A report by J. Q. Louise for Forbes.
COVID-19 has pushed the world to a grinding halt. In the times we are currently living in, it can be hard to see the silver lining. But just think how amazing that first vacation will be when this is all finally over. Since we could all use a little pick me up, here is a travel guide for a weekend in Puerto Rico to save for once it is safe to travel again.
Why Go To Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a place we should all be turning to for inspiration for many reasons right now. In 2017, the island was devastated by hurricanes Maria and Irma, but came back stronger than ever. The people picked themselves up, rebuilt their island and are back to welcoming visitors from all over the world with open arms. The people of Puerto Rico are kind, welcoming and warm; their hospitality is legendary. And after surviving multiple natural disasters with such grace and resilience, they are exactly the role models we all need right now.
Not only is Puerto Rico a part of the United States, but it is also under four or five hours away from most major cities east of Chicago and under six hours from many places on the West Coast—making it one of the most convenient tropical paradises for people in the continental United States. No passport combined with no customs lines and lots of direct flight options makes Puerto Rico an accessible getaway for many people.
Where To Stay
And once you land in San Juan, you just have a quick 30-minute taxi ride out to the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar for some of the most pristine, quiet, relaxing beaches you have ever seen. Seriously, the long stretch of beach at the Wyndham Grand is so peaceful, you won’t want to leave. Perfect for the whole family, the Wyndham Grand’s approachable sense of luxury is grounded in Puerto Rican culture and beachside charm.
Located on the eastern part of the Island, the property has 400 rooms and 40 suites, with either ocean or rainforest views and the balconies give everyone a chance to enjoy that balmy Caribbean air.
Wake up to a made-to-order omelet at Marbella and linger over the sumptuous buffet of pastries, fruit, cereals and hot dishes. And afterwards, choose from either one of their three pools or their vast beach front to soak up some tropical sunshine while sipping on a colorful drink.
What To Do
What makes the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar a special property on the island for families to visit is not only it’s on-property amenities, but also its proximity to so many off-property activities. The El Yunque National Rainforest is just a few minutes away and is certainly worth a visit. La Coca Falls, Yokahú Observation Tower & the Angelito Trail are all places you will want to make memories with your family. And after the year 2020 has already been, getting out and appreciating nature should be on all of our lists.
Where to Eat
Another big reason to visit Puerto Rico is to experience the Puerto Rican cuisine. For the past several years, Executive Chef, and Puerto Rican native, Ramon Carillo, has made it his mission to elevate the cuisine at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar by infusing local flavors to give guests an authentic look into Puerto Rican cuisine. Three dining experiences guests won’t want to miss are: Iguana’s Cocina, Roots Coastal Kitchen and the Caico Bar.
Iguanas Cocina is located at the Rio Mar Country Club on the property, in a brand-new structure completed during the reconstruction in the aftermath of the hurricanes. The beautiful interior is a bright and open space to enjoy traditional Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo and Chuleta Kan-Kan. Chef Carillo and his team have elevated these classics with refined plating and top notch ingredients.
Roots Coastal Kitchen
Roots Coastal Kitchen is located in the main hotel building and is another new addition to the property. Featuring a modern aesthetic, the menu here focuses on Caribbean comfort food. Things to point out are the Spareribs and the Grilled Swordfish. Oh, and don’t miss their homemade ice cream, which is available throughout the day.
Finally, the Caicu Bar is a fun spot to check out day or night because here guests can experience another big part of the island’s culture and heritage—rum. Sample some exclusive Puerto Rican rums, while enjoying lots of delicious tapas either inside at the spacious bar or outside on the terrace, while you take in the sunset and admire the picture perfect view.