Close your eyes and imagine the perfect indulgent summer island holiday…
Are you picturing turquoise water that’s so clear you can see the sandy floor? A sky so blue it almost hurts your eyes? Perhaps Calypso music is playing in the background? Yep, a Caribbean island getaway usually completes the fantasy quite nicely.
More often that not though, the first places that come to mind for many travellers are Jamaica or Barbados but what about their lesser publicised neighbour, Puerto Rico?
This gem is said to be the most underrated island in the Caribbean… with its natural beauty, rich melting pot culture and year-round gorgeous temperature (on average around twenty-eight degrees Celsius), it’s definitely time this place has its moment in the sun.
There are the beautiful beaches, of course, but there are also amazing mountainous areas, rainforests, deserts, caves and rivers to be in awe of. The culture is also extremely rich; with Spanish, African and American influences that have merged to give rise to a highly diverse and unique array of cultural, food and music styles.
Puerto Ricans are also renowned for their love of life and warm hospitality, and you’ll find this in spades at the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa.
Look one way and you’ve got the most amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, then turn your head and you’re literally steps away from the El Yunque Caribbean National Forest; the only tropical rainforest in the US Forest System. Take in an eco-walk and discover so many species of wildlife that are unique to the region.
While some resorts may rest on their laurels and think that spectacular natural surroundings are enough to amaze, the Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, set on five hundred acres, is hugely impressive in itself.
There are six hundred rooms and seventy-two suites, eleven restaurants and recreation facilities that will blow your mind. Interested in what’s on offer? Take a deep breath… here goes: there’s a fitness centre, tennis legend Peter Burwash’s International Tennis Centre, two golf courses (one designed by golfing great Greg Norman himself), an exclusive golf clubhouse, a secluded palm tree and deckchair-lined beach, scuba diving, snorkelling, wave runners, kayaks, waterbikes, windsurfers, sailboats and complimentary beginners sailing clinics.
And it would be impossible not to mention the two oceanfront pools – there’s a peaceful adult pool complete with lap lanes and a waterfall, and the family pool that has a super-fun waterslide and kiddie pool. Both pools also have an oversized whirlpool spa adjacent as well.
There’s also beach volleyball, float races, basketball, bingo, merengue dance lessons, fitness walks, water aerobics, kayak racing and tug of war. Not to mention the massive casino, shops and an exclusive Mandara Day Spa.
if you find that rundown mind-boggling, wait till you see what’s in store for the kids! Club Iguana, which caters for kids aged four to twelve, is open every day and kids can be booked in all day (price includes lunch and a T-shirt) or half a day. There are also Kids Night Out sessions from five to nine at night.
During the day your kids will be kept busy with seashell hunts, sandcastle building, pool races, tropical scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, water volleyball, kite flying, mini Olympics, basketball, sack races, nature walks, cookie making and children’s movies.
If your child wants to return home from their holiday with some extra skills, there are also Spanish lessons as well as golf, tennis and dancing lessons.
If they sign up for the dinner sessions there are arts and crafts, finger painting, talent quests, ice-cream parties and children’s movies. Phew!
Perhaps now when you close your eyes and imagine your perfect Caribbean getaway, as well as the picture-perfect white sand, shining sun and sapphire-coloured sea, you should also conjure up the Iguana Kids Club, too!
We’ve got loads more fabulous resorts and destinations in store. Got somewhere you’d like us to explore? Just leave a comment below.