If you are looking to make a last-minute trip to Puerto Rico, you’ll want to know the best options for your trip. Last-minute trip planning usually leaves little time for research. You could spend hours combing the internet, or you could be packing your favorite swimsuit and that book you’ve been meaning to read since last year.
How to have a great last-minute trip to Puerto Rico
If you’re taking a last-minute trip to Puerto Rico, remember these travel tips to make sure you have the best time possible with very little planning:
- Go to an all-inclusive resort
- Stay in a tree fort
- Go Eco-Luxury
- Stay in an art hotel
- Stay in an ancient convent
- Go Bohemian
- Hit the beach
- Go to spa heaven
- Take a secluded break
Everyone travels with different goals in mind. A last-minute trip to some might be about relaxation; for others, it might mean close proximity to adventure opportunities. Puerto Rico can undoubtedly meet all of those goals and more.
There is no other place in the Caribbean that can combine old-school charm within a tropical paradise setting the way Puerto Rico does. We have broken down our top ten options for a getaway into themed trips.
Below we provide a list of the best trips to Puerto Rico according to travel experts and fellow travelers for what would make the perfect last-minute getaway. We have also spent some time exploring the island and have included a few of our favorites below.
Last-Minute Trips to Puerto Rico
About Puerto Rico
Ask the average person what comes to mind when they think of Puerto Rico; they might imagine local residents salsa dancing through cobblestone streets and dreamy expanses of white sandy beaches. And they would not be wrong.
After you’ve made a few trips to the the “Isle of Enchantment”, you’ll also be able to add the sounds of coqui frogs serenading you to sleep at night, the mofongo you ate fresh from the street food cart, and the memories of rugged mountain landscapes to your reflections about Puerto Rico.
There is much more going on beneath the surface of Puerto Rico’s colorful colonial facade than most people think. It has a deep and lengthy history dating back to when Christopher Columbus first laid eyes on it in 1492. Today it is a territory of the United States, making for an easy last-minute trip for Americans.
Puerto Rico is a 5,515 square mile island located in the Northeastern Caribbean Sea. It is part of a chain of Caribbean islands and is sandwiched between the Dominican Republic (70 miles east) and the Virgin Islands (40 miles west).
It is home to more than three million people, with over 400,000 of those residing in the capital city of San Juan.
Puerto Rico was first named this (meaning “rich port”) by Ponce de Leon in 1512. However, its history dates back much further with the Taino indigenous people, where the island’s original creole language started.
In 1893, Puerto Rico was subsequently invaded during the Spanish-American war, which led to it being incorporated as part of the United States in 1917.
Today Puerto Rico maintains a hybrid culture with all the best parts of Taino, African, and Spanish heritages.
The population is 75-85% Catholic which is evident in the many Catholic Churches found across the island.
It would be wise to bring a Spanish language handbook here as this is the primary speaking language, with only 20% of the population speaking fluent English.
Puerto Rico’s culture is known for its rich traditions in music. Salsa, literally translated, means “the sauce that makes the parties happen.” You can hear the sounds of this local music across the island in any location on any given day, accompanied by joyful dancing from the locals.
Landscape and Weather
The landscape in Puerto Rico is some of the most ecologically diverse in all of the Caribbean. Its vistas are as beautifully viewed from a chartered catamaran in the Caribbean sea as they are looking down from El Yunque Tropical Rainforest. Both Culebra and Vieques Islands are considered part of Puerto Rico and are popular destinations from the main island.
The temperatures are also welcoming, staying at an average of 80F year-round with water temps nearly matching 79F.
On the subject of water temperature, you’ll want to stay once you get in. Over 300 beaches around the island are waiting to host you. If one island isn’t enough, Puerto Rico can offer you four in its archipelago, including Culebra, Vieques, and the Inlet of San Juan, all in close distance to the main island.
If you are an active person, the World’s Oldest Colony will not disappoint with offerings including world-class surfing breaks, ziplining, cave spelunking, and scuba diving, to name a few.
