Made for Romance
By Meghan Chalfant
Nestled in the northeastern Caribbean, you’ll find a destination where vibrant ethnicity beckons honeymooners and travelers alike through the island’s infinite blue waters and white sand beaches that make up more than 270 miles of beautiful coastline. It’s a location famed for eclectic cultural experiences, historical sites, gourmet gastronomy, charming hospitality, and a peaceful lifestyle with an undeniable sultry vibe. After all, they don’t call it the island of enchantment for nothing. If thoughts of basking under the warm Caribbean sunshine, island adventures, romantic sunset walks, and intimate dinners for two conjure up visions of a serene (and sexy) atmosphere, it’s time to put Puerto Rico on your honeymoon or destination wedding radar.
From the moment you fly into Puerto Rico—Spanish for “Rich Port”—you’ll be captivated by aerial views of the island, where crystal-clear water harmoniously fades into piercing blue skies and gracefully embraces powder-white beaches. This destination may be 100 miles long and 35 miles wide (the smallest and most eastern of the Greater Antilles Islands), but it has so much to offer. From its close proximity (about 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida) to its no-passport-needed locale and old-world charm boasting cobblestone streets and Latin flare, Puerto Rico has become a very popular place to travel to. Not to mention, Puerto Rico’s tropical climate has near perfect year-round weather, with average temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees.
Pick Your Oasis
Situated only fifteen minutes from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and five minutes from historic Old San Juan in the prestigious and posh Condado area is the Condado Plaza Hilton—the only hotel in San Juan where you can experience spectacular views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Condado Lagoon. It’s here where cosmopolitan sophistication will greet you with sweeping panoramic water views, tranquil ocean breezes, and world-class amenities. Within the 571 Leo Daly-designed deluxe guest rooms and suites, guests will enjoy modern, spacious accommodations with Caribbean charm, featuring complimentary Wi-Fi, LCD flat-screen televisions, floor-to-ceiling windows, and most with private balconies. Five restaurants―including Pikayo, the flagship of acclaimed Puerto Rican Chef Wilo Benet, and casual dining at Café Caribe―ensure a setting to satisfy every palate, while the secluded beach, four swimming pools, fully equipped fitness center, and on-site activities (such as kayaking, paddle-boarding, and snorkeling) are perfect for those who want to do it all or nothing at all.
Thirty-one miles east of San Juan is El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, perched high above the sea and spread across 500 acres in the quaint fishing village of Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Accommodations at this Waldorf Astoria resort are divided into five villages, including Las Casitas Village, a separate luxury resort that shares its grounds, featuring one-, two-, and three bedroom style villas as well as 24-hour resort butler service. Rooms are designed with comfort and elegance in mind, from full ocean views to spacious garden rooms with in-room amenities such as plasma flat-screen televisions with iHome stereo, alarm, and docking stations, and Wi-Fi Internet access. During your stay, enjoy 23 restaurants, bars, and cafés, including four fine-dining restaurants, such as the signature Chops Steakhouse. Experience thrill-seeking activities like snorkeling and Jet Skiing at Palomino Island—the resort’s private 100-acre island, cool off at the Coqui Water Park, play a round of golf at the championship Arthur Hills 18-hole, par-72 golf course, or bask under the Caribbean sun at one of four freshwater swimming pools.
While there are endless on-site activities to participate in at both the Condado Plaza Hilton and El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, Puerto Rico has so much more to offer than just its expansive picturesque landscapes. By day, stroll the cobblestone streets of historic Old San Juan, lined with vibrant-colored colonial architecture, boutiques, and art galleries. Approximately an hour from San Juan and just 30 minutes from El Conquistador Resort, journey into El Yunque National Forest—the only U.S. tropical rain forest—where you can hike to breathtaking waterfalls. Tucked into the northwest coast of Puerto Rico, venture to one of the world’s largest underground caves, Parque de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy. When you’re not enjoying live music or salsa dancing the night away at nightclubs, be sure to experience the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo, an amazing natural phenomenon only found in four other places on earth, where visitors kayak their way through the shimmering glow of bioluminescent waters.
From beautiful stretches of white-sand beaches paired with some of the most unforgettable sunsets, tying the knot in Puerto Rico provides a breathtaking backdrop for every type of wedding. With its unique location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the tranquil lagoon, the Condado Plaza Hilton is one of the most sought-after choices for destination weddings in San Juan. Whether you’re planning an intimate soiree of ten or a celebration for as many as 1,200 guests, the Condado Plaza Hilton offers spacious ballrooms and sun-kissed terraces, along with a team of wedding professionals to ensure your event goes off without a hitch. Weddings at El Conquistador Resort & Las Casitas Village are vibrant, diverse, and naturally beautiful. Whisk guests away by catamaran to the resort’s 100-acre private Palomino Island for a beachfront celebration, accommodating up to 1,400 guests or opt for an intimate soiree at the beautifully manicured Casitas Garden, located atop a 300-foot bluff and offering exclusive, sweeping ocean views.
Getting married in Puerto Rico is now easier than ever with couples only needing to comply with their hometown requirements to tie the knot in this pristine locale. In addition to bringing valid identification, couples will need to obtain a license from the Demographic Registry office in San Juan and will also need to have a blood test.
How to Get Here
With over 588 direct and nonstop flights available to Puerto Rico and only a three-and-a-half-hour flight from New York City, traveling to this destination couldn’t be easier! It’s home to more than a dozen airlines, and most U.S. air carriers, such as American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United, are available to fly to and from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport from most major U.S. cities. Also considered the cruise capital of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico welcomes thousands of visitors traveling via cruise lines daily. Although a passport isn’t required, U.S. cruise travelers are urged to bring one, as the rules vary slightly. Visit www.seepuertorico.com for additional information or be sure to ask your travel agent any questions you may have. From pristine stretches of sandy shores to rich history and island adventures, Puerto Rico will have you dreaming of rhythms of love as you begin your happily ever after in the isle of enchantment. For more information or to book your destination wedding or honeymoon, visit www.condadoplaza.com, www.elconresort.com, or www.lascasitasvillage.com.