Make the most of a rainy day


Turn a grey day into a bright one with five entertaining activities to brighten your day

It’s raining, it’s pouring, and your day feels so boring. Luckily for you, Puerto Rico has plenty of fun indoor activities as it does outside.

Yes, this exquisite Isle of Enchantment is well known for his amazing pristine beaches, azure waters and ongoing stretches of golden sand but Puerto Rico has so much more to offer.And when the weather is grim, here are five enjoyable activities that BIENVENIDOS recommends to brighten your day.

Stroll around a first-class museum

Take advantage of a rainy day by visiting one of Puerto Rico’s stellar museums to take in incredible world-class exhibits.

Straddling the border between San Juan’s Condado tourism district and its cultural heart of Santurce is the Puerto Rico Art Museum, a glistening showcase of Puerto Rican culture.

Stroll around at your leisure or take advantage of the guided tours that are available to help visitors take in a stunning array of works in its permanent collection, which includes an exhibition representative of Puerto Rican art from the 17th century to the present, as well as world-class temporary exhibitions. The setting is calm, cool, and cutting-edge.

This museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution facility. Its 130,000 square feet of space includes 24 exhibition galleries, a theater, workshops, an interactive area for children, and a research area, among others. An upscale restaurant and eclectic gift shop round out the experience.

Also sitting in the heart of Santurce is the Contemporary Art Museum located a short stroll up the road in a former public school built in 1918. The Georgian-style building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since the late 1980s and was renovated under the direction of Puerto Rican architect Otto Reyes Casanova for its new role as home to the island’s top collection of contemporary art.

The permanent collection at the two-story museum in the Stop 18 area includes important works by Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latin American artists produced from the second half of the 20th century to present. The galleries, which surround a stunning interior courtyard, exhibit a wide variety of works ranging from paintings and sculpture to mixed-media, sound, and video installations.

Knowledgeable and friendly staff is on hand to guide you through a collection that reveals the mixture of influences, cultures, and history behind the contemporary art movement in Puerto Rico since World War II. There is a small gift shop on the first floor.

Another great place in Puerto Rico’s southern region, referred to as Porta Caribe, is the Ponce Art Museum, a world-class institution that is recognized as an important center for European art in the Americas. Its stunning collection, the finest in the Caribbean, provides a rich panorama of western art stretching from the Renaissance to the present day.

The main building designed by Edward Durrel Stone, the architect behind the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; has a soaring sculpture by American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, “Brushstrokes in Flight,” that gives way to a gleaming glass pavilion added to the original building.

The internationally renowned collection is comprised of more than 4,500 works of art from many cultures, dating from the ninth century C.E. to the present. The dynamic, wide-ranging works includes paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, drawings, decorative arts, pre-Hispanic, and African objects, Puerto Rican folk art, contemporary ceramics, video, and sound art.

Of course, you can’t miss “Flaming June,” the famed 1895 painting by Frederic Lord Leighton that has been practically synonymous with the museum since its opening. The Museum is partially opened. For more information please send an email to:

Retail therapy

A little rain never turns away a shopping enthusiast. On a wet day in Puerto Rico, though, places like the picturesque Puerto Rico Premium Outlets in Barceloneta, most commercial strip malls, and free-standing stores in Isla Verde, Condado and Old San Juan would be difficult to appreciate because they are located outdoors and are really meant for customers to enjoy the weather.

An all-time favorite indoor mall among visitors and locals alike is Plaza las Americas, the largest in the Caribbean that literally has more clothes stores under one roof than any other place in Puerto Rico. It offers the widest variety of shopping and dining experience with over 300 stores including the only Macy’s in the Caribbean and the largest JC Penney (it has three floors). You can also find popular stores like Abercrombie and Fitch, Michael Kors, Forever 21, Banana Republic, BCBG, Old Navy, West Elm, among many others.In addition, the mall also has a Caribbean Cinemas theater and more than 40 dining alternatives at its food court with ample parking and valet service.

When visiting the east coast of Puerto Rico, you will discover two remarkable malls on your way, Plaza Carolina and The Outlet at Route 66, which is located in the town of Canovanas and named after the road that takes you there.

Over at The Outlet at Route 66 you will see stores like Nautica, Perry Ellis, Polo Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Van Heusen, Kenneth Cole Outlet, BCBG Maxazria, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, and many more. This remarkable outlet has a food court where you can enjoy a great lunch or dinner alone or with your travel companions. Its spacious and beautiful architectural design features glass ceilings at its food court and a refreshing fountain that makes it an ideal spot to recharge your energy to continue your sightseer venture.

With a contemporary architectural style inspired by Isla Verde’s “beachy” atmosphere, visitors love the tropical feel at Plaza Carolina shopping mall.

It first opened its doors in 1978 in the town of Carolina, becoming the first regional commercial center in the northeast and the second largest mall on the island. Plaza Carolina has more 250 stores and restaurants. Only 15 minutes away from Luis Muñoz Marin Airport and from Isla Verde’s main hotels, Plaza Carolina is a perfect stopover to get the most out of your Caribbean vacation without fighting with your umbrella.

In the south, Plaza del Caribe is your best bet. It’s the largest mall in this region with a total of 130 stores including Forever 21, Zara, American Eagle Outfitters and Old Navy, among others. Additionally, it has a Caribbean Cinemas theater.

Heading west you’ll find the third largest shopping center in Puerto Rico, the Mayaguez Mall, which is home to stores like Sears, JC Penney, Wal-Mart, Marshalls as well as Clarks, Gordon’s, Sony Style, Totto, among plenty of others. Besides featuring a supermarket, it has Chili’s and Romano’s Macaroni Grill restaurants, just to mention a few. Mayaguez Mall is one of the most important shopping centers in the area since its opening in 1972 and it’s a place where visitors stop to assess what the west has to offer in a family environment.

