Caribbean Cool

Appears in the August 2021 issue.

If you’ve been pondering a trip to Puerto Rico, the time is right. The island’s low season is late summer and early fall, making for lower hotel rates and lighter crowds than in the peak-season winter months. As of presstime, Puerto Rico had just dropped its COVID-19 test result requirements for fully vaccinated U.S. travelers and also lifted its nightly curfew that had been in place since 2020.

A flight into Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport will land you in Puerto Rico’s metro area on the north coast, which comprises seven cities—not only the capital of San Juan, but also Bayamón, Cantaño, Carolina, Guaynabo, Toa Baja, and Trujillo Alto.

History fans will adore Old San Juan—the second-oldest European-founded city in the Americas—for its cobblestone streets and colorful Colonial buildings. Visit the San Juan National Historic Site ( to explore two 500-year-old Spanish fortresses, Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal.

In San Juan’s Condado neighborhood, Ashford Avenue is the Puerto Rican equivalent of New York City’s Fifth Avenue, with all the big-name shops as well as boutiques owned by local designers. After sunset, the nightlife scene comes alive as rooftop bars and clubby lounges open their doors.

Adjacent to Condado Lagoon, Condado Beach is one of the most popular in San Juan, whether for surfing, snorkeling, parasailing, or oceanfront dining. For a beach retreat sans kids, check out the new Condado Ocean Club (, an adults-only boutique hotel that opened in November. The turquoise waves of the Laguna del Condado are as stunning viewed from the infinity pool as they are from the poolside cabanas and guest room balconies. For a more family-friendly resort, San Juan Marriott ( boasts fun for kids (they’ll love the spiral-swirling waterslide) and grownups alike thanks to the onsite casino, Stellaris.

Photo by Murphy O’Brien