Seeking paradise without a passport? Venture off from the overdeveloped city of San Juan on your next Puerto Rican vacation and explore the island’s best affordable resorts. Offering respite from the tourist market, these properties deliver a getaway filled with sandy beaches, copious palm trees, and a perfectly made margarita.
Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar
An hour’s drive southeast from San Juan, there’s a sense of awe as you approach the grounds of Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar. Tropical by nature, the resort brings old-world Puerto Rico style to life with an antique chandelier anchoring the vaulted-ceiling lobby with loads of exotic plants. If lounging in the sun is your thing, Wyndham Garden’s infinity pool and swim-up bar is the spot to catch some rays. And when the sun goes down, hit up the resort’s casino, where table games and slot machines keep the party going ’till 2 a.m. Rates start at $140 per night.
Copamarina makes a strong case for the two-hour drive southwest from San Juan as the locals and tourists mix and revel in the picture-perfect property. Here, you can hear the sound of the ocean from every room. For an awesome afternoon, inquire about chartering a boat to Gilligan’s Island, where you’ll find clear-blue ocean swimming, and if you’re lucky, a visit from a friendly local dolphin. Rates start at $131 per night.
Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico
Hop in a car and head just 30 minutes east from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, San Juan, to Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico: a luxurious yet affordable mainstay for golf enthusiasts and those who value a carefree, low-key beach getaway. Located on a peninsula of Coco Beach, Gran Melia prides itself on their “red glove” service that handles everything from restaurant reservations to setting up golf at one of the two 18-hole award-winning courses. Rates start at $199 per night.
Rincon Beach Resort Anasco
Take the flight into Rafael Hernández Airport and head 30 minutes south to Rincon Beach Resort Anasco for the best in affordable luxury off the west coast of Puerto Rico. While the resort is smaller in scale, it delivers idyllic views of the beach from a pool that stretches throughout the main resort deck. If you’re planning on staying at the property for more than two days, look into renting a car or hiring a taxi to explore the sights and tastes of Rincon, a vibrant small town that is brimming with a unique local flavor. Rates start at $128 per night.
Villa Montana Beach Resort
A property just miles from Rafael Hernández Airport at the northwest tip of Puerto Rico, Villa Montana Beach Resort stands out for its large rooms, private beach, and a prized rock climbing tower onsite. Cabanas and day beds make for a relaxed day at the pool, while surfers hang ten, scuba divers explore the local reef, and whale watchers (January through March) gawk from the beach. Come dinnertime, resort guests can dine at The Eclipse, the on-site restaurant that serves up the fresh catch of the day (market price) along with pizza, lamb chops, and homemade pasta. Rates start at $200 per night.