Puerto Rico is the perfect year-round destination for the traveler seeking to relax and unwind in an idyllic setting. Known for its Spanish colonial architecture, pre-colonial Taino culture, and world-famous salsa dancing, Puerto Rico is one of our favorite Caribbean islands. After visiting this idyllic paradise in partnership with Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, we’ve curated a guide to the can’t miss beach experiences in beautiful Puerto Rico.
Bike Along the Rockefeller Nature Trail
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve’s property, is home to the gorgeous Rockefeller Nature Trail, where there are three nature-filled trails perfect for hiking and biking. I loved discovering the secret coves hidden alongside the beaches and sandy shores and spotting exotic birds and other local wildlife. Follow the Blue Trail to the Clubhouse and East Beach, a four-mile bike ride that circles around the entire resort. Along the way, you can explore parts of the Pterocarpus Forest or take a pit stop at Barlovento, to indulge in delicious Caribbean cuisine alongside the beach. The Green Trail is shorter (about 1.8 miles) and takes you along a stretch of beach and through the more botanical parts of the resort. Here you’ll see tropical plant life and the elusive Coqui, a small frog native to Puerto Rico.
Kayaking on Bioluminescent Bays
Kayaking on Bioluminescent BaysBioluminescence, light emitted by natural fireflies like organisms and deep-sea fish is one of the island’s most beautiful natural wonders. Puerto Rico’s Bioluminescent Bays are best experienced by glass-bottomed kayaks where you’ll travel deep within the mangroves and glide over oceanic plankton to get up close and personal to these magical illuminated creatures. On a clear night, their neon lights illuminate the waters in a visual usually reserved for fantasy movies.
Fishing is always a fun, favorite island pastime, especially when you can “hook and cook” your catch of the day. Dorado Beach; a Ritz Carlton Reserve offers fishing adventures for beginners and professionals. The experience will connect you with Puerto Rico’s abundant biodiversity and introduce you to sustainable fishing methods and the culinary process used to prepare your dinner. From in-shore fishing (fishing within nine miles of the shoreline) or off-shore fishing (aka deep sea fishing) to tarpon fishing (fishing specifically for a tarpon), you’ll be provided with state-of-the-art fishing gear to help you reel them in. Once you’ve caught your fish, head over to La Cocina, the resort’s culinary center, to enjoy a specially prepared meal by a private chef with wine pairings.
Endless Water Sports
In partnership with GoodWinds, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve offers guests the experience of enjoying water sports including snorkeling, kitesurfing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding on the East Beach. Co-owners of GoodWinds, Karla Barrera and Phil Morstaad, have developed instructional programs for those who want lessons, but you’ll also have the opportunity to go out on your own and shred, as the surfers love to say.
Set Sail on a Luxury Catamaran or Private Yacht
Take to the turquoise sea in the resort’s luxury catamaran to sail through the cays surrounding Puerto Rico. Here the crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and taking in breathtaking views of the remote island locations while enjoying a barbecue lunch on board. If you want to elevate the experience there is also a private yacht that will journey groups of up to 12 to the surrounding islands of Culebra, Vieques, Icacos, Palomino, or Palominito where you can snorkel, jet-ski, and indulged in a chef-prepared lunch, with wine of course.
Learn to Scuba Dive
An all-day scuba diving excursion awaits you at three of Puerto Rico’s top diving locations. In Cayo Diablo, swim through colorful corals and marvel at the marine life from tropical species of fish to sea turtles and jellies. La Isla de Desecheo, one of Puerto Rico’s most stunning cays, has unspoiled reefs with crystal clear waters filled with abundant marine life that will make you feel like you’re driving in a private oasis. At Mar Chiquita, you can dive right off the beach to explore vibrant coral and sea creatures that evoke the sense of an underwater city.
Witness Sea Turtle Nesting
If you’re looking for a heart-tugging experience, witnessing sea turtles hatch and take their first steps towards the ocean is unforgettable. Turtles lay their eggs in April. The best time to see hatchlings is between June and September, especially August. Try this adventure with the Chelonia Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to supporting worldwide turtle research and conservation.
Exploring the Caribbean by yacht, catamaran, or kayak is exciting but flying above in a private seaplane and landing in the waters surrounding Puerto Rico is simply epic. The seaplane lands directly in the hidden bays and captivating keys which stun with aquamarine-colored waters, white sand beaches, and untouched plant life.
Golf by the Sea
Located along the shore, the East Course at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve features championship fairways, panoramic views of the ocean, and bunkers filled with native beach sand. This course hosted the 2015 PGA Tour Latinoamérica Championship, so even the most professional players will be challenged on this luxury course designed to capture the reserve’s natural beauty.