San Juan's high-rise hotels on the Condado and Isla Verde beach strips cater primarily to the cruise-ship and casino crowd, though some also target business travelers and families. Outside San Juan, particularly on the east coast, you'll find self-contained luxury resorts that cover hundreds of acres. In the west, southwest, and south—as well as on the islands of Vieques and Culebra—smaller inns, villas, condominiums, and government-sponsored paradores are the norm.
Most hotels and other lodgings require you to give your credit-card details before they will confirm your reservation. If you don't feel comfortable emailing this information, ask if you can call it in or fax it (some places even prefer faxes). However you book, get confirmation in writing and have a copy of it handy when you check in.
Be sure you understand the hotel's cancellation policy. Some places allow you to cancel without any kind of penalty—even if you prepaid to secure a discounted rate—if you cancel at least 24 hours in advance. Others require you to cancel a week in advance or penalize you the cost of one night. Small inns and B&Bs are most likely to require you to cancel far in advance. Note that hotels in Puerto Rico add a hotel tax to your bill; at present, this is 13%. Many hotels, even if they do not market themselves as all-inclusive resorts, also add a resort fee, which is typically charged as a daily rate. Most hotels allow children under a certain age to stay in their parents' room at no extra charge, but others charge for them as extra adults; find out the cutoff age