10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (2024)

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10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (1)Lauren Dana EllmanUpdated: Dec. 29, 2023

    Looking to book a phenomenal tropical vacation with minimal travel hassle? These Puerto Rico resorts are waiting for you.

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    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (2)

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    Puerto Rico resorts you’re guaranteed to love

    Craving a sun-splashed warm winter getaway not too far from home? Consider a trip to Puerto Rico. Known for its warm and sunny weather, sandy beaches, lush rainforests, mouthwatering cuisine, fascinating history and colorful capital, this Caribbean island offers plenty to see and do beyond the best all-inclusive resorts. Not only is it a quick and easy flight from major East Coast, Midwestern and Southern cities, but there’s also no need for a passport. Since Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S. territory, you won’t need to fret about that expired passport or exchange rates. And while choosing where to stay on the island is no easy feat, we’ve rounded up the best Puerto Rico resorts for every occasion, including action-packed family-friendly vacations, dreamy romantic getaways and everything in between.

    I’ve been fortunate to visit Puerto Rico several times (and am already itching to return in 2024), and I can say for certain that the island’s ideal mix of beach, fun, history, adventure and, of course, fantastic food and drink makes it a top pick. Most of the best Puerto Rico resorts we’ve chosen offer a combination of some—or all!—of the above. As you scroll through the list of properties, you’ll notice most of them are located in San Juan proper, making them excellent options for travelers who want to be at the center of the action. Some are in nearby resort towns like Isla Verde (which boasts a bustling, albeit smaller, bar and restaurant scene) and Dorado (which has more of a private feel). There are also some picks closer to the island’s acclaimed El Yunque National Rainforest, great for outdoor lovers.

    Once you’ve chosen the resort, consider when to book your trip. My favorite time to visit is in the winter months, when the weather is pleasantly warm and sunny. You can also bypass the crowds and the pricey hotel rates by visiting in shoulder season (May to June) or low season (August to November)—though keep in mind that the latter aligns with hurricane season.

    How we chose the best resorts in Puerto Rico

    To narrow down the best resorts in Puerto Rico, we weighed each property’s amenities, activities, drinking and dining options, accommodations, location and price point. The goal? To provide a mix of options across a range of price points and interests. Additionally, we tapped actual hotel guests (yours truly included) for first-hand insight, along with recommendations from professional travel advisors and experts. And to further support the claims, we also combed through Tripadvisor reviews and ratings. Here’s what we’ve concluded.

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    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (3)

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    Best overall

    Caribe Hilton

    The centrally located Caribe Hilton in San Juan is situated along a stunning stretch of sand and offers access to some of the clearest water for swimming and snorkeling. One of the few full-service resorts in Puerto Rico, this sprawling 17-acre property truly offers something for everyone. When I stayed here, I saw every type of traveler, including couples, families with small kids, multigenerational families and adult friend groups. My family opted to spend most of our vacation on property enjoying the many amenities, including the 8,500-square-foot spa, oceanfront pool complex, gorgeous gardens, a bird sanctuary, tennis courts and playgrounds for kids.

    When it was time for a nap, I hopped on one of the beachfront hammocks for a much-needed siesta. In 2019, Caribe Hilton underwent a $100 million renovation. And today, it boasts a total of 652 modern rooms, each with private balconies and a calming color palette. There are also nine drinking and dining options, including the world-famous Caribar & Caribar Terrace, which is said to be the birthplace of the piña colada back in the ’50s.

    Pros:

    • Nine drinking and dining venues, including a world-famous bar known for creating the piña colada
    • Serene beach area with calm, clear waters
    • Modern rooms and suites

    Con:

    • Can get crowded during holidays and peak season

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    Best private island

    El Conquistador Resort

    According to Holly Johnson, travel expert and founder of Club Thrifty, a source for finance and travel content, El Conquistador is one of the best Puerto Rico resorts. What’s especially unique about this oceanfront property is that it has its own private island: Palomino Island. Accessible exclusively to resort guests, the 100-acre isle boasts “powder-white sand and crystal-clear waters,” says Johnson. It also has “huge iguanas and incredible views of the mainland,” neither of which you’ll want to miss. Back on property, “all the rooms have ocean views, which is another major plus. There are [also] larger room options for families like the one we stayed in, a two-bedroom suite,” Johnson says.

