48 Hours in Puerto Rico
48 Hours in Puerto Rico
...with Destination Puerto Rico, a DMC Network Company
ABOUT THIS CONTENT:
White sand beaches dotted with palm trees, historic fortifications overlooking Spanish colonial buildings and cobblestoned streets, all the fried plantains, rice and beans, and succulent pork you can eat... Puerto Rico is all this and much more. The smallest of the Greater Antilles is the type of Caribbean destination that has something for everyone: adventure travelers, foodies, history and architecture buffs, and, yes, even for those who just want to sit by the beach with a Piña Colada and take in the sun. The island is back in the headlines again, this time as the New York Times’ #1 destination to visit in 2019, Jimmy Fallon’s first out of the studios, on-site location for the Tonight Show, and an exclusive two week run of Broadway’s Hamilton at the Performing Arts Center. We can safely say Puerto Rico is back in business and tourism is thriving, and with its easy access, Puerto Rico is the ideal two-day getaway, offering visitors the perfect setting to explore, relax, and recharge.
12pm: Mid-day arrival to the San Juan International Airport (SJU).
Welcome to Puerto Rico! Transport to hotel for check in.
2pm: Guest's choice between sailing and rum tasting
The adventure begins! Guests can take a leisurely sail around the Bay of San Juan or visit the Bacardi Distillery for some rum history and a cocktail.
Sail on the Amazing Grace!
Get your first taste of picturesque Old San Juan aboard the Amazing Grace. The topsail schooner is representative of the type of ships pirates used to sail in these very waters! On the Amazing Grace you'll enjoy drinks, appetizers, and breathtaking views of the skyline of San Juan, while learning some of the city's 500-year history. Once back at the dock, you're free to explore the Old City on foot. Take a stroll along the city walls and relive some of the city's history by visiting the San Felipe del Morro fort. Enjoy a cup of local Puerto Rican coffee at one of the colorful plazas or do some shopping at one of the many crafts shops and boutiques around Old San Juan.
Visit the Bacardi Distillery
Rum-lovers will be in heaven when they visit Casa Bacardi! On other side of the bay, the Bacardi Rum Distillery receives guests with a welcome cocktail and a stunning view of Old San Juan across the water. Guests can choose from one of three tours: on the Historical Tour you'll learn how Bacardi rum is made and a brief history of the distillery; on the Rum Tasting tour you'll become a rum expert and taste five premium Bacardi rums, including one that's only available on site; or learn how to make (and then drink!) three classic cocktails in the Mixology Class. It's a unique experience and a great introduction to the Caribbean's most iconic spirit!
5pm: Return to the hotel to get ready for evening activities
For your first night in Puerto Rico, guests can choose between an evening adventure on the east coast of the island or go out and party like a local at the Placita de Santurce in San Juan.
Kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay
There are only five bioluminescent bays in the world and three of them are in Puerto Rico. Just as the sun is setting you'll arrive at a small fishing village on the east coast of the island, located in a town called Fajardo. After a safety briefing by the tour operator, guests will kayak through mangroves at twilight to a hidden bay. As you paddle into this protected area the water begins to glow! This phenomenon is caused by a microorganism which lights up when the water it inhabits is agitated.
After this thrilling experience, enjoy some fresh-caught local seafood and traditional Puerto Rican cuisine at one of Fajardo's seaside restaurants: El Pescador, Cueva del Mar, Cinco Nudos, or La Estacion. Another option is to start heading back to San Juan and stop at the famous Luquillo Kiosks, a popular strip of beachfront restaurants and bars. There you can opt for a sit-down restaurant like La Parrilla or El Terruño serving Puerto Rican comfort foods such as mofongo stuffed with seafood or a churrasco steak with rice and bean. For a more local experience, visit one of the rustic bars blaring salsa where you can grab a cold beer and a classic “fritura” (local fried fritters). The alcapurrias, bacalaítos, and empanadillas come highly recommended!
Night out at La Placita
During the day, la Placita de Santurce is a low-key farmer's market in the urban heart of San Juan. But once the sun sets and the street lights come on the Placita comes to life! Restaurants and bars surrounding the old school plaza create an eclectic mix of experiences, from criollo-inspired fine dining and modern speakeasies to open-air dive bars with a live band playing in front.
You'll start the evening with dinner at Santaella, an elegant, upscale restaurant that uses local ingredients and traditional dishes as inspiration to create a unique dining experience, while behind the bar mixologists dole out some heavenly cocktails with local flavors! After dinner, guests can sneak up to a rooftop bar like La Carnicería above Aseres restaurant for a nightcap with a view of the plaza or join the couples dancing salsa on the street with a Medalla in hand.
8am: Morning in Condado
After an exciting evening, guests can enjoy a slow-paced morning around Condado. This gorgeous neighborhood with waterfront views of both the Condado Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean is known for its beaches, art deco buildings, elegant hotels, and dining options.
