Forget Vegas, New York City and Miami! There’s no better destination for unforgettable bachelorette parties than the Island of Enchantment.
With warm tropical temperatures, an infectiously joyful culture and awe-inspiring scenery, Puerto Rico brims with adventures that add up to a fun-filled girls ‘weekend and great place to celebrate the bride-to-be’s last stretch of singlehood. The U.S. territory effortlessly blends Caribbean vibes and cosmopolitan appeal, and visitors flying in from an U.S. mainland airport don’t even need to bring a passport.
“Puerto Rico is a hot place right now for any type of party,” says Chezelle Rodriguez, destination wedding specialist at CD Weddings. More than 130 hotels and thousands of rentable homes make it easy for brides-to-be and their guests to plan a Puerto Rican itinerary to fit any style or budget. But convenience is only the start of the appeal.
Puerto Rico also brims with unique authenticity. “People are looking for cultural experiences, things that they cannot find on other Caribbean islands,” says Liliana Albizu, destination wedding planner and founder of Handcrafted Weds & Events.
For a can’t-miss Puerto Rican outing, Albizu often arranges chinchorreo (barhopping) tours for her guests. This tradition takes place in towns throughout the island every weekend, bringing friends and family together to spend the day eating, drinking, dancing, and playing games at roadside restaurants and bars. The festivities naturally appeal to partygoers celebrating an upcoming marriage, and by booking with a private company, groups can focus on having a great time while the experts plan the itinerary and handle the driving.
The Flavors of San Juan food tour of Old San Juan is also an amazing alternative in making your friends foodie insiders while having a fun-filled day. The group can begin sipping on tasty rum cocktail concoctions while strolling the cobblestone streets of the colonial city and making pit stops to savor Puerto Rico’s “must eat” cuisine.
If you have rum on your mind and want to drink it up like Capitan Jack Sparrow of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, then visiting Casa Bacardi in Cataño should be a spot to hit on your bachelorette weekend. Imagine all the fun involved in sensorial rum tasting and mixology classes and taking home your own bottle after filling it up yourself directly from the barrel.
After a day of delicious merriment, hitting up the San Juan nightlife scene is the ideal choice. “On other islands, you don’t always feel safe outside of the hotel. Puerto Rico is a safe island,” Albizu says. Calle San Sebastian in Old San Juan is a great place to start. This lively stretch of popular neighborhood bars like La Factoria, La Taverna Lupulo, and El Quinque Bar is always packed with fun-seeking locals with whom to mix and mingle and simply have a great time.
Over at La Concha, A Renaissance Resort on Condado’s ritzy Ashford Avenue, ladies who want to party into the wee hours of the morning head to Club Fifty Eight. New to the scene in December 2018, the high-energy nightclub has already become one of the most popular in the city. Dance music pumps through the speakers until 4 a.m., craft libations flow freely, and the chic crowd is always dressed to impress.
At El San Juan Hotel – where if its walls could talk they’d share stories of 1960s Hollywood headliners crooning in the nightclub scene – is Brava. Recently redesigned, this sophisticated nightclub that offers VIP bottle and table service entertains in an atmosphere alive with energy, excitement, and late night dancing that rivals the best clubs in the world.
One of the best parts of a weekend destination bachelorette party in Puerto Rico is getting to enjoy the island in different ways, from rowdy to refine. “Of course clubbing is going to be one of the nights,” says Rodriguez. “But on other nights, groups want to go to a nice restaurant for a different type of experience.”
Friends who get a thrill from a truly sumptuous meal can reserve a table at one of San Juan’s five-star, chef-driven restaurants for impeccable food and elegant atmosphere. Helmed by Iowa native Chef Peter Schintler, Marmalade Restaurant and Wine Bar is renowned for its high-concept, meticulously executed tasting menus. Chef Mario Pagan’s inventive creations attract the city’s elite foodies with intricate dishes and unexpected presentation at his eponymous Condado eatery. And at Santaella, the creativity coming out of the kitchen is rivaled only by the haute-couture fashion of the clientele in the dining room, just to name a few.
