These spots in Puerto Rico are spring-break ready

Feb 15, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

For TPG news and deals delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In This Post

(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

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 photo of Culebra by Norbert Figueroa/EyeEm/Getty.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.