Palmas del Mar, Puerto Rico – Quick Guide

2016 PDM Lake

We recently moved to the beautiful resort community of Palmas del Mar in Humacao, Puerto Rico.  Palmas del Mar is a popular resort community for tourists, ex-pats and some full time residents.  It is located on the East coast of Puerto Rico surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Many Puerto Ricans have beach homes in Palmas for weekend retreats, so there is a lot more traffic on the weekends.

I meet many tourists coming to our beautiful community, so here is a quick guide for your visit.

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Museum of Art Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is known for amazing beaches and a variety of rum drinks, including the famous Pina Colada.  What about Art?  Today, I set out to explore the art scene in Puerto Rico, starting with the capital of San Juan.2016 CenterBellaArt3

My first stop was the Centro de Bellas Artes de Puerto Rico.  The building is surrounded by outdoor sculptures, murals, and paintings (FREE Activity).  Early morning is the best time to visit, it is quiet, cool, and empty.  I had the entire plaza to myself, with The Muses.  These eight bronze female life-size sculptures are dedicated to the types of arts and culture found within the center; music, theater, literature, dance, films (my favorite pictured below), architecture, sculpture, and painting.  Inside are three main concert and theater halls for plays, ballet, operas, symphony, concerts, and festivals.  With a bit of planning, a performance here may be in my future.

The Muses
The Muses

Joined by Brenda from Traveleira, we ate a delicious brunch nearby, then walked to the Museo de Art de Puerto Rico, home to an eclectic assortment of local art.  The docents (gallery workers) are polite, multilingual, knowledgeable, and passionate about the art.   There are some beautiful, and thought provoking pieces which the docents are eager to discuss and admire with you.  Paintings, sculpture, contemporary pop-art, modern art, impressionism, and more are represented in the gallery.  With such a variety of styles, there are pieces that I immediately connected with and others that are not to my liking.  The building itself is a simple design in a bright, whitewash surrounded by palm trees.  The same air conditioners and humidifiers that protect the art, also are a cool refreshing break in the heat of the day.  The cost of admission is very reasonable at $6 for an adult, with student, children, seniors, and other discounts. Continue reading “Museum of Art Puerto Rico”

Over view of Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Overview of Fajardo, Puerto Rico for Seven Seas beach, Bio Bay kayaking tours, scuba, dining, and the El Conquistador hotel.

Our first experience with Puerto Rico was Old San Juan, and I was hooked!  When planning our next visit, we knew we needed more time, and we wanted to explore several areas of the island.  We started in beautiful Isla Verde, just outside of San Juan, then rented a car and headed out to Fajardo for a few days.  Six months later, I find myself back in Fajardo.

2016_Fajardo Sign

Fajardo is an hour East of San Juan, at the meeting point for the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea on the Northeast tip of the island.  Fajardo boasts one of the world’s rare bioluminescent bays, a must-see at night during the new moon, when it is darkest.

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El Conquistador Resort, Puerto Rico

For the luxury portion of our Puerto Rico vacation, we checked into paradise, officially known as the El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf-Astoria property.  It has that Latin America laid back culture, but quite posh at the same time.

El Conquistador pool view from lobby
El Conquistador pool view from lobby overlooking the Ocean

EC roomOur room was simple, with sunken bathtub and huge walk-in closet.  The real in-room feature is the balcony!

View from the Balcony
View from the Balcony

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Beach getaway in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico

Outside of San Juan, just a few minutes from the Airport, is beautiful Isla Verde district of Carolina, Puerto Rico.  Close enough to Old San Juan for the tourists, convenient for business in San Juan city center, and perched on the northern coast beach.  We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott, but any of the beach front hotels in Isla Verde or Condado are a good choice.  The area is a popular destination for business conventions, family vacations, and weekend getaways from the Mainland South and East Coast cities.

Isla Verde and Condado, Puerto Rico
Isla Verde and Condado, Puerto Rico

A rental car is not necessary, but Enterprise rental car is down the block for any island adventures outside of San Juan.

Beach gazebos
Beach gazebos

The beaches are clean with perfect temperature water year round.  All beaches are open to the public and there are many beach gazebos and facilities.

Unlike many islands in the Caribbean, we did not see any vendors on the beach. It was pleasant not to be disturbed by t-shirt sellers and various hawkers.

Each of the resorts offer beach chairs and umbrellas to guests.  There are jet ski rentals and surf schools all along the beach.

Isla Verde Courtyard Marriott
Isla Verde Courtyard Marriott pools and beach front

Isla Verde offers plenty of delicious, local restaurants walking distance from the beach.

Can-Can pork chop from Platos
Can-Can pork chop from Platos

After extensive research, I am happy to report that Platos Restaurant serves excellent pork and the best Pina Colada in San Juan (even better than Barrachina – home of the Pina Colada!).  Other local restaurants worth eating at are Piu Bella, Metropol, and Las Canarias Bakery (24 hour bakery, serving sandwiches & breakfast).

My favorite spot to read
My favorite spot to read