On a budget or simply enjoy to hunt for bargains, then there are many U.S. style indoor malls island-wide.

Last but certainly not least, The Mall of San Juan is bursting with luxury shopping. It features an exclusive mix of fashion and lifestyle merchants, such as Versace, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Oil & Vinegar, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade New York, Salvatore Ferragamo, among others.

All sunshine on spa day

Nothing beats a spa session, or a really good massage. Most major hotels and resorts in Puerto Rico have a full range of top-notch spa facilities. So here are some of the best hotel spas you can enjoy on a less-than-sunny day.

Achieve a blissful state of relaxation at Spa Botanico at the Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, situated on the former Laurance S. Rockefeller estate, inspired by nature for a holistic sense of wellbeing. Indulge yourself with treatments and massages prepared just for you and experience heightened levels of pampering at this amazing sanctuary. Spa Botanico’s most luxurious treatment on its menu is The Botanico Beauty Ritual, which offers a full day of treatments including a Vitamin C exfoliation combined with an Ebb & Flow massage. Then you’re treated to a facial using a non-surgical face lift micro-current machine and a hair and scalp treatment. After eating a spa lunch, you receive a manicure and pedicure, followed by a hair wash and blow dry and custom make-up session.

The incredibly intimate spa at The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Rio Grande embraces the history and the lush surroundings El Yunque Rainforest. The seven treatment rooms are a dreamy escape: small casitas (little houses) in a jungle courtyard centered by a koi pond. With private terraces and water, you’ll bask in the afterglow of treatments like The Cemi Gods Rejuvenating Facial and Cacique’s Brightening Facial, which celebrate the African, Taino and Spanish heritage that make up today’s vibrant Puerto Rican culture.

Indulge yourself at Zen Spa Océano at the Caribe Hilton, with 12,000 square feet and top flight service for the leisurely traveler and the on-the-go executive. Their treatments, like the hotel itself, are tropical chic, incorporating such natural aromatic ingredients as honey, cucumber, sea salts, seaweed or mud to revitalize and relax stressed guests who deserve special attention and top-flight service. The full-service gym is handy and inspirational; the floor to ceiling glass windows with a panoramic ocean view keep spirits high on the treadmill.

Rio Mar Beach Resort, A Wyndham Grand Resort’s Mandara Spa in Rio Grande also draws inspiration from the rainforest, as well as the ancient Sanskrit legend about the gods’ quest to find the elixir of immortality and eternal youth that gives it its name. Eastern and Western traditions combine with Balinese décor and tropical ingredients like coconut and frangipani for a sensual Caribbean experience like no other.

On the rum trail

You might not know it, but Puerto Rico is one of the biggest and best rum-producing nations in the world.So why not warm up your rainy day by visiting the Casa Bacardi Visitor Center in Cataño and take a rum tasting tour. Learn about the past, present, and future of Bacardi, one of the world’s most popular rum brands.

Inside the giant iron gates embellished with its distinctive fruit bat logo lies the 127-acre Bacardi distillery that resembles an exclusive country club, where over 250,000 tourists flock each year making it the second most-visited tourist attraction in Puerto Rico. The lush manicured lawns and tropical palms decorated with modern art sculptures provide the perfect backdrop for the tropical art deco building.

Founded in 1862 by Cuban immigrant Don Facundo Bacardi Mass, the Bacardi factory is one of the largest factories in the world for production of rum, making over 100,000 liters a day. His first distillery in Cuba opened in 1862 and as Bacardi grew more successful, more factories were opened in Mexico and Puerto Rico. But the 1960’s saw the Bacardi family leave Cuba for good, taking their distillery in Puerto Rico to a whole new level.

At Casa Bacardi Visitor Center, guests are taken on a historical interactive journey about the brand and taught characteristics of the family. The tour includes a short film, some secrets of the distillation process, a pit stop to the museum featuring examples of the first Bacardi bottles, family memorabilia, and there is even a section to smell the types of rum. Most importantly there is a rum cocktail demonstration, and you can even sample some of the historic rums.

Sizzling hot casinos

Cabin fever can set in fast, especially when you feel trapped inside your hotel room due to rain. Just because it’s pouring outside doesn’t mean you can’t find some sizzling entertainment by stopping in at one of Puerto Rico’s sultry hot casinos with cutting-edge games.

Slot machines are the most popular games at most of the island’s casinos. You can find them ranging from penny slots all the way up to $25 slots. A few still take coins, though most of the casinos have changed to plastic magnetic strip card or paper bar-coded cards tied to a debit card.

Some casinos still have some of the older machines, where you can still get that special thrill of pulling down on that lever on the side of the machine (or push a button) and watch the reels spin with all its magical bells and whistles and hear the clank of coins hitting the payout tray.

The choice in game tables is a little more limited. Not all places will have your game of choice. Roulette and blackjack are pretty easy to find. It is best to call ahead if you have your heart set on a certain game.

So even if you get no thrill out of placing bets, a trip to the casino offers rewards if you like the finer things in life. And they offer all the entertainment of a night on the town. And like the best that Puerto Rico has to offer, casinos have that perfect mix of friendly locals and eclectic visitors from around the world.

Live music is a constant in island casinos, from versatile two-man combos to crooning divas backed up by jazz piano to full blown salsa bands on weekend nights. There are also more traditional “big bands” performing classic Spanish songs and ballads that perform right outside casinos on weekends.

Most of the island’s casinos are found in San Juan hotels and resorts, though you can also find thrilling gaming facilities in the towns of Bayamon, Caguas, Manati, Mayaguez, Ponce and Rio Grande.

And don’t worry. The sun will (probably) come out tomorrow.