La Playita del Condado is a small, sandy beach just off Dos Hermanos bridge with shallow tranquil waters in shades of blue and turquoise. It's the perfect beach to lay back and relax or you can do a little snorkeling around the reefs. The Condado Plaza Hilton hotel rents beach chairs and umbrellas.
If you enjoy water sports, visit the Condado Lagoon park where you can rent a paddleboard or kayak for a couple of hours. While on the water you might even run into the resident manatees!
Condado has a number of lovely restaurants along Ashford Ave. For a real Puerto Rican breakfast experience visit Sobao by Los Cidrines, a classic Spanish-style bakery where you can sample a hearty Cubano sandwich or a ham, cheese and egg sandwich on pan sobao, their famous sweet bread, accompanied by a quesito pastry and some strong local coffee. For a brunch-style experience visit Blonda where you can enjoy some flavored mimosas or La Social, a classy bistro that is also a clothing boutique and hair salon.
12pm: Afternoon Activities
(This tour would leave around 10am in the morning)
Venture out to the town of Arecibo in the northern region of Puerto Rico for an amazing experience visiting the breathtaking Cueva Ventana, a cavern that sits atop a limestone cliff creating a "window" to the valley below. After the hike, guests will experience a favorite local pastime: “chinchorreo”, a road trip along the mountains visiting different "chinchorros" (local bars) where the group will stop for drinks and appetizers.
Cooking classes at Atelier
The Atelier at Cocina Abierta is more than a cooking school, it’s a laboratory of culinary ideas tucked away behind Cocina Abierta restaurant in Condado. Classes are offered in an interactive space emulating a home industrial kitchen, fully equipped with top quality appliances and utensils. Here culinary enthusiasts will get the chance to learn some new recipes, enjoy a drink, and then savor their creations.
Puerto Rico is a surfer's paradise and if learning to surf has long been on your bucket list, here is your chance to try it out! Guests will visit “La Pared” Beach, located 45 minutes from San Juan in the small town of Luquillo. Surfing instructors will guide the class through the basics, then its time to take your board out to the water. After surfing cool down at the famous Boardriders Surf Bar right across the street where you can try tropical flavored mojitos and great food while enjoying the ocean views and live surfing by local pros!
6pm: Your night!
For a memorable last night in Puerto Rico guests will choose from a visit to an hacienda at the foothills of the rainforest or a unique night out in Old San Juan.
Hacienda Siesta Alegre
At the base of El Yunque rainforest is Hacienda Siesta Alegre, a private home and horse ranch known as the house with no walls. Start the night with a Paso Fino Horse show then move on to cocktails while you learn basic 1-2-3 salsa steps. After enjoying a delicious catered dinner under the stars, dance the night away in this idyllic countryside setting. Guests can choose if they would like Cigar Rollers, Mojito Stations or Rum Tasting Tables as add-ons for the evening.
Old San Juan
You're dropped off at the entrance to Old San Juan for a private nighttime tour of Fort San Cristóbal. This guided walk through the old fort, illuminated by lanterns, is something not all visitors get to experience. End the tour with a champagne toast before crossing the street to the stunning venue chosen for this evening's dinner: the Antiguo Casino. This stunning Beaux-Arts building was constructed in the early 20th century and was the social epicenter of the Puerto Rican elite, later becoming the Government’s official banquet hall. It was recently remodeled and reopened for use as a private venue for gala events and weddings. It has an elegant marble interior with high ceilings and small terraces with views of the fort. Guests will be greeted in the garden courtyard for a welcome cocktail, followed by a themed event such as Casino Night, in which part of the space is transformed into a casino, or Gatsby Night, a 1920s inspired bash, among other themes.
After the reception guests can venture into the Old City for drinks. La Factoria, which has been voted one of the World’s Best 50 Bars for 3 years running, is actually three bars in one. Each bar serves creative cocktails (one is actually a wine bar) and in the evenings there's live music for dancing. For craft beer lovers, La Taberna del Lupulo is a must visit and guests will have the opportunity to sample local craft beers or choose from their extensive menu of international beers. If you'd rather go to a dive bar, make your way to El Batey on Cristo Street where the juke box plays classic rock and the signatures scribbled on every surface of the bar tell the story of all the people who have passed through there.
As all good things come to an end but depending how late your flight is there's a few extra things you can fit into your weekend getaway.
Round of Golf
Did you know that Puerto Rico is known as the Scotland of the Caribbean when it comes to golf? Enjoy a round of golf at one of the many courses close by before you bid farewell to the island.
While some fishing charter companies operate outside of the metro area, there are several options that sail the deep waters of the San Juan Bay and can accommodate a half day to a full day of fishing.
Yoga or pilates class
Finish off your trip with a relaxing drop in class at one of the many yoga and pilates studios around San Juan. You'll board your flight feeling refreshed!
Thank you for visiting our island and, yes, its normal to already be planning your next trip back!
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