Likewise, if you are looking for peace and relaxation, Puerto Rico is home to luxury spa experiences, yoga retreats, and endless options to offer yourself to the sun gods on its pristine stretches of coastline.
Below we’ll give you some of our best options for a unique last-minute stay that can only be found in Puerto Rico.
The Best Times To Visit
June to November coincide with the wet season in Puerto Rico. This time of year is also designated “hurricane season.” You should be cautious traveling to the island during these months as it might create a soggy last-minute trip and could result in canceled return flights.
The months of December to May are considered the dry and high season in Puerto Rico, meaning tourism is at a peak, but the weather is at its most optimal.
Tips Before Leaving
- Bring a Spanish language handbook
- Pack mosquito repellent
- Pack an umbrella as it is a tropical island prone to downpours
- A lightweight rain jacket is also not a bad idea; see previous reason
- Sunscreen is a must; although it might feel cool, Puerto Rico resides in the sunburn latitudes
- Bring hard copies of maps if you are exploring as cell phone signals come and go
Go To An All-Inclusive Resort
If you are booking a last-minute trip to Puerto Rico, it’s helpful to have as many details as possible sorted when you arrive. In addition, booking an all-inclusive trip will cut down on the research and stress of planning a trip with little time to research.
An all-inclusive option essentially says: ”think no further; we’ll make it easy.”
If you aren’t too picky about food options and don’t plan to travel much outside of the resort, this is an ideal option.
While all-inclusive resorts are common in the Caribbean, with over 250 of them spread across 20 islands, Puerto Rico has only three options. Though they are few; the El Conquistador, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort, and Gran Melia Puerto Rico Golf Resort make great options.
The El Conquistador Waldorf Astoria is located in Fajardo, just west of San Juan. It is said to have the best bonus amenities of the three. Besides having a dedicated waterpark, it also has access to the private island of Palomino.
The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort is located between San Juan and Fajardo on the eastern side of Puerto Rico. Beyond having unlimited house cocktails, it also has some of the best golfing on the island, with a Greg Norman designed course on its property.
As the name would suggest, the Gran Melia Puerto Rico Golf Resort is excellent for active travelers who unwind best with a golf club in hand. Bordered by Coco Beach and the Yunque National Forest, it also has some of the best views of any resort in Puerto Rico.
An all-inclusive resort’s offerings can vary but generally will include some of the below:
- Unlimited Meals and Snacks
- Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages
- Non-Motorized Water Sports
- Access to gym, pool, sports facilities
- Sometimes gratuity
Not Included in all-inclusive resort accommodations:
- Motorized water sports
- Room Service
- Premium Liquor
Stay In A Tree Fort
Staying in a tree fort on a last-minute trip to Puerto Rico is like a luxury glamping experience up in the clouds. A treehouse not only makes for a great city hideaway, it also gives you a birds-eye view of one of the most ecologically diverse islands in the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico holds rainforest, a UNESCO-designated dry forest, and hundreds of rivers, waterfalls, and beaches, making it a great choice for a treehouse-style stay.
When you think “treehouse,” you might be imagining the dodgy ladder leading up to a precariously built structure pieced together by pallet wood and rusty nails. Puerto Rico’s treehouse stays could not be further from this. Some are even likened to mini eco mansions in the sky with high-end amenities, including ground floor living spaces, kitchenettes, and en suite bathrooms.
The Treehouse of the Royal Palm can be found in the lush jungle of San Germain on the far west side of Puerto Rico. This treehouse is smack in the middle of a five-acre botanical garden with panoramic jungle views. It is a beautifully built round structure 20 feet in the sky that can accommodate up to five people.
A small drawbridge leads you over the jungle to the El Yunque View Treehouse, which was famously included in Better Homes and Gardens. This unique accommodation is located in the only tropical rainforest in the United States and overlooks the Yunque tropical landscape. It is a two-story-high structure with its own living room, dining room, and kitchen.
