Welcome to Puerto Rico!
La Isla del Encanto is a beautiful Caribbean island rich in history, culture, exceptional food, pristine beaches, and majestic mountains, perfect for relaxation and adventure.
We highly recommend extending your stay for a few days before the wedding festivities in order to take advantage of all Puerto Rico has to offer!
The bride will arrive on Wednesday, so count on organized group activities Thursday including a daytime beach excursion and a fun evening out in historic Old San Juan!
Below are our family-favorite recommendations to make the most out of your time on our beloved island! Please feel free to reach out to any Picon or Olmedo family members for questions or more information.
Arrive to Puerto Rico, settle into hotel, catch sunset on the beach then head to dinner at any of the recommended restaurants!
Join us for a daytime beach excursion, then a fun evening out in Old San Juan!
Go sight-seeing in historic Old San Juan, enjoying unique Spanish architecture, glorious ocean views, and the impressive 15th century El Morro fort and San Cristobal castle --- OR --- Rent a car and head to El Yunque, the nearby lush tropical rainforest to hike and swim in waterfalls! Just be sure to head back in time to enjoy music, drinks, and dancing with us at the Friday night Welcome Party
Brunch, lounge by the beach or the pool before checkout!
This is the main airport in Puerto Rico, located 3 miles southeast of San Juan and 15 minutes from the Caribe Hilton hotel. Uber is not allowed at the airport for pickup but there are plenty of taxis. Flat rate to Condado or Old San Juan should be @$12-$15.
No passports are necessary for a U.S. citizen or national traveling to San Juan.
Check the official Tourism website for updated coronavirus-related travel guidelines and for additional information: https://www.discoverpuertorico...
Getting around San Juan is easy with taxis and Uber. There is no need to rent a car unless you want to go explore the island on your own.
The "headquarters" hotel will be the Caribe Hilton, located between Old San Juan (less than 10 min.) and the Condado area (less than five min). Isla Verde beach is 10-15 min away. These areas have resort hotels, boutique hotels, guest houses, Airbnbs and VRBOs for all budgets and are conveniently close to everything.
Check-in: August 15th, 2021 | Check-out: August 24th, 2021
Use Code: POWE21
Home of the main event!
The Caribe Hilton closed for almost two years after the hurricane and had just reopened before the pandemic. It has been an iconic property in San Juan since 1949 for tourists and locals. We're so excited to have both the wedding and the welcome party here!
To reserve a room at the Caribe Hilton with a wedding block discounted room rate,
click BOOK A ROOM below, or use this link:
You can also reserve a room at the discounted room rate by calling:
Hilton toll free number - 1-800-HILTONS
Caribe Hilton reservations - 787-721-0303 x 2156
Please refer to your group code POWE21
Legendary and Old San Juan. A favorite, steps away from the ceremony site at the San Juan Cathedral.
We have a block of rooms with a special rate at the Caribe Hilton Hotel, where the wedding reception will take place. We will provide round-trip transportation to the wedding ceremony in Old San Juan and back to the reception at the Hilton. From wherever you stay, you can taxi, Uber or drive to the Hilton and ride our shuttles. We compiled a list of hotels nearby to give you choices and/or comparisons and/or reasons to come back another time or extend your stay now! There are also plenty of AirBnB and VRBO options. (Don't delay!)
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel -- Historic and gorgeous! ($$$)
La Concha -- Fabulous resort! ($$$)
Olive Boutique Hotel-- Ultra cool & rooftop, Condado Lagoon view! ($$$)
Serafina Beach Hotel -- Beachfront and fabulous! ($$$)
AC Hotel by Marriott -- Rooftop in Condado! ($$)
San Gerónimo Hotel -- Brand new, literally steps from the Hilton! ($$)
Casa Isabel Bed & Breakfast - A Budget Bungalow ($)
HISTORIC OLD SAN JUAN:
Decanter Hotel -- Rooftop view, by San Juan Cathedral ($$)
Casa Sol Bed and Breakfast - Beautiful B&B in El Viejo San Juan ($$)
352 Guest House - Rooftop pool in El Viejo San Juan! ($$)
Casablanca Hotel - In SoFo (South Fortaleza Street) ($$)
Villa Herencia - B&B across La Catedral ($$)
Fortaleza Guest House - Inexpensive El Viejo San Juan Digs! ($)
ISLA VERDE AREA:
Fairmont El San Juan Hotel - Gorgeous beach & hotel, beware the beach traffic! ($$?)
Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve - Go early and go for it! ($$$$)
NY Magazine article with hotel options - all prices (June 2018)
"WHERE THE LOCALS WOULD STAY IN SAN JUAN IF THEY WEREN'T LOCALS
There are many AirBnB and VRBO options in the Condado and Old San Juan area.
Ashford Avenue and streets nearby are good options close to the beach; you'll probably find an apartment in this area. Ocean Park is also close to the beach and may have both apartments and houses as AirBnB options. Isla Verde is @ 15 min away (if no traffic) and has a gorgeous, wide beach. But traffic in the area on a beautiful Saturday beach day could make you miss the wedding.
Feel free to run your findings by us! We have a few phone numbers from friends for direct bookings for apartments and will continue to gather more. We will be happy to share those with you. See below!
The historic district of the capital city of San Juan. A National Historic Landmark District listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Spend an afternoon wandering the cobblestone streets and visit the many museums, art galleries, shops, and local restaurants and bars.
Famous fort from when Puerto Rico was first settled. Tour the fort and the surrounding area!
Home to La Ocho surf spot!
Small beach with swim area overlooking El Boqueron bay and the Caribe Hilton!
Take a kayak or standup paddleboard tour from la laguna all the way to El Morro!
Swim, soak up the sun, play some beach volleyball, or sign up for a kitesurfing lesson. If you're lucky you might see Dr. Olmedo zooming by while windsurfing!
Great escape from the city. Beautiful beach with relaxing swim area, epic surf spot, and plenty of kioskos with great food to eat!
The only tropical rainforest in the national forest system of the USDA! Beautiful hiking trails that lead to scenic views, spectacular flora and fauna, waterfalls, and more!
Former town square that is now filled to the brims with bars, restaurants, live music, and more!
Slicing into the Atlantic Ocean has never felt better! Come for the golf and stay for dinner and drinks with a view over the course AND the ocean!
Zip down The Monster and The Beast!
Worth the drive to check out Rosa Olmedo's childhood beach of choice!
A short hike through the mangroves gets you to a long stretch of gorgeous, uncrowded beach.
Travel by small plane or ferry, Vieques is home to oustanding white sand beaches, serenity, and the Bahía Bioluminiscente!
There are five bioluminescent bays in the world: Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica, Halong Bay in Vietnam, and Puerto Rico's Laguna Grande, La Parguera, and Mosquito Bay.
Water has carved a natural slide into river rocks at the edge of El Yunque Rainforest! Off the beaten path but well worth the adventure!
Learn about urban sustainability and environmental justice through BiciCano's bicycle tour of the Martín Peña community of San Juan
May have to book as part of an organized tour...
If you have a few extra days, bring your appetite! Puerto Rico's Caribbean cuisine is exceptionally delicious!
Marmalade - El Viejo San Juan - Fine Dining
Exceptional spot for romantic dinner. One of Francisco's favorites!
Don Ruiz - El Viejo San Juan - Breakfast
Delicious coffee and outdoor seating
La Taberna Lúpulo - El Viejo San Juan - Bar
Bar specializing in craft beers and snacks. Great late night spot!
La Factoriía - El Viejo San Juan - Bar & Dining
Michelle Marie's favorite bar in EVSJ. Live music (salsa!), delicious cocktails, dining options, and multiple rooms all within one space.
Al Fresco Rooftop Wine Bar - El Viejo San Juan - Bar & Dining
Grab drinks and dinner on the roof!
Punto de Vista - El Viejo San Juan - Bar & Dining
Another great rooftop option. Located on top floor of Hotel Milano. Spectacular views!
La Bombonera - El Viejo San Juan - Breakfast
Since 1902. Try a mallorca with café con leche o chocolate
ChocoBar Cortés - El Viejo San Juan - Chocolate
4th generation chocolate makers, new generation chocolate space
La Vergüenza - El Viejo San Juan - Bar
3 floors of music, drinks, bar food, and a rooftop bar overlooking La Perla and the ocean!
