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These spots in Puerto Rico are spring-break ready

Feb. 15, 2020
9 min read
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After the recent earthquakes that rocked Puerto Rico, tourists may be nervous about traveling to the island. But even though a few spots are still recovering -- and some areas still haven't been fully rebuilt after Hurricanes Maria and Irma -- many parts of this U.S. territory were unaffected by the earthquakes and have bounced back from the storms.

The earthquakes took place along Puerto Rico's south coast near Guayanilla, Guánica and Ponce, but San Juan, the most popular tourist destination, is on the north side of the island, far from the worst of the damage. Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, told TPG that all three main airports on the island are open and no cruise ship operations have been disrupted by the seismic activity. In fact, most of Puerto Rico is ready to welcome tourists for a winter or spring getaway.

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(Image courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico)
(Image courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico)

It's a short flight away for sun-seeking U.S. visitors, you can use U.S. dollars and you won't need to dig out a passport.

Whether you're traveling solo or with family or friends, here are some of the best spots in Puerto Rico this spring.

Visit TPG’s Caribbean destination hub for more stories about traveling to the region on points and miles, where to stay and what to do while you’re there.

San Juan

Splurge on stays at the stunning St. Regis Bahia Beach, which reopened after a $60-million renovation in early 2019, or Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve (its Positivo infinity pool is positively perfect). Budget travelers can opt to use points on select Hyatt properties in San Juan, such as the Hyatt House and Hyatt Place San Juan, that go for 12,000 points per night.

The St. Regis Bahia Beach. (Photo by Nick Ellis)
The St. Regis Bahia Beach. (Photo by Nick Ellis)

Besides lounging on San Juan's sandy beaches, wandering the colonial streets of historic Old San Juan and admiring a glowing sunset from the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, you can lace up your sneakers for the Tropikal Half Marathon in San Juan on March 1, 2020. There is also a food festival dedicated to Puerto Rican cuisine, Saborea, in early April, and Major League Baseball's Puerto Rico series, a three-game event between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets, takes place at the end of April.

Related: A beginner's guide to visiting Puerto Rico

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Bright colors of La Perla in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael)
Bright colors of La Perla in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael)

It's also prime surf season. Some of the largest swells are along Puerto Rico’s northwest coast, but you can surf around San Juan at spots like La 8 and Escambron Beach.

Culebra

Ferry service to both Culebra and Vieques islands is up and running. You may have heard of Vieques, but Culebra glides under the radar, overlooked in favor of its fancier island sister to the south. Culebra is for those who want to get off the beaten path and don't worry too much if the roads aren't paved, the ATMs run out of cash, the Wi-Fi goes down or the only activity is relaxing on a glorious, serene beach. (Flamenco is the most famous stretch of sand on the island.)

Culebra, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Douglas Hodgkins/EyeEm/Getty)
Culebra, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Douglas Hodgkins/EyeEm/Getty)

Culebra may not have fancy hotels and all the amenities a luxury traveler might want, but it's a wild, unspoiled escape.

Related: Best Caribbean points hotels

Vieques

This island's hurricane recovery has been slower than in San Juan and our usual pick, the W Retreat & Spa–Vieques Island, is closed for repair until further notice, but other hotels on the island (like the ecologically-minded and geometrically unique Hix Island House) are open for business.

Vieques Island. (Photo by Ian Stevenson/EyeEm/Getty)
Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Ian Stevenson/EyeEm/Getty)

Although many feared that Hurricane Maria permanently ruined the chemistry of the famous Bahía Bioluminescent bay in Vieques, the bay has begun to glow once again.

You also may spot "wild" horses running along the beaches of Vieques. Although these horses do have owners, plan to share your space with them, as they often have free range of the island.

Luquillo and Fajardo

These resort towns, which are about an hour east of San Juan, are ready to welcome visitors. The area's main tourist attraction, El Yunque National Forest, suffered extensive damage in both hurricanes, but several areas of the park are open even as programs are underway to restore the landscape in damaged areas.

La Mina Falls in El Yunque National Forest,
La Mina Falls in El Yunque National Forest. (Photo by Alisha Bube/Getty Images)

Besides El Yunque, there are many beautiful beaches where you can share the sand with local residents, who barbecue or picnic and bring speakers blaring reggaeton and salsa, making it a lively scene.

Coco Beach Puerto Rico
(Photo courtesy of Coco Beach Puerto Rico)

Visit in February to check out the Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club, a sunny stop on the PGA pro tour.

Visit Via the High Seas

Another option is to visit Puerto Rico and other Caribbean destinations on a cruise. All of the major cruise lines have no plans to modify their itineraries and will pull into San Juan as usual. Discover Puerto Rico told TPG that, "cruise ports are still open — there was a five-day period after the earthquakes where we had almost 60,000 cruise passengers disembark in Old San Juan.”

Cruise port, El Morro Castle and City of San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo by fallbrook/Getty Images)
Cruise port, El Morro Castle and city of San Juan. (Photo by fallbrook/Getty Images)

Rincón

Surfer paradise Rincón is ready for you and your board. It has always been a laid-back beach town, not a resort area, so don't expect many luxury hotel chains here. Instead, plan to stay at comfortable home rentals, cute boutique hotels and welcoming bed-and-breakfasts. The city hosts weekly farmers markets on Sundays. Also, check out the Corona Pro Surf Circuit in mid-March and the Rincón International Film Festival in mid-April.

Surfer at sunset in Rincon
Surfer at sunset in Rincon. (Photo by Marc Pagani/Getty Images)

Bottom line

Parts of Puerto Rico have weathered serious natural disasters over the past few years, but much of the island is safe and ready for visitors on spring break. Your tourism dollars will help boost the island's economy and you'll be welcomed with open arms -- not to mention lots of sunshine.

Featured image by Getty Images/EyeEm

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023