Spread across 500 acres atop a 300-foot bluff on the eastern tip of Puerto Rico, El Conquistador resort & Las Casitas Village overlook the converging waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic ocean. A huge, arthur Hills-designed, 18-hole golf course is an awesome sight; we couldn’t help marvel at it as we entered the impressive grounds by car.
Guest rooms and suites form no less than five ‘villages’, including Las Casitas, a separate luxury resort featuring a range of villas with 24-hour butler service. the aaa Four diamond resort has an astounding 23 restaurants, bars and lounges, catering for a diverse range of tastes. Clearly designed in another era for ‘holiday makers’ rather than travellers who want a particular kind of all-encompassing experience, the on-resort activities are about as comprehensive as they come. in addition to the swimming pools dotted around the villages, there is also a state-of-the- art, aquatic playground, the Coqui Water Park.
The jewel in the crown is Palomino island, the resort’s private island, where we took part in various water sports from its white sand beaches. the opportunities for indulgence continue at the rather dated looking Waldorf Astoria spa, which offers a wide range of treatments.
Weather (and moon cycle) permitting, one of the ‘must-do’ activities is a night kayaking tour to witness the remarkable natural phenomenon of Bio-luminesence, which literally lights up the sea in a nearby bay.
The resort is located close to El Yunque National Forest and we highly recommend booking a car from one of the on-site vehicle hire companies and visiting the rainforest with its easy trails, viewing tower and swimming holes at the base of waterfalls. We also suggest driving the few miles to the unpretentious and charming Luquillo Sunrise Beach for a more authentic taste of Puerto Rico’s surfer culture. It has a genuine, retro vibe, with low-rise 60s beach houses flanked by palm trees.
The beach is sandy and expansive and the water shallow. if you are lucky you may even get to see a manta ray jumping out of the clear water. another off-site find we feel compelled to share with you is the delightful El Pescador Inc., a modern but rustic-style shack that offers a range of high quality, locally caught, super fresh fish and seafood which provided us with by far the best meal we had in our time vacationing on the island.