The Treehouse at La Botanica is our bohemian hideaway pick for treehouse accommodations in Puerto Rico. It is located beside the beach at La Botanica Hotel and Wellness Center in the heart of San Juan. A unique stay like this one is the best option for those who aren’t ready to immerse themselves entirely into treehouse life but want to dabble instead. The Treehouse at La Botanica is more of a “treehouse-inspired” structure with a full kitchen, attached bathroom, and a floating dock outside to boot.
Eco-Luxury in Puerto Rico is a far cry from the crunchy hippie experience you might be imagining (although there is likely some crunchy granola up for offer if you ask). Think instead: private plunge pools, award-winning spas, and on-site organic farms with wellness programs included if you wish to partake. The wellness programs can come in the form of daily yoga, ayurvedic treatments, or specialized detoxes.
Aided by the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act of 2019, all hotels have been encouraged to get on board with getting this island to 100% renewable energy by 2050. As a result, some newer accommodations are ahead of the curve and have been taking steps to establish themselves in environmentally friendly ways. This means you can travel in guilt-free luxury, knowing that your impact was less than if you stayed at a traditional lodging option.
Eco-Luxury is something that Puerto Rico does exceptionally well, likely inspired by the rich ecosystems and sprawling reserves that abound throughout its landscape. We love three properties for a last-minute Eco-Luxury stay: El Pretexto, Dorado Beach, Ritz Carlton Reserve, and Casa Grande Mountain Retreat.
El Pretexto is famous for being Puerto Rico’s first Culinary Farm Lodge. It is a charming Bed & Breakfast with just three wooden villas on site. It sets itself apart from other Eco-Luxury stays by offering incredible gastronomic experiences from its onsite organic farms and boasts pop-ups from visiting celebrated chefs frequently. So if you are a foodie and love nature, this is paradise found.
Dorado Beach, Ritz Carlton Reserve is possibly the most luxurious three options in this category. Less bohemian and more silver service, It is a 1,300-acre beachfront property located on a nature reserve with rooms overlooking jungle treetops and pineapple gardens. It also boasts the Rockefeller Nature Trail, an open-air sanctuary that leads from land to sea, and for children, there is the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program to learn more about the local surroundings.
Casa Grande Mountain Retreat is located in the island’s center on a former coffee plantation. The Puerto Rico Tourism Association has named this property “Green Inn ” of the year for the last four running. They reduce their impact by using biodegradable soaps, and energy-efficient light bulbs, and also maintain part of their food sourcing from the on-site farm. In addition, they offer hours-long mountainous treks, yoga, and dancing to keep you feeling grounded on your last-minute getaway.
Stay In An Art Hotel
If you are a lover of chic interiors and like a cosmopolitan feel for a last-minute getaway, an Art Hotel will suit you perfectly. Art hotels are highly curated accommodations with local art and often show careful attention to detail. They can usually be found in centrally located hip urban areas.
If you only have a weekend in Puerto Rico, let it be in San Juan. It is a virtual tasting platter of what the rest of the island offers; nature, culture, and nightlife combine to make it a great last-minute destination. The Olive Boutique Hotel is a great Art Hotel to stay in while you soak up the capital of Puerto Rico.
This property evokes Moroccan, Spanish, and Italian inspirations with a Caribbean twist. The Olive Boutique Hotel proclaims relaxed luxury with laid-back intimacy alongside an artistic atmosphere that’s sure to satisfy an art appreciator.
It boasts private outdoor tubs, private verandas, and a rooftop pool with views of the magical Condado Lagoon and the colorful San Juan colonial buildings.
Stay In a Convent
One of the best ways to truly get the essence of a destination is to surround yourself in its history. If you’re looking for a last-minute getaway that incorporates a blend of history and luxury, there is no better place to do it than in a 252-year-old convent!
Built in 1646, El Convento was the first Small Luxury Hotel of the World member in Puerto Rico, which honors establishments rooted in locality and excellence in service. El Convento certainly meets and exceeds these standards. It is also the oldest member of Historic Hotels of America.
This historic 4-star hotel was once the Carmelite Convent but was vacated by the nuns in 1903. It is elegantly furnished with mahogany furniture, Andalusian tile floors, and Spanish touches throughout. It is also within walking distance of historical landmarks and world-class museums, making it perfect for any history buff.
