Puerto Rico lends itself to a multi-destination itinerary with a rental car. Start your stay in San Juan or the beachy Northeastern area, then drive southwest towards Ponce for a few days’ stay there.
There are two resorts I recommend in South Puerto Rico, both of which are four star upscale and beachfront.
Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort (253 rooms)
Here’s a four star upscale resort situated on Puerto Rico’s south side perfect for golf enthusiasts and families. The lobby is quite large and is open air. There’s a restaurant in the lobby facing the pool that’s open air, and offers breakfast and an exciting assortment of themed buffets throughout the week. Overall, there’s a sense that you get plenty of elbowroom.
Just built is a new Executive Tower. Here you’ll find Deluxe Rooms with full ocean views, as well as Executive Rooms with access to the exclusive Executive Lounge. All rooms have balconies. Deluxe Rooms offer pull out beds, perfect for families. In this tower, the rooms have a more contemporary feel, while the rooms in the older towers are more Caribbean in style.
The main pool is situated under lots of palm trees. The beach is nice, but the sand is dark. In the evenings, the hotel restricts the guests’ access to the beach. The view is lovely, and you can see “Coffin Island” offshore.
There’s 27 holes of golf here, and the club house is quite nice. For those seeking a bit more privacy than the main pool offers, the club house pool is available for hotel guests.
This resort is perfect for golf enthusiasts and destination weddings. This is also suited for honeymooners and families who prefer a Hilton atmosphere over something more “regionally authentic.”
About 2 hours’ drive south of San Juan airport and over the mountains sits the Copamaria Resort, on the southern Caribbean coast of Puerto Rico in Guanica. This charming, moderate quality resort is a nature lover’s dream, and offers quite a bit for those wanting to relax or perhaps dive and snorkel as well. Surrounding the Copamarina Resort is the Dry Forest National Park.
Rooms here are spacious and quite charming. The floors are tiled, and the furnishings are in simple woods. All rooms feature patios or balconies, with wood shutters and a ceiling fan on the patio/balcony. Bathrooms are nice, with oversized walk-in showers (no tubs).
The property stretches over a generous chunk of beachfront. There are a couple of pools laid between the rooms and the beach. The grounds are pretty and there are plenty of tropical plants in bloom.
The open-air lobby area, outdoor café, and indoor dinner restaurant sit on one side of the resort. While the food here is quite good, the service during dinner can be slow. Breakfast is buffet style, and lunch is quick and efficient.
The diving center here is PADI Gold and is excellent. There are several diving and snorkeling options, and Irving in the dive center organizes activities for families and adventure seekers. The beach is a little mucky.
This resort is excellent for families and couples looking to get away from it all. There are some meal plan options, as well as dive packages available. With a car rental, nearby Ponce can easily be explored during the day. Without a car, you’ll be limiting your experience of the region.
~Cindy Grant, Travel Consultant, RecommendTravel.com 972-625-6200