I arrive at the San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino ready to have fun, where life is a step away from reality. Opening the door to my room I am taken back by the picture postcard view of the ocean. From the 10th floor I’m mesmerized by the reflections of clouds and evening sun, as the water slowly turns from green near the shore to dark blue farther out to sea.
La Vista Latin Grill is the resort’s main eatery. Blues and soft earth tones combine with large chairs and beautiful bay windows to make the space relaxing. I pass on the buffet and order the Tapas Plate: plantains, vegetables and dry fruit medley. Next-door Gelato and Co is whipping up creamy deliciousness with fresh fruit and natural ingredients, and I want to save room for a double scoop.
Beautiful Old San Juan sits right on the water about 15 minutes from the resort. Founded in the early 1500s by Ponce De Leon, the area is an architectural wonder. You could spend days touring old churches and museums or looking at the brightly painted homes. The narrow brick streets are lined with hundreds of shops and restaurants. Open-air dining and shopping attract the cruise ship crowd,so the place is bustling. Raices Restaurant serves up its authentic Mofongo- mashed fried plantains with broth, herbs and shrimp, chicken, beef or vegetables. You can find interesting cuisine on virtually every corner. Local artists and souvenir shops are intermingled with high-end name brand fashion boutiques along the streets and in the malls.
One of the most visited sights in Puerto Rico is Bio Bay. The bay is home to millions of glowing organisms, commonly called glowing water. The best way to experience the bay is by kayak, at night! The Puerto Rico Tour Desk can set up your excursion. The kayaks are launched back in the channel and we paddle through the mangrove trees, past seabirds and iguana, to the bay. As we break out of the trees, stars fill the sky and the blue organisms glow beneath the waters of bioluminescent bay. It’s truly an out of this world experience.
San Juan Marriott guests spend day time hours relaxing on the beach or by the pool, or taking excursions. As evening rolls around, drinks start to flow at the Red Coral Lounge, Latin music fills the air and hips start swaying. It’s pointless to resist; everybody joins the party. After a couple of their famous Dragon Berry Mojitos, it’s off to the Casino to place bets. With sleeves rolled up and dice to throw, the party might last all night.
Authentic cuisine, intriguing people, adventure and nightlife are part of the Puerto Rican culture. Add in the ocean, architecture and the San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino to create and excellent vacation!
By Niketa Misco