If you want an Instagram chic last-minute getaway, Puerto Rico has all the macrame hangings, bamboo lampshades, and beachfront hammocks that your heart desires. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that picturesque backdrops are abundant on the “Isle of Enchantment.”
Sometimes you just want to get away without having the barrier of excessive shiny luxury prohibiting you from getting a natural feel of the place. Bohemian Chic stays are something Puerto Rico does exceptionally well- blending natural surroundings with homey-like stays. Vibrant interiors with wide-open spaces for relaxing. Three properties that do this exceptionally well are Dreamcatcher By DW, Baez Finca Victoria Farm & Guesthouse, and La Botanica Hotel.
The Dreamcatcher By DW is located in the beautiful Ocean Park neighborhood, just steps away from the beach and just minutes from Old San Juan. Its property and rooms are truly a feast for the eyes, and no detail has gone unnoticed. This property is the very definition of Boho Chic; decorated with antiques and eclectic, colorful art, The Dreamcatcher has a deluxe, yet comfy vibe. It also has an ideal place to get your wellness on track with vegetarian fare served on-site, and yoga sessions offered on-site regularly.
Baez Haus at Finca Victoria Farm & Guesthouse is set on 2.5 acres on the island of Vieques, a ferry ride away from the main island of Puerto Rico. The Baez Haus is a tiny two-story structure with breathtaking ocean views. Elsewhere on the property sit several other cottages that surround a pool and common hang-out space.
The Baez Haus is like a modern double-stacked treehouse without the tree! A bonus amenities can be found in the complimentary farm-fresh vegan breakfast, an edible garden where healing tinctures are made, and hammocks and hanging chairs around the property to pull up to with a good book.
La Botanica Hotel is an award-winning boutique hotel that once made the New York Times proclaim “everything about this property promotes relaxation!” It is also a multi-year award winner of TripAdvisor’s Best of the Best.
These are hard-won accolades due in large part to the magical grounds surrounding the accommodations, bohemian vibes that permeate every interior design touch, and the wellness-centered inspiration applied to every part of the overall experience here.
This spot sees repeat visitors often and books up its handful of nature-themed suites quickly.
Hit The Beach
Hitting the beach on a last-minute trip is probably the obvious destination of choice for most looking for an urban escape, and we don’t blame you!
Puerto Rico comes through in the sand department with 700 miles of coastline between the three inhabited islands. This gives space for over 300 unique beaches to visit and, of course, stay on!
Puerto Rico has dozens of cays, inlets, and sister Islands. Two of the most popular and easy to access from the main island are Culebra and Vieques, both deserving of a last-minute stay. A short ferry or plane trip from Puerto Rico can easily access the latter islands.
There are many options to enjoy a Pina Colada while you watch the sunset from an infinity pool in Puerto Rico. Three of our favorites are El Blok Hotel in Vieques, the Fairmont El San Juan, and the Condado Ocean Club.
El Blok Hotel on Vieques Island will captivate you the moment you arrive with its unique ornate modern architecture inspired by the surrounding coral reefs. Yet, El Blok Hotel still manages to blend in beautifully with its surroundings. Colorful tiles, exposed concrete, and native woods give this space an ultra-modern feel.
It is perfectly set in front of El Malecon beach and offers a stunning vista of an infinite ocean. In addition, its bar and restaurant are as well known as the hotel itself. Placita is acclaimed to be one of the best restaurants on an island famous for its locally sourced ingredients and mesquite grill options.
The Fairmont El San Juan is not only one of the very best beach stay destinations in Puerto Rico, it is also the place where Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior, and Nat King Cole were known to perform in the nightclub here. It is a significant piece of San Juan’s history.
Located on Isla Verde Beach near the Old San Juan center, The Fairmont offers the best of both worlds; relaxation and entertainment. Five pools are set against the sandy beach, complete with daybeds, cabana service, and five different restaurants to dine at.
