Now that you've seen what's in my travel bag, I'm excited to share my first experience in Puerto Rico with you (as promised!). It was a pleasure being a guest at El Conquistador Resort, located in Fajardo, not too far from San Juan.
My boyfriend and I departed JFK Airport on a Friday, where I spotted that fabulous Benefit vending machine, and flew into San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. The transition from landing, to baggage claim, to grabbing our shuttle, was absolutely a breeze. Don't forget to reserve your spot on the shuttle at least a week in advance at El Conquistador here. El Con is about a 45 minute ride from San Juan Airport - we hit some rush hour traffic, so it was about an hour ride.
Photo from elconresort.com
El Conquistador is a Waldorf Astoria Resort luxuriously settled on top of a cliff that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Boasting over 100,000 sq. ft., El Con features a private island and beach, renowned spa, seven pools, 23 restaurants, a water park, and an award-winning golf course. Let my start off by saying that the 360 degree views of elevation change truly made this resort breathtaking.
Starbucks located on resort, obvi.
El Conquistador Resort is not your average hotel - you have the choice to stay at one of their five villages with each of their own unique views. We stayed on the first floor of La Vista - our room offered the most gorgeous patio ocean view.
One of the most interesting things about El Conquistador was that there was no beach access on the resort grounds. Although it sits pretty while elevated on the cliff, a marina wraps around the bottom. A ferry running every half hour takes you to Palomino Island - El Conquistador's privately owned island and beach. So how did we get to the marina? A 24 hour funicular took us there.
The main grounds near the marina had tons of shops, cafes, and Coqui Water Park. Every morning, we'd take the earliest ferry to Palomino Island at 9:00. The ferry is free and runs every half hour.
15 minutes later, we'd arrive at a gorgeous, isolated oasis with water sports, horseback riding, hiking, family activities, bars, and restaurants. You can even take a tour via kayak or boat of little Palominito Island, where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed.
There are no words to describe how relaxing and clear the water was!
The views around the island were gorgeous - even little things like fallen palm trees into the Caribbean.
Their signature frozen cocktail, The Palomino Adventure, was a delicious must-have. We'd take the last ferry back to El Conquistador Resort and wash off at Coqui Water Park, which features three water slides, tubing, and a lazy river. Being two 23 year olds, we had more fun than any of the children there. After 4 p.m., water park admission is only $5 - usually $15.
We had a late flight to head home on Monday, so we checked out with our luggage and soaked up some last minute sun by the pool. Since we spent so much of our day time on Palomino Island, exploring more of the main resort grounds on our day of departure made it that much harder to say "see you soon".
As a newbie traveler, you may be used to all-inclusive tropical resorts like myself. Although this may not have been the cheapest of trips for such a short amount of time, it was a breathtaking experience I will never forget. Can't wait to return!
Read about my Paradisus - Cancun Mexico review here!
Thank you Nico :-) Thank you Power :-) Xoxo