Another must stop location to have a good time and good food is the vibrant gastronomic oasis called Lote 23 in Santurce. This trendy place features food kiosks from up and coming Puerto Rican chefs and airstream trailers in an outdoor lot that has been transformed into a colorful food and entertainment space that includes four terraces, a stage and its own parking area.
In between nights on the town, bachelorette partygoers have plenty to explore during the day Spas and bachelorette parties go together like love and marriage, and in Puerto Rico, world-class pampering awaits. For day packages Zen Spa, which operates three outposts in the San Juan metro area, offers a special Bachelorette Spa Party. Groups of girlfriends can toast with champagne and munch on strawberries as they’re treated to massages, facials, manicures and pedicures.
Ladies bond over once-in-a-lifetime spa experiences at Spa Botanico at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Relaxation envelops guests from the moment they’re greeted in the apothecary of this luxurious tropical oasis situated on the edge of a pineapple grove. The healing continues with treatments that incorporate local ingredients like coffee, lime and coconut, and guests can even request massages in a tree house, where the jungle’s organic soundscape lulls them into pure heavenly bliss.
Or they can indulge in luxurious relaxation on the beach or in a private villa for a treatment Remede Spa at lavish St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Rio Grande. With its stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, the group can enjoy invigorating massages, body wraps, scrubs or mani and pedis at this luxurious retreat.
If you have a sporty group of girls than visit Coco Beach Golf Resort in Rio Grande to play a competitive round of golf on a course designed by PGA Tour Pro Tom Kite and possibly lower your handicap.
How about riding one of the longest and tallest zip line in the world by Guinness Book of World Records at Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis? The thrill-seeking group can soar 1,200 feet high through the lush mountains on The Monster at speeds of up to 95 miles per hour.
Of course, what visit to the Caribbean is complete without donning a swimsuit and shades on a lounge chair? “A lot of people – specifically millennials– are utilizing the beach and pool atmosphere. They see pictures on social media and use them as a springboard of what they want to do in Puerto Rico,” says Rodriguez.
Four photo-ready swimming pools at the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel present Instagram-worthy locales that will leave any follower jealous. Stylish sunbathers catch some rays – and look fabulous in the latest in resort wear while doing so. Ladies can sprawl out under beach umbrellas or reserve a private chic cabana, complete with bottle service and VIP treatment.
Or pay a visit to Vivo Beach Club in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico’s most exciting beachfront entertainment complex that offers an outdoor beach club, unique restaurants and bars, music venues, and a one-of-a-kind full-scale craft brewery.
When it comes to coveted beaches, Rodriguez points out that two of the most popular inquiries she gets from bachelorette groups are about Vieques and Culebra. Often referred to as the Spanish Virgin Islands, Vieques and Culebra are easily accessible from Puerto Rico’s main island by plane or ferry, yet they offer distinctly off-the-beaten-path appeal.
On Vieques, travelers can ride horses through the foamy surf and play in magnetic black sand on Playa Negra, glide along the surface of the sea on a paddleboard at Playa Media Luna or snorkel with manta rays and angel fish around a coral reef at Playa La Chiva. When the sun goes down, the island becomes even more magical; Vieques is home to Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, with water that glows in the dark in response to movement.
Bachelorettes will be hard-pressed to find a more naturally stunning landscape than Playa Flamenco on Culebra, considered the second most beautiful beach in the world by Discovery Channel. This half-mile stretch of soft, white sand and crystal-clear turquoise water makes it a surefire bet to be a highly shareable snapshot. Groups can also charter a catamaran and spend the day nearby on Culebrita swimming with sea turtles and relishing in tranquility.
No matter what brides-to-be and their guests do while they’re here, Puerto Rico is a treasure trove of excitement and serenity, day trips, and nightlife, urban hubs and rustic getaways. The possibilities for lifelong pre-matrimony memories are endless on this Caribbean paradise.