    We love the El Conquistador for a family-friendly vacation. Kids—and kids at heart—will love the on-site water park with several slides and a lazy river. It’s also nearly impossible to be bored here, with daily activities, such as crafting, games of musical chairs, live music and Hula-Hoop competitions. Amenities include four pools, a world-class spa, five restaurants, tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course. Last but not least, Johnson says it’s worth noting that the resort is located in Fajardo, which puts it in closer proximity to the El Yunque rainforest than if you stay in San Juan. “My family liked this because we wanted to do a day trip to El Yunque, and it was only about a 30-minute drive.”

    Pros:

    • Boasts its own idyllic private island
    • All accommodations have ocean views
    • Ample on-site amenities, including a water park, lazy river and golf course

    Con:

    • Farther from San Juan and the airport (more than one hour by car)

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    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (5)

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    Best casino

    San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

    The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is among our favorite Puerto Rico resorts. It truly offers something for every traveler. Just take it from Amanda Nevins, who recently returned from a birthday trip here and saw “a good mix of families and couples,” along with a few friend groups. A prime oceanfront locale along mega-popular Condado Beach makes this property especially well-suited for sun-seekers looking for a quick trip. There are also tennis courts for fitness enthusiasts, a world-class wellness center (including al fresco yoga classes) and seven bars and restaurants to appease any palate.

    Overall, a stay at this resort feels like you’ve hit the jackpot. And, speaking of jackpots, the dazzling 13,000-square-foot casino, which is open 24 hours a day, is an especially noteworthy highlight for its abundance of slot machines and card games in a swanky setting. Spend the day enjoying the gorgeous views from one of two pool areas, including one with a 90-foot-water slide that’s perfect for kiddos. The contemporary rooms and suites are just the icing on the cake, with private balconies overlooking the ocean or downtown San Juan. Last but certainly not least, says Nevins, “The best part is that it is [within] walking distance to so many great restaurants, and there’s a Starbucks and CVS right next door for convenience.”

    Pros:

    • Central location along the beach and within walking distance of San Juan’s best spots
    • Sprawling 13,000-square-foot casino
    • Welcoming staff

    Con:

    • Can get loud, especially in the evenings

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    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (6)

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    Best for foodies

    Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

    Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is well worth the splurge and is one of frequent travelers’ favorite places to visit. “Tucked away on the Caribbean coast, on 50 acres of the Rockefeller estate, Dorado Beach is a personal favorite for its blend of luxury and Puerto Rican island charm,” says travel advisor and Acera Travel founder Alexandra Farrington. “The private villas, oceanfront guest rooms and exceptional service create a haven of timeless glamour and Caribbean allure.”

    Travel advisor Caroline Lewis echoes these sentiments. “The service is amazing, every room is given their version of a butler, and they’re just a text away if you need anything.” For example, she says, “they gave us bikes while we were there and had it all set up so we could pull our toddler and even had personalized wooden license plates.”

    Additionally, both Farrington and Lewis rave about the dining options. “The food was some of the best hotel food I’ve had, especially at the pool,” says Lewis. “It wasn’t your typical $30 mediocre club sandwich—I had a tuna poke bowl most days.” Meanwhile, Farrington says a highlight is the Culinary Center, which showcases Puerto Rican coffees, demonstrations and cooking classes. There’s also golf, a tranquil spa and a top-rated kids club. All in all, says Lewis, the resort is “very luxe without feeling pretentious. And super kid friendly.”

    Pros:

    • Top-notch food offerings, including an on-site culinary center
    • Luxury accommodations, some with private pools
    • An abundance of amenities, including a spa, golf and a kids club

    Con:

    • A stay here is expensive—more than $2,000 per night

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    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (7)

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    Best for luxury

    The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

    Located between El Yunque National Forest and Espíritu Santo River State Preserve on a former coconut plantation, the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort is, hands down, among the most luxurious resorts in Puerto Rico, with Farrington calling it “a 483-acre paradise of unique beauty.”

    “With iconic butler service, a world-class spa and exquisite dining, this resort offers more than just a stay—it’s an immersion in natural luxury as a certified Audubon sanctuary,” Farrington says. Andrea Nimaroff, who stayed there recently, described the service as “amazing. They remembered our coffee order, and our butler dropped it off at our door every morning without us even having to ask.” She also loved how the property was so large and secluded and that there was plenty to do, including playing tennis, golfing, biking, doing water sports, hiking, bird-watching and, of course, lazing on the beautiful beach itself. Farrington recommends hitting the spa to indulge in the Encanto Rum massage, which uses local DonQ Puerto Rican rum. Post-treatment, make your way back to your room, a beachy-chic, natural light–filled space complete with bespoke furnishings, marble bathrooms, deep soaking tubs and private terraces.