The Condado Ocean Club is perched in front of the pristine white sands of a small peninsula surrounded by beaches on all sides in the ultra-hip area of the Condado District. This property bills itself as an adults-only, full-service lifestyle hotel.
Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that pay daily homage to the 360-degree views of the Caribbean. In addition, there is a fine dining Mediterranean restaurant on site and an Instagram famous infinity pool.
Go To Spa Heaven
You might never know how badly you needed a spa vacation until you’ve had a spa vacation. These niche accommodations provide around-the-clock spa treatments, ultimately leaving you better than you came.
If you are booking a last-minute trip to Puerto Rico because you are in need of a spa-assisted reset, then you won’t be disappointed with your options. It is not only the facilities and treatments that make these accommodations unique; half the magic is in Puerto Rico’s lush setting, which is inevitably providing you with a steady soundtrack of the local birds with a coqui frog chorus.
There are several good options for a spa-oriented stay in Puerto Rico. Three of the most celebrated are the Copamarina Beach Resort and Spa, the Ritz Carlton San Juan, and The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel.
The Copamarina Beach Resort and Spa is not only ideally located on a half-mile of private beach amongst 20 lush tropical acres; its Ni Spa is worth writing about. The spa is named after the indigenous Taino word for “water” and features newly renovated treatment rooms, an outdoor shower, and an option to take your massage on the beach. Ni Spa offers a variety of treatments, including facial and body rituals, full-day indulgent packages, and private treatments done in rooms.
The Ritz Carlton San Juan has a world-renown spa facility expanding over 12,000 square feet of their luxury property. It is undeniably indulgent in its architecture which features marble floors and fountains. This spa itself is inspired by the surrounding El Yunque Rainforest, the shores of Puerto Rico, and indigenous Taino traditions. The spirulina algae wrap most definitely pays homage to the overall beachy feel of this property.
The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel is inspired by Spanish Revival architecture and set within a sandy peninsula spot in the trendy Condado District. Old San Juan is just minutes away, making it ultra-convenient for relaxing during the day while still being able to experience the historic walking district at night.
The spa on site is full service offering steam rooms, rainforest showers, and a Stillness Lounge to complete the goal of total relaxation. Its Hammam Ritual is its premier offering, cleansing you of all impurities before sending you home from vacation a better version of yourself.
Take A Secluded Break
While many of our options for a last-minute trip to Puerto Rico include the convenience of exploring local towns and tourist attractions, however, some people might just want to skip the daytime tours and head to the most secluded corners of Puerto Rico.
If you are looking to disconnect and get off the grid completely, we recommend trying a few of the small islands that surround Puerto Rico but are easily accessible by a short trip by airplane or ferry leaving out of the capital city of San Juan.
The Royal Isabella is located on the northwest coast of Puerto Rico in the small village of Isabella. This property is far from the buzzing nightlife of San Juan, and you could quickly lose track of time gazing out at the Atlantic Ocean and the backdrop of dramatic cliffs. The main building on the property is inspired by an old sugar mill.
The rest of the property follows in this aesthetic on over 400 acres of beachfront property. Rainwater is recycled here, and its own organic garden fuels the on-site restaurant.
La Finca Victoria is a posh hippie at its finest, right down to the Japanese bamboo feel in its common spaces. Located in the nearby Vieques, you’ll need to take a ferry or short plane ride to get here, but your efforts will be rewarded in this secluded paradise.
This hilltop retreat is home to 12 rooms, each with its own distinct personality. A vegan kitchen makes the most of the bounty that the on-site farm provides.
Ayurvedic treatments complete a wellness theme throughout your experience at La Finca Victoria. This property also lets you be a conscious traveler as it runs sustainably on water catchment and solar power, each with the aim of reducing the property’s total impact on the environment.
The Rainforest Inn is located in a secluded patch of jungle in the El Yunque National Forest. To ensure total tranquility, it takes a mile-long driveway from the main road to reach this property. This rustic boutique-style bed & breakfast supplies sweeping panoramic views of the Caribbean and the rainforest alike. Amenities include open-air massages, a vegetarian kitchen, and a private Lost Machete hike.