Honeymoon: Destination: Puerto Rico
AT THE BASE of the lush, towering El Yunque Mountain in Puerto Rico —
the “Isle of Enchantment” — sits the Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, a sprawling retreat sandwiched between the El Yunque rainforest and the ocean. Here, you might spend the morning snorkeling in the Atlantic or being pampered at the spa, the afternoon playing tennis, golfing or riding horses through the foothills, and the night choosing among the resort’s 11 restaurants or going out on the town for dinner and dancing in romantic Old San Juan. Or, you might simply lie side-by-side on the beach, soaking in the subtropic sun until it sets over the water. But no matter what your version of honeymoon heaven may be, here, you can rest assured that it’s going to be hot.
BY DAY: At the resort, lounging in the poolside cabanas or playing 18 holes on one of two championship golf courses are no-brainers, as is spending time at the 7,000-square-foot Mandara Spa; off grounds, eco-tours of the rainforest (via hikes, horses or — the coolest option — ATV rides) are a can’t-miss for the array of wildlife you’ll take in, and the chance to take a dip in the crystal-clear Mameyes River. Also plan some time in vibrant Old San Juan, which is about 45 minutes by car from Rio Mar. The 466-year-old section of the capital is a historic — and charming — little gem, with narrow cobblestone streets and sherbet-hued buildings that house art galleries, locally owned restaurants and both local and international retailers. The surrounding Spanish fortresses that were built in the 16th and 17th centuries to defend the island from attack by the British still stand as majestic as ever today, as does the simple but gorgeous San Juan Cathedral, which is home to the remains of Ponce de León — and which still offers Mass once a day. You can recoup on the beach the next day, arranging for a catamaran sailing trip or a wave-runner tour of the coast.
BY NIGHT: You absolutely cannot leave Puerto Rico without a nighttime kayak tour of the magnificent bioluminescent bay. Rio Mar is right next to one of only seven such bays in the world, and nothing compares to paddling through the ocean into a secluded bay where microscopic dinoflagellates illuminate the water and make the fish within glow under a moonlit sky. Old San Juan offers a different kind of night out, with lively, tourist-friendly bars, restaurants and dance clubs — or you might settle in at Rio Mar for sunset dinner on one of the dozens of terraces, and a night in the glitzy in-house casino.