    Pros:

    • Exceptional butler service
    • Sumptuous rooms and suites
    • Wide array of activities

    Cons:

    • Expensive
    • Only two restaurants

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    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (8)

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    Best for families

    Fairmont El San Juan Hotel

    Farrington describes the 388-key Fairmont El San Juan Hotel as “a standout for families,” complete with “sleek ocean-view accommodations, beachside merengue classes and seven distinct dining venues.” It’s also chock-full of resort amenities, including “butler-serviced cabanas and kid-friendly pool areas,” along with “various activities for children, such as merengue classes on the sand and a kids club.”

    It’s a great family resort, and active families can spend their days paddleboarding and playing beach volleyball, pickleball, basketball or tennis. Alternatively, families searching for sun and sand can relax on the resort’s 2-mile stretch of beach, enjoy dips in the turquoise waters or make themselves right at home by one of the stunning pools. While kids are at play, parents can check out the spa or casino.

    Larger families will especially appreciate the resort’s selection of suites (some of which can sleep as many as six or eight people). Meanwhile, smaller groups will be quite comfortable in even the most basic rooms, which can sleep between three and four. Luxury villas are also available, though most sleep no more than three.

    Meet up for a family meal at one of four stylish eateries that serve everything from tacos, burgers and wings at the Banyan Tree Grill to authentic Puerto Rican fare at Caña. There’s also an on-site nightclub and two swanky bars: Chandelier Bar, which is centered around the hotel’s signature hand-blown chandelier (presumed to be the third-largest oval chandelier in the world) and Chico Cabaret, a secluded lounge that once served as the hotel’s speakeasy.

    Pros:

    • Pristine beach area
    • Four sparkling swimming pools
    • Kid-friendly programming and activities

    Con:

    • It’s about 20 minutes away by car from downtown San Juan

    Book Now

    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (9)

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    Best for history fanatics

    Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

    History buffs will certainly appreciate a stay at San Juan’s Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, which is one of the most historic resorts in Puerto Rico. The property is part of the Historic Hotels of America (a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation) and dates back to 1919. A slew of noteworthy guests have stayed here, including Charles Lindbergh, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt. Even in its 105th year, the luxury hotel has retained its “enchanting century-old elegance,” says Farrington. “The historic building and contemporary towers offer ocean-view suites with modern amenities.” For a worth-it splurge, opt for a suite with ocean views and complimentary butler service.

    While the opulent interiors, several pools and serene spa are absolutely incredible, the real star of the show here is the on-site beach club, where guests can rent cabanas, sip tropical drinks and nosh on refreshing bites in style. When hunger or co*cktail cravings call, choose from one of the four restaurants—two of which are oceanfront—and three bars and lounges.

    Pros:

    • Historic haunt
    • Seven bars and restaurants
    • Beautiful beach club

    Con:

    • The resort is located in the middle of bustling San Juan, so expect crowds and noise

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    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (10)

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    Best adults-only

    O:LV Fifty Five

    Just steps away from the sand, O:LV Fifty Five in San Juan is one of the best resorts in Puerto Rico for a high-energy, adults-only escape. Farrington says that this design-forward property “blends slick city swagger with playful elements,” including a vintage Rolls Royce that’s been converted into a Champagne bar and DJ booth. “This sleek, ultra-modern tower with a glossy gold-and-white color scheme and gemstone accents offers an exclusive urban experience and impressive views of the Condado Lagoon,” she says.

    Edgy rooms and suites feature leather and brass walls, bespoke furnishings, marble bathrooms and, in some cases, private balconies. Outside the rooms, grown-ups can lounge poolside, enjoy drinks or brunch on the rooftop and have dinner at the on-site Caribbean-Asian restaurant, Raya. For a splurge, couples can rent floating decks (they’re exactly what they sound like) that will take you around the lagoon. These are complete with gourmet brunches, picnics or indulgent dinners. Kayaks and paddleboards are also available for an extra fee.

    Pros:

    • Swanky rooftop
    • High-energy vibe
    • Unique on-site offerings, like floating deck rentals, dinners under the stars and a vintage Rolls Royce turned Champagne bar

    Cons:

    • Interior rooms have no windows but are more spacious than standard rooms
    • No spa

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    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (11)

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    Best boutique

    Hotel El Convento

    Hotel El Convento in Old San Juan comes highly recommended by Midwest-based luxury travel writer Katy Spratte Joyce, who is quick to highlight its exceptional service after losing bags. “I visited on my son’s first big trip when he was 5 months old. What could have been a tragic getaway due to lost bags was expertly and compassionately handled by their helpful staff.”

