By: Mariette Williams.
San Juan, Puerto Rico is known for its lively bars, exciting nightlife, and historic sites, but it’s also a perfect place to unwind through a wellness getaway.
For those feeling burned out by work or just life in general, a few days away and a change in scenery might be the break you need. We rounded up some ways to plan a wellness trip to Puerto Rico that includes the best hotels, spas, and outdoor activities for travelers looking to get away from it all.
1. Hotels That Bring The Best Zen
Fairmont El San Juan
If you want to start your vacation immediately after leaving the airport, consider a stay at the upscale Fairmont El San Juan. The hotel is about a 10-minute ride from the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, and in under an hour from landing, you can be unpacked, lounging on the beach with a Piña colada in your hand. Speaking of lounging, this resort is perfect for doing just that. There are several types of poolside lounging options including the large Lux and Grand Cabanas and the perfectly sized two-person cabanas that face the warm Caribbean ocean.
Numero Uno Beach House
For a more low-key stay, check out Numero Uno Beach House, located on Ocean Park Beach in San Juan. The guest rooms feel Bohemian and beachy with lamps made from straw hats, natural wood furniture, and walls painted in cool aquamarine. If you need a little more space, book one of the 1-2 bedroom beach apartments that come with a full kitchen. The advantages of staying at Numero Uno Beach House are the onsite restaurant that serves fresh, local food and the access to kiteboarding rentals and lessons that are offered right at the hotel. It’s impossible not to feel refreshed after watching a beachfront sunset or sunrise just steps from the hotel.
Stay at Mare
Stay at Mare is an intimate 14 room hotel located in the quiet neighborhood of Condado, and the minimalist decor adds to the hotel’s calming vibe. The property accommodations have 1-2 queen beds and a private pool for guests, and while the hotel is not directly on the water, it’s within walking distance to nearby top-rated Condado Beach. While you’re there, be sure to check out the trendy coffee shop next door, Café Regina, where you can get fresh-pressed juices, lattes, and avocado toast.
2. Relax, Relate, Release At These Day Spas
Well + Being
The Well + Being Spa is located inside the Fairmont El San Juan. If you’re staying at the hotel, set your alarm for an early morning yoga or meditation session on the beach. Other notable services are the hot stone and Himalayan massage, and for the ultimate relaxation try the CBD Massage or Body Wrap which both use a unique CBD oil to relieve muscle pain and soreness.
Cloud Spa is a standalone spa in San Juan, and has a full menu of relaxing services including a long list of massages including deep tissues and hot stone massages. If you feel like your skin needs a little “pick me up,” book one of the Cloud Facials that promises to clear away dead skin and clear out your pores. The spa also has some unique features like the rainshower hallway and the magnesphere therapy session that uses low magnetic fields to alleviate chronic stress.
The Spa at Condado Vanderbilt
The Spa at Condado Vanderbilt hotel offers a lot of unique services, including massages and facials, and energy treatments like Reiki, Relaxology, and Reflexology. Looking for a deeper purifying or cleansing session? Book one of the Hammam Rituals, which uses ancient purification rituals to help guests connect with their inner selves. There are also several services specifically for men – manicures, pedicures, and men’s facials.
3. Take In The Natural Elements With These Outdoor Activities
Depending on your idea of relaxing activity, a hike through the El Yunque rainforest may be just what you need. It’s under an hour’s drive from San Juan, and the rainforest is full of lakes, viewing towers, waterfalls, and trails. You can book a tour through a local company, or you can rent a car and make the drive yourself. First-time visitors may want to take a guided hike through the rainforest – cell phone reception is poor in certain areas and some trails can be pretty strenuous. A hike through El Yunque can take several hours or a whole day, depending on how deep you venture into the rainforest. Our advice is to take your time and be sure to stop at one of the many waterfalls.
Puerto Rico is home to three bioluminescent bays, a phenomenon that occurs when large clusters of tiny organisms called dinoflagellates create a “glow in the dark” effect. The bioluminescent bays are best experienced at night, and most tour companies will use kayaks to glide across the water. The closest bioluminescent bay to San Juan is Laguna Grande, located about an hour away in Fajardo. Because the bioluminescent organisms are hard to capture on camera, experts advise putting your phone away, making this an ultimate ” in the moment” activity.
Coamo Thermal Springs
Coamo Thermal Springs is located in the countryside on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. You can book a tour with a company or rent a car and make the hour-long drive from San Juan When you get there, there are changing rooms to slip into a swimsuit and two small thermal pools to soak in. There’s a warm pool and a hot pool, and guests are advised to soak for no more than 15 minutes. There’s also an onsite spa, Fuga Spa, that offers hot stone, bamboo, and two-person massages.
Picture(s): Unsplash | Jennifer Chen; Getty Images