Seadog Travels had the fortune to visit Puerto Rico for a bit more than three days last month. The trip was organized by the CCRA Travel Commerce Network and was meant as a way for travel professionals to visit the island, meet with local travel suppliers, and to become more familiar with the best ways to promote travel to the Caribbean. We jumped on this opportunity as we have been planning to feature Puerto Rico as one of our early travel destinations. We were not disappointed!
Accommodations. Our stay on the island was at the El Conquistador Resort. This expansive, multi-purpose, and iconic Puerto Rico destination has something for almost everyone. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed. Activities include a water park, golf course, access to a private island, marina, pools, hot tubs, a variety of dining venues, and evening entertainment. In addition, there is a vast amount of meeting space in several meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of almost any size. The staff were friendly and helpful, the resort is attractive, and this is a great destination for families, couples, destination weddings, business meetings, and corporate events. Located along the northeast coast, the resort also offers great views of the Caribbean Sea east to Culebra and Saint Thomas.
San Juan. For our first full day, we explored Old San Juan and Fort San Cristobal. We hiked all around the fort, learned of its history and purpose to defend the island from land attacks, and sought refuge in covered areas when the rains came. Yes, it was a pretty wet visit, but still thoroughly enjoyable. We then went to the convention area to the T-Mobile Plaza and savored authentic Puerto Rican food (mofongo, arepas, oh my!). This is a beautiful and modern facility that has a variety of restaurants, a cinema, stage for live performances, and an open communal area with an amazing presentation system. See our YouTube page to see what we mean.
In addition, we explored the Condado Collection – a series of three different hotel properties in downtown San Juan. The Condado Vanderbilt is steeped in history and will appeal to people who enjoy a classic luxury property. The Condado Ocean Club is a boutique, adults-only, beach-side property designed for people who want a beach scene and some quiet times. There is also La Concha, a chic property for people who love fun, socializing, and meeting people.
El Yunque Rainforest. Our last full day on the island was spent exploring the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. Forest Service system. If you want a lush forest with waterfalls, lakes, hiking trails, and lots of life, then this is for you. Quite small at about 29,000 acres in size, the forest offers an amazing amount of biodiversity — including the Coqui — a small frog that you can hear chirping.
The people. One of the most noticeable aspects of the trip was the openness and friendliness of the Puerto Rican people. It’s almost contagious and you can’t help but want to ‘Live Boricua’ — live like us — and become a part of the island. The people made the stay so much more enjoyable. It was refreshing, inspiring, and just wonderful.
Meetings. Yes, we had to attend meetings on the second day, but they were all very useful. The governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, gave the opening talk and noted how Americans have been discovering the island since the days of the COVID-19 pandemic. We think this discovery should continue as the island has so much to offer. Puerto Rico often gets a bad rap because of the perception of a struggling island recovering from hurricane damage, but that isn’t what we saw. We saw a thriving island, a thriving people, and a determination by them to live fully and openly.
Summary. Thanks to this trip, Seadog Travels is now super-charging its efforts to promote visits to Puerto Rico. We will begin by finishing our Puerto Rico webpage by the end of October. We plan on highlighting six distinct properties, including the El Conquistador Resort, connecting with local suppliers to offer group travel services, and begin promoting the full range of group travel to the island.
Puerto Rico is truly an attractive destination for U.S. citizens. Easy and available flights to the island. No passport required. A diversity of people to meet and places to go across the island. If you love the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is a must-visit destination.