    The travel pro was also a fan of the tasty on-site eateries, “especially the sun-dappled breakfast courtyard.” A member of both the Historic Hotels of America and Small Luxury Hotels of the World (a community of visited, verified and vetted boutique hotels), Hotel El Convento is a former convent built in the 1600s. With its striking yellow-hued Spanish Colonial facade, it practically oozes charm and character. It’s also worth mentioning that Hotel El Convento recently unveiled a multimillion-dollar renovation with the addition of dimmable LED lighting in the rooms, sleek wood furnishings and the addition of contemporary gray, cream and terracotta hues.

    Despite its small size, the hotel is teeming with amenities, including a complimentary wine and cheese hour on the terrace, a plunge pool and heated jacuzzi overlooking the San Juan Bay, an on-site garden that grows herbs and fruits used in signature dishes and co*cktails, and (best of all) its very own beach club. Hotel El Convento guests also gain access to the facilities at two sister properties, including the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort and the adults-only Palacio Provincial.

    Pros:

    • Teeming with historic charm
    • Exceptional service
    • Value-paced amenities like beach club access and a daily wine and cheese hour

    Cons:

    • Not on the beach (the beach club is about 15 minutes away)
    • Small pool

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    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (12)

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    Best for seclusion

    Hacienda Tamarindo

    For a true off-the-grid escape, check into Hacienda Tamarindo in Vieques, a tiny island of mainland Puerto Rico. Traveler Beth C. loved her stay at this intimate property, which is easily among the best resorts in Puerto Rico for seclusion. The hotel’s idyllic hilltop locale offers postcard-worthy ocean views. It has only 17 rooms, each individually decorated and designed by the property’s owner. “We felt like we were staying in our own private hacienda,” says Beth. The antique- and art-filled spaces are a design-lover’s oasis, while the unspoiled surroundings will entice nature enthusiasts.

    What’s more, says Beth, the hotel has “thought of everything you might need: [a] self-serve bar, snorkeling gear to rent, coolers, beach chairs and umbrellas to borrow, and even picnic lunches you can take with you exploring the island.” Additional amenities include daily breakfast, paddleboard rentals, on-call massage services and a swimming pool surrounded by swaying palms and lush flora.

    Lastly, the property isn’t located directly along the sand, but the island boasts plenty of unspoiled beaches. It’s also home to the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, which is the largest wildlife refuge in the Caribbean; as such, outdoor activities abound, including hiking, birding, kayaking and snorkeling.

    Pros:

    • Untouched surroundings featuring pristine beaches and an abundance of flora and fauna
    • Tranquil vibes set the scene for a serene escape
    • Stand-out amenities include daily breakfast, snorkeling gear, beach equipment and a self-serve bar

    Cons:

    • It’s a 5-minute drive to the nearest beach
    • Children under 10 are not permitted (and the minimum age increases to 15 in peak season)
    • Arriving here can be a bit of a hassle

    Book Now

    About the experts

    • Holly Johnson is a financial expert and award-winning writer who is obsessed with frugality and budgeting as it relates to travel. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty, where she teaches people how to spend less and travel more.
    • Amanda Nevins is a recent San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino guest.
    • Alexandra Farrington is a luxury travel advisor and founder of Acera Travel.
    • Andrea Nimaroff is a recent guest of The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort.
    • Caroline Lewis is a travel advisor and former Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, guest.
    • Katy Spratte Joyce is a Midwest-based luxury travel writer and recent Hotel El Convento guest.
    • Beth C. is a former Hacienda Tamarindo guest.

    Originally Published: May 06, 2022

    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (13)

    Lauren Dana Ellman

    Lauren is a writer and editor specializing in travel. She has been fortunate enough to explore the world in search of the best hotels, hidden-gem locales, and under-the-radar haunts, which she's written about for Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Time Out, Tripadvisor, Viator, ShermansTravel, Brides, The Knot, Allure, Glamour, Self and Well + Good. When she's not writing about must-visit destinations, she's probably online shopping, playing with her pup, or planning her next trip.

    10 Best Resorts in Puerto Rico for an Incredible Vacation—No Passport Needed (2024)

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