Flights of Fancy
If You’re Sporty
From lush rainforests and an unspoiled coastline to a bumping downtown scene, this bilingual island offers endless opportunities to get out and move.
Puerto Rico is not all waterparks and Bacardi. San Juan is a bustling hub with upscale shopping, historic forts, and the hip SoFo district. Savvy travelers go to Isla Verde for white sand and fewer crowds, then decamp to the rainforest for eco-touring. On the island’s east side are the golf courses of Fajardo, a resort-heavy town that brags one of the world’s only bioluminescent bays. Vieques—an almost untouched Latin version of Martha’s Vineyard—is a 90-minute ferry ride away.
The 416-room Ritz-Carlton San Juan sits on a powder sand beach and has a 12,000-square-foot spa. Honeymooners should splurge for the superluxe Ritz-Carlton Suite (787-253-1700, ritzcarlton.com). At El Conquistador Resort, Las Casitas Village suites include an infinity pool, 24-hour butler, and access to the hotel’s private Palomino Island (866-317-8932, elconresort.com). If it’s quiet you crave, hit the child-free Bravo Beach Hotel in Vieques, where the two-bedroom oceanfront villa has indoor-outdoor dining space, Frette linens, and, best of all, no phone (787-741-1128, bravobeachhotel.com).
The shrimp tacos at Old San Juan’s Dragonfly pair perfectly with the restaurant’s tart mojitos, and the subterranean room sets a dream-like dining experience (787-977-3886, parrotclub.com). For flash and fun, check out the Asian-Latin eatery Budatai in Condado (787-725-6919, budatai.com). The rooftop Café Amapola (787-392-9811, cafeamapola.com), meanwhile, is the best place for mofongo, a tasty local plantain dish. On Vieques, the Bravo Beach Hotel serves fresh diver scallops by its candlelit pool.
Less than an hour from San Juan, La Marquesa Forest Reserve hosts zip line canopy tours, while El Yunque rainforest is unbeatable for hiking (787-444-0110, canopytourpr.com; 787-888-1880, elyunque.com). In Fajardo, kayak through a mangrove-lined nature preserve into Las Croabas Lagoon, where everything in the water glows at night (787-888-2887, elyunque.com). Wild horses roam the isle of Vieques, and you’ll need a 4 x 4 to get around. Off-road your Jeep to one of the isle’s deserted beaches or secret fishing spots (vieques-island.com). –Sascha de Gersdorff