Short is the new long.
It seems that every time we’re in Puerto Rico, it’s for only a day or two, typically before or after a big gay cruise. But we always manage to discover plenty of adventure. So if you find yourself in the same boat (or on the same ship), you can still get a wonderful taste of the island without feeling slighted.
Here’s where to stay and a couple can’t-miss excursions, no matter how long you plan to stay. Best of all, if Puerto Rico is your only destination, you can travel from the U.S. without a passport—and still purchase duty-free booze before your flight home. Woo-hoo!
Lately it seems we’ve been on the Tour of Beachfront Marriotts (and we’re not complaining!) The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is right on Condado Beach in a hip neighborhood filled with high-end shops and restaurants ranging from local mom-and-pops to fine dining. It’s close to both the airport and the cruise port, too. On-site dining includes La Vista Latin Grill & Bar with incredible creations from a highly skilled Italian chef. Late nights, the locals flock to the Red Coral Lounge, which finds the entire lobby converted into a high-energy dance club. Then pop over to the adjoining casino for some chow mein at Wan Chai Noodle Bar. Seriously, this was some awesome Chinese food.
Book your stay now at www.marriott.com
Many of the rooms at San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino have spectacular ocean views. Plus, they’re so close to the beach, it’s ideal to open the balcony door and fall asleep to the waves crashing onto the sand below.
The expansive resort features multiple pools, a jacuzzi, a beachside bar and cafe, as well as a swim-up bar that makes a killer piña colada. Activities include morning yoga and pool games, or just hit the beach where attendants are ready to set up lounge chairs and umbrellas. Within walking distance or a short cab ride are several gay bars and Condado Beach itself is often filled with LGBT couples and groups of friends.
If you can pick only one adventure during your stay in Puerto Rico, you must book a kayaking tour of the bioluminescent bay (also known as the Bio Bay) and Laguna Grande. Puerto Rico is one of the few places in the world with this phenomenon. Pair up and take a guided kayak tour through a narrow water passage into the wonderfully calm lagoon. After the sun sets, the water comes to life and literally glows when you agitate it with your paddles or hands. It’s truly magical and one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that makes travel so rewarding. Plus, it’s a really great test of any relationship when you’re paddling through pitch darkness and must work as a team. There may be a few F Bombs dropped, but in the end you’ll definitely be closer to your kayaking partner.
There are several companies that offer tours, but we’ve done this tour on more than one occasion and highly recommend Island Kayaking Adventures over any others. Book your tour from just $45 per person at www.ikapr.com.
Puerto Rican food is some of the best in the Caribbean, but knowing where to go and what to eat can lead to lots of tear-soaked plantains. On our last trip, we went on a food tour with Spoon Food Tours, which took out every bit of guesswork. Choose from walking tours, drive-and-walk tours, cocktail tours or let them set up a custom food-and-site itinerary tailored to your specific schedule and needs. You’ll discover hidden gems and some wonderful local specialties.
Tours start at $69 per person at Spoon Food Tours.
Old San Juan is a gorgeous 500-year-old Spanish colonial city and an absolute must-visit. It’s a short distance from the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino by taxi, but you can kill two birds with one stone by booking one of the Spoon Food Tours that include exploration in and around this gorgeous place so steeped in history. Plus, there’s always rum. Lots and lots of rum.