WHAT TO EAT: In Old San Juan, be sure to visit Barrachina — the birthplace of the piña colada — where the vibe is festive and the drinks are strong. Also try Dragonfly, a chic, red-drenched fusion of Asian and Latin influence, with a tapas-style menu and a killer sake sangria, or the cool, Art-Deco Aguaviva, which is widely known for its fresh, Latino seafood dishes. At Rio Mar, you also have your pick of feasts, from sandwiches and frozen drinks at the beachside Tiki Bar, to fresh ceviche at Aqua Luna, the resort’s Caribbean seafood spot, to homemade butternut-squash ravioli from Palio, the upmarket Italian restaurant.
WHERE TO STAY: The Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa (a Wyndham Grand Resort; wyndhamriomar.com) features 600 rooms — including 72 suites, each with ocean, garden or rainforest views that are worth the price for an upgrade. Rooms reflect the overall ambience of the resort: warm, open, grand and redolent of a Spanish manse. Here, the benefit of resort vacationing — that is, having everything from drink refills to facials to transportation within easy reach — is at its best, but couples who like something smaller might consider staying a night or two in Old San Juan, which boasts several renowned hotels — including the luxurious Hotel El Convento (elconvento.com), a stunning boutique hotel with great Puerto Rican character that occupies a preserved 17th-century convent.
WHAT TO PACK: One or two dressy outfits will be plenty — what you’ll really want is beach-casual and golfing gear: swimsuits, sundresses, linen suits, shorts, polos and sandals. In addition to plenty of hats and sunscreen, you should also bring a few outfits that can get dirty — jeans for horseback riding and t-shirts for ATVing.
BEST TIMES TO GO: Weather tends to be consistent (warm) throughout the year, but if you’re looking to avoid the high season and save a little cash, aim for May through December.
NEWLYWED NEWS: Rio Mar features a romance package that starts at $309 per night and includes a suite, daily breakfast, champagne and strawberries upon arrival, and 25 percent off tennis, spa sessions, tours and cabana rentals.
GETTING THERE: No passport needed for the four-hour direct flight from Philly to the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport. Rio Mar does offer to arrange transportation for the 19 miles from the airport to the resort.
ROMANCE RATING: ♥♥♥ 1/2
PAGE | 1 | 2