September 10, 2015
Swaying palm trees, Caribbean waves lapping at golden sandy beaches, delectable cuisine (a blend of Spanish, Cuban, American and Mexican influences), there are plenty of reasons to visit the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Especially if you choose to stay – like many are – in the cosy environs of one of the locally run paradores when you get there. These guesthouses or inns, accredited by the Puerto Rico Tourist board, are a great way to experience true Puerto Rican hospitality, sample local dishes and feel like a member of the family.
Whether you’re looking for a beachfront locale during your visit so you can listen to the lapping of the waves as you fall asleep or you fancy being in the tropical rainforest adjacent, there’s a parador for you. In fact: here are eight of the best paradores in Puerto Rico – prepare to be spoiled for choice.
Bright and cheerful beach hut-style villas look out over the ocean at Villas del Mar Hau, just outside the town of Isabela on Puerto Rico’s northwest coast. Thoughtfully decorated with colourful flourishes throughout, the rooms are comfortable and the two-bed villas are perfect for families. For those who don’t opt for the rooms or villas with kitchens, never fear: delicious Puerto Rican cuisine can be found in the parador’s on-site restaurant, Olas y Arenas, with plenty of fresh fish and shellfish on the menu.
With views out over the Caribbean (which are particularly impressive at sunset) and tasteful guestrooms, Combate Beach is definitely one of the best paradores in Puerto Rico, and it has the awards to prove it. The hotel is close to the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the beach and the downtown area of Cabo Rojo, allowing for plenty of off-site fun as well, from sunbathing and snorkelling to dining and drinking.
One for those planning on staying in central Puerto Rico, Parador Villas Sotomayor is an idyllic hotel surrounded by nature, with mountains, swift running creeks and palm trees galore. Chill out in hammocks or play a game of basketball on the court – your leisure activities are up to you, but there’s plenty of choice. And the menu at the on-site Restaurant Las Garzas Meson Gastronomico is stuffed with delicious local offerings to enjoy from breakfast through to dinner, with many ingredients grown on the farm next door.
The Parador Villa Parguera is set amidst swaying palms and lush gardens, right on Parguera Bay – the award-winning on-site restaurant has particularly picturesque vistas out over the water. The rooms have all the essentials and the pool and sundeck are perfect for enjoying lazy, sundrenched afternoons. Plus, with its own meeting rooms, a stay here means you can enjoy all of the local, friendly flair of one of the best paradores in Puerto Rico, and not miss a beat business-wise.
Another great choice for the La Parguera area on the southwest coast, Turtle Bay Inn is an environmentally conscious hotel with plenty of eco creds to its name, from solar panels to solar water heaters – bless that strong Caribbean sunshine. Guestrooms are stylishly furnished and, as an added bonus, breakfast is complimentary, giving you plenty of fuel to make the most of the nearby attractions and activities like the Bioluminescent Bay, the mangrove channels and horseriding.
If spending time in the tropical El Yunque National Park is high on your Puerto Rico holiday “to do” list, you won’t find a better placed parador than Yunque Mar. Found mere minutes from the forest’s boundaries (offering you plenty of opportunities to hike, zipline and bird watch to your heart’s content), this friendly, family-run parador has spacious double rooms, family rooms, and suites, which are simply decorated but well-appointed with stunning ocean views out over Fortuna Beach.
The infinity pool and the views from thereof are reason enough to stay at MaunaCaribe, but add to that a fitness room, comfortable guestrooms, and a restaurant serving delicious local fare and you quickly see why this is one of the best paradores in Puerto Rico. And for little gamers – should the need to entertain them beyond the pool and the stunning surrounding scenery arise – there’s a game room with a Xbox to enjoy.
At Parador GuÃ¡nica 1929 you’ve got a gym, well-appointed guestrooms (with helpful mini fridges for keeping your drinks chilled), a charming dining room with a balcony for al fresco evenings, a playground and games room for the kids, and – best of all – a hammock area for lounging. In short: you have everything you need. There are also great beaches nearby, as well as the GuÃ¡nica Lighthouse and the Dry Forest for sightseeing, not to mention the only winery in Puerto Rico mere steps from the hotel.
Booking a trip to San Juan? Our codeshare arrangement with Delta makes it simple for you to travel all over North America, bringing all the delights of Puerto Rico within easy reach.
Have you stayed in any paradores in Puerto Rico? Which were your favourite? Tell us in the comments below.
Written by Giverny Tattersfield