Written by DLX contributor Jan Schroder, founder of Girl on the Go.
Lounge on a private island, tube down a water park slide, enter a zen-like state during a relaxing massage and walk a labyrinth with ocean views, all without leaving the grounds of El Conquistador Resort in eastern Puerto Rico.
Located less than an hour from the San Juan airport, this Waldorf Astoria property is a 500-acre resort perched on a 300-foot bluff with killer views of the ocean where the Atlantic and the Caribbean meet.
The lux spot features an 18-hole Arthur Hills-designed golf course with driving range, seven tennis courts, on-site dive center and Camp Coqui for kids 4-12. Yoga classes are held monthly outside under the full moon, and for a cardio and flexibility workout in the pool, an Aqua Parkour class is offered.
For a fitness-focused getaway, El Conquistador offers three-night wellness retreats that include a customized schedule of exercise classes, a Starlight Labyrinth Meditation, nutritionally focused meals and a personal fitness plan to take home with you.
Who doesn’t love a water park? El Conquistador has the Coqui Water Park right on site. Guests have their choice of several water features: a tube slide, a speed slide with a vertical drop, a body slide, a lazy river and an infinity edge pool with a view of the ocean. The water park is only available to guests of the resort, so no need to worry about crowds.
Most guests won’t get to all 23 of the resort’s restaurants, which range from casual grab-and-go to fine dining. For breakfast and buffet meals, Las Brisas is the place to go. Try the Tuna Tartare Tower and steaks at Chops Steakhouse, the sushi bar at Blossoms, delicious pasta at La Piccola Fontana and grilled swordfish at Stingray Café.
You can’t escape Puerto Rico without enjoying a rum drink – it claims to be the world’s capital of rum. You’ll find refreshing creative cocktails at Drake’s Bacardi Rum Bar where indulgences include Freaky Tiki Rum Punch made with fresh blueberries and blackberries.
One of the most popular features of El Conquistador is that wooded private island, dotted with white sand beaches. Guests reach Palomino Island by taking a funicular ride down the bluff and catching a water shuttle for a short ride. They are greeted there by hundreds of lounge chairs and umbrellas, a restaurant, and bar for yummy frozen drinks. Activities include horseback riding, water sports and lawn games. You can also hike up to the top of a small mountain for 360-degree views of the surroundings, stopping at lookout points and a small white chapel along the way. Or be adventurous and paddleboard or kayak your way to a small nearby island.
Set apart from the main resort, Las Casitas Villas is a resort-within-a resort, with one- to three-bedroom villas with fully equipped kitchens, 24-hour butler service, a helipad and three private pools. An all-inclusive option is available for guests here or they can choose to have their kitchens stocked with groceries before they arrive. Golf cart rentals are available for tooling around the property.
While there is plenty of keep you entertained at El Conquistador, outside the resort Puerto Rico has a few charms of its own you won’t want to miss. The El Yunque National Forest, a 29,000-acre tropical rainforest, is worth a day trip if time allows. For an unsurpassed evening activity, go on a kayaking adventure on the Bio Bay Fajardo, one of three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico. Climb aboard a two-person kayak and paddle your way through a tunnel of mangroves to a giant bay where movement in the water causes millions of microorganisms to light up, creating a sparkle effect in the water.
For its luxury accommodations, variety of activities and gorgeous setting, El Conquistador is a perfect island getaway. And for Americans, no passport required!
For more information on El Conquistador Resort, visit the website here.
All images courtesy of El Conquistador Resort.