Hola! We’re baaaack from Puerto Rico!
Little sis Rachel and I just spent a few days exploring the El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, in Fajardo with the Jockey team and a handful of fashion bloggers. It was a completely different experience than most organized trips I’ve been on (and planned, as a publicist) but all the same, it was a ton of fun and it was great to chat about blogging with people whose business model is completely different than mine.
But let’s be real… I didn’t go all the way to Puerto Rico to talk shop. I went to get some sun, explore the El Yunque rainforest, splash around in the Caribbean, hit up the Waldorf Astoria Spa and try not to get lost on the sprawling resort grounds.
El Conquistador is a massive resort spanning 500 acres, consisting of luxury villages, a spa, villas with butler service, a championship golf course, swimming pools, a funicular and more than 20 restaurants, all perched on a bluff overlooking the sea.
One of the best parts about this particular trip was the chance to bring a guest… and let me tell you, it was a tough call choosing between my fiancé and my maid of honor. Since the maid of honor knows her way around social media & iPhone photography, she won out. Sorry, honey!
Hike in El Yunque National Rainforest
The only time we left the resort during our short stay was to hike El Yunque National Forest, so it was bound to be a special experience. El Yunque is about a 20 minute drive from El Conquistador, and it’s the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System. It rains more than 200 inches a year in some areas, creating some pretty spectacular waterfalls.
We met up with tour guide Edwin Ortiz, who is one of the best guides I’ve ever had anywhere in the world. His enthusiasm for the flora and fauna of the forest was contagious, and I found myself much more interested in red ginger and rainfall tallies than I ever would’ve expected to be.
If you ever visit El Yunque, take Edwin with you. He is the man!
After getting all sorts of sweaty in El Yunque, some sunset yoga outside of the spa was just what I needed. It was perfect to chill out with some downward dog overlooking the rainforest in the distance.
Our yoga instructor, who once was Mariah Carey’s personal trainer, presented a fun mix of challenging and restorative poses.
And of course, Rachel and I took lots of twin yoga & jumping photos. (It’s better than selfies, right?)
Active Day on Palomino Island
On top of all the first class amenities you’d expect at a Waldorf Astoria property, there’s also a 100-acre private island accessible by ferry, which kept me too occupied to visit the other water highlight, the Coqui Water Park.
There’s stand-up paddleboarding, my new favorite activity…
There’s glass-bottom kayaking in the crystal clear water…
There’s sister swimming…
There are boaters to meet…
There are long walks to take on abandoned stretches of sand…
There are desserts to eat…
And tropical drinks to imbibe…
When you visit El Conquistador, be sure to factor in at least one full day to spend out on Palomino Island. If I hadn’t been on a work trip, I likely would’ve spent several days out there soaking up the sun and enjoying the watersports.
After hiking, kayaking, SUPping, yoga, bed-jumping and the exertions of eating at all of El Conquistador’s restaurants, a visit to the Caribbean’s largest spa is definitely in order. Rachel & I both had the 80-minute Rainforest Hot Stone Therapy…
…it was obviously wonderful.
As spas go, this one was pretty much par for the course, featuring all the bells & whistles – sauna & steam, 25 treatment rooms, soaking tubs, a kids’ area, hair & nail salon, fitness classes, etc.
Beach massage is available, too, which I am already planning to set up for the next visit.
It was a quick trip, but not too quick to realize that Puerto Rico deserves to have a return visit on the calendar – ASAP!
Have you ever been to Puerto Rico? What suggestions do you have for our next adventure?
This was a very photo-heavy post, and I have tons more! Check out the album on Facebook.
Special thanks to RaeRae for serving as my wonderful assistant/bestfriend/photographer/maidofhonor/sister, to El Conquistador for hosting us and to Jockey for the activewear, sleepwear and other assorted goodies. Though this trip was sponsored, all opinions are mine.