Opened in April 2016, VIVO Beach Club is a beach front property in area of Isla Verde, Carolina, Puerto Rico with pristine white sand beaches, private pool, world class entertainment, and a variety of dining options.
Located on the outskirts of San Juan, this white sand beach is close to the heart of the city while feeling like you are away from it all! Located mere minutes from the San Juan airport in Isla Verde, guests can enjoy perfect Caribbean water immediately upon arrival to the island. VIVO Is fast becoming a popular destination for locals and visitors.
I have been to the St. Regis Bahia resort Spa several times, but this was our first overnight stay at the property. I booked a 4 day, 3 night reservation over Thanksgiving weekend, which also happens to be our Anniversary. November is still considered off-peak for tourist season, which officially kicks off mid-December through April.
Girls’ weekend seems incomplete without a little spa time. Our adventures included exploring Old San Juan, dining, shopping, scuba/snorkel trip, and plenty of beach time. We headed off to the Waldorf Astoria Spa, located in the lovely El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
My first visit to the El Conquistador resort was last year, but this was my first time for spa treatments. Each previous resort visit included a scuba dive, how had I not thought to follow up with a massage? Hmm.
As I mature (which is a nice way to say, get older), my approach to travelling is changing. In my early 20’s, I had a checklist of places to visit. Before the term bucket list was coined and the creation of Pinterest, I literally had a world map on my wall that I would stick a push-pin into after visiting each city.
I had a magnificent job that sent me to work in the United Kingdom for almost a year, twice! Travel was forever changed for me. Sure, I used London as my home base to travel Europe on the weekends, but the push-pin strategy never satisfied my wanderlust. I collected many pins, but it was not enough.
Even a few days in a city is only long enough for me to decide what I need to do and see on my next visit, and discover the hidden gems from locals. My first visit to Paris was a mere 3 days, barely enough time to see the top 5 tourist attractions (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louve, Notre Dame, and Champs Elysees) and very little else (and there is so much more to see). I felt rushed. I felt like a tacky American tourist – maybe, because I was.
After a few more hurried trips, I realized that break-neck speed of travel is exhausting. I do not want to spend more time in transit than exploring. In the last decade, I started to slow down, put down the guide book, and talk to the locals. Simple curiosity and a good attitude have resulted in invitations to private country estates, weekends in sleepy little villages, multiple wedding receptions around the world, cheering with the fans for local amateur sports teams, and so much more off the beaten path activities. I am simply not satisfied by sheer number of cities visited, I want to connect and savor the destination.
Granted, slow travel is a luxury. Not everyone can spend weeks at a vacation destination. 10 days in Cancun enabled me to complete my Scuba certification start to finish, with a couple extra dives at the end. Weekend trips are focused on a few activities at a destination, and almost always followed up with a longer visit to see more. Continue reading “Benefits of Slow Travel”
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.
A rental car is not necessary, but Enterprise rental car is down the block for any island adventures outside of San Juan.
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 offers plenty of delicious, local restaurants walking distance from the beach.
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).