience a signature local cocktail as part of the experience. Try a Pina Colada or a Liza Minelli Old Fashioned made with Don Q Rum in The Lobby at Isla Verde Hotel. If you’re looking for a totally immersive experience visit one of the many rum distilleries in Puerto Rico.
Work Remotely from a Private Villa
Why work from home when you can work remotely from a private pool villa in paradise? Fairmont El San Juan Hotel has a collection of spacious oceanfront villa rooms which are perfect for longer stays. You can also take your laptop and get to work from a luxury cabana around one of the resort’s four magnificent pools. That’s what we call OOO.
Experience Indigenous Puerto Rican History
While Old San Juan is filled with charming colonial architecture, Puerto Rico was rich and culturally diverse far before the Spanish colonizers. Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493, the indigenous Taino people referred to the island as Borinquen, which comes from the word Borikén or “Land of the Valiant and Noble Lord” which is why Puerto Ricans sometimes refer to themselves as boricuas. The Taína Route is a historical tour that highlights the role that the Taino people had on Puerto Rico’s heritage. The route provides an insider look at the pre-colonial ways of life and offers a glimpse into the Taíno’s contribution to Puerto Rico’s modern vocabulary, cuisine, and artworks.
With nearly 300 beaches and over 270 miles of coastline, Puerto Rico has so many beautiful sandy shores, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to enjoying lazy days by the ocean. But if we had to call it, the award-winning Isla Verde Beach, Dorado Beach, and Condado Beach are all heaven on earth.
Visit the only Tropical Rainforest in North America
El Yunque Rainforest is the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest System. It’s also the most biologically diverse and the most studied forest in the United States and one of Puerto Rico’s greatest natural wonders. Take a half-day tour of El Yunque Rainforest and explore the wildlife, waterfalls, and tropical scenery that makes Puerto Rico so unique.
Americans Don’t Need a Passport
Puerto Rico is the easiest island in the Caribbean for US citizens. For US travelers, there’s no need for passports, US currency is accepted, and there is no language barrier as most people in tourism speak English.
Enjoy Live Salsa Music and Dancing
Salsa is part of the heart and soul of Puerto Rico. You can’t visit the island without experiencing the rhythm of the people. Try your hand at a beginner’s salsa class for couples in Condado Park. Your instructor will take you through all the basic movements and by the end of the class, you’ll be able to dance the night away with the passion of a local.
Kayak in Bioluminescent Waters
The Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay on the Island of Vieques is the most bioluminescent water in the world. Just staring at the brightly colored neon waters is enchanting, but do swim, snorkel scuba dive, and kayak in this magical spot.
Taste Local Street Food
For a more casual approach to traditional cuisine head to Lote 23 a gastronomy park where you can hit different stands to enjoy the various takes on local and international dishes. Don’t leave without tasting the Mofongo at El Cuchifrito by Chef Pablo Rosa. Mofongo is a classic island delight made with fried mashed unripened green plantains, mashed garlic, and small pieces of crunchy chicharrón or fried pork skin.
Snorkel the Caribbean Sea
The best way to discover the island of Vieques off the coast of Puerto Rico is during a snorkeling experience. The island’s reputation as the diving capital of Puerto Rico is well deserved with its crystal clear waters, colorful reef formations, and lively marine life.
Relax at the Spa
Experience an invigorating pampering day at Well & Being Spa, Fairmont’s luxurious spa and wellness retreat. Indulge in a seaside cabana massage on Isla Verde Beach, schedule a citrus body scrub, or jumpstart your skincare routine with a facial. The signature spa experiences are the perfect finishing touch to complete your vacation bliss.