By Ryan Jay
Founded by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1508, San Juan hosts a culturally rich history and a vividly stunning landscape to explore. The ancient tropical destination offers thrill-seeking adventurers plenty to discover – such as an invigorating hike through the El Yunque Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System. Guides lead you on a journey through lush fauna dotted with exotic singing birds, vibrant and fragrant flora, slithering and stalking wild life and breathtaking waterfalls perfect for a romantic endeavor.
For a bit of action-packed horseback riding, canoeing, snorkeling, windsurfing and jet skiing, explore the 100-acre private Palomino Island – the mysterious isle where the antics of Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow were filmed in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.
The crystal blue water of Palomino Island is mesmerizing. As you paddleboard or canoe, you may gaze upon manta rays and sea turtles peacefully gliding alongside you in this Caribbean wonderland.
By The Light Of The Moon
Post sunset, the adventures continue by moonlight. Visitors enjoy a nighttime kayaking excursion through the naturally plankton-glowing waters of the nearby Bioluminescent Bay. You’ll feel as if you’re gliding in a science-fiction thriller through vivid green florescence.
When it’s time to relax, unwind and enjoy a fine meal, pamper yourself at El Conquistador A Waldorf Astoria Resort, one of the Caribbean’s most complete destination resorts, spread over 500 acres in the quaint fishing village of Fajardo, Puerto Rico. The Resort overlooks the converging waters of the turquoise Caribbean Sea stretching to the east, and the sapphire blue Atlantic Ocean, which extends to the north. Accommodations delight in stunning full ocean view and spacious garden rooms.
The 26,000 sq. ft. Waldorf Astoria Spa features 25 treatment rooms; movement studio with a variety of classes; state-of-the-art fitness center featuring comprehensive fitness assessments and personal trainers; a dedicated children’s spa program – Ki’ Spa; treatments incorporating products indigenous to the surrounding rainforest and ocean; juice bar; and tea room with panoramic views.
An Aquatic Oasis
While you enjoy the spa’s amenities, the children and dad can head out for some more aquatic fun at the Coqui Water Park. There they can slide down mind-blowing vertical drops and high-speed flumes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This state-of-the-art aquatic playground is an amazing 2.4-acre destination themed after the nearby El Yunque rainforest. It sits along the Caribbean Sea and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.
Among the astounding features is the iconic Torre de Yocahu, a tower from which three high-speed water slides flow, including El Gigante Dormido (The Sleeping Giant) with an intense 40-foot drop. An 8,000-square-foot “lazy river” is filled with 180,000 gallons of water that push riders sitting leisurely in inner tubes around the park. An 8,500-square-foot infinity-edge pool, a rope-bridge, and speed, tube, body and kids’ slides are other highlights.
And when you’re finished adventuring for the day, you’re sure to be famished. Opulence highly recommends the Chops Steakhouse, the signature restaurant at El Conquistador Resort. “To start, try the BBQ Shrimp wrapped in smoked bacon and the Blue Crab Cake with hints of dry mustard and sweet red pepper,” suggested Jay. “For entrée, go for the New York strip accompanied with peppercorn, chimichurri, mushroom or béarnaise sauce. Or try the seafood pasta pappardell served with lobster, shrimp and mussels in a tomato cream sauce. Do finish with the 24-layer chocolate ganache sponge cake.”
Recharge – More Adventure Awaits
When you’re ready to lay your head down for some slumber to recharge for tomorrow’s adventures, dream of a visit to downtown San Juan, where the vibrant structures and cobbled streets will guide you down a path ripe for historic exploration.
El Conquistador A Waldorf Astoria Resort is located at 1000 El Conquistador Avenue, Fajardo, PR 00738. For information, call +1 787-863-1000 or visit www.elconresort.com.