Verde Mesa - El Viejo San Juan - Pescatarian/Vegetarian
Just down the block from where the engagement took place! Delicious seafood and vegetarian options.
El Hamburger - San Juan - Hole in the Wall
Cheap eats that hit the spot after surfing La Ocho
Ceviche House - Isla Verde - Hole in the Wall
Francisco's favorite stop for...ceviche! Fresh ceviche and delicious tostones!
Jose Enrique Puerto Rican Restaurant - Condado - Local Flavors
Spectacular Puerto Rican cuisine, reservations required!
1919 Restaurant at Condado Vanderbilt - Condado
Fine dining & extensive wine list with ocean views!
Tresbé - Ocean Park - Casual Lunch
Inexpensive sandwiches, coffee, and smoothies in a casual atmosphere
Pinky's - Ocean Park - Breakfast/Smoothies
Inexpensive breakfast outpost specializing in breakfast sandwiches and smoothies!
Kasalta Bakery - Ocean Park - Breakfast/Lunch/Repostería
Where Obama had a Medianoche sandwich (Think Cuban sandwich but with sweeter tasting bread). Try the quesitos, Dr. Olmedo's favorite treat!
Hacienda San Pedro - Ocean Park - Coffee Shop
Coffee shop specializing in local roasts
La Penultima - Santurce - Bar
Great bar just outside of La Placita de Santurce
Holes in the wall. Chinchorros by the beach have the best seafood fritters, and in the mountains, the best roasted pig aka Lechón.
Piñones Kiosks - By the beach in the Piñones beach area.
Luquillo Kiosks - At the foothills of El Yunque rainforest, next to stunning Luquillo Beach.
Guavate - This is the area you'd go to eat the best lechón.
If you want to explore but without hassles and in comfort, this is the ($$) way to go!
Although we haven't taken these tours, they seem fun and adventurous, show the real Puerto Rico, and they don't seem too touristy. Prices seem to be lower than the more traditional tourist tours ($). But bear in mind that they're geared for the AirBnB tourists -- may not be for everyone! Some tours may require your own travel by car - check first.
About 20 min from San Juan, or you could take the ferry across the bay to get there.
This FABULOUS local non-profit run by architects has access to areas and historic buildings that not even locals typically get to see. March dates will be posted later.
Puerto Rico's premiere nature conservation organization saves lands, habitats and historic properties. Need car for tours.
Historic Sugar Plantation Tour
Historic Coffee Plantation Tour
History and Nature in Old San Juan
This center is affiliated to one of the private universities, and no it is not by the ocean. Featured on a PBS special on PR just before the hurricane. All the money goes to help the center.
We like these guys! Boat leaves from Fajardo, an hour east of San Juan
Lots of good companies; we've used this one (owned by marine biologists) many times. Bio Bay is in Fajardo, an hour from San Juan.
Here is a link to the official Puerto Rico Tourism website.
But first, one of Mrs. Michelle Picon's favorite Puerto Ricans, Lin-Manuel Miranda, offers a few video tours (8 cool short videos!) of the island's vibrant culture.
Five Days in San Juan, PR: The Perfect Caribbean Getaway
Culinary Trip to Puerto Rico
Three day trips from San Juan
Paseo del Morro One Mile Hike
How to shop like a local
(They forgot to add Plaza Las Americas, the shopping mall, plus Playero and others)
Day Trips (FYI Parts of El Yunque Rainforest may still be closed...)
Where the top chefs eat
Although we're in the tropics, weddings in Puerto Rico tend to be very formal. Most guests wear tuxedos and long dresses.
BEACH WELCOME PARTY
Cocktails by the beach in shades of white! Think linen shirts or guayaberas for the guys, dressy casual outfits for the ladies.
GENERAL EVENING ATTIRE
Evenings out tend to be dressy. Take a shawl or light sweater to a restaurant - air conditioning is often on full blast!
Be cool and comfortable during the day for sightseeing or the beach. Take a hat, sunscreen. and plenty of water.
Temperatures in November range from 75 to 82 degrees and humid. Thankfully there's usually a cool breeze, and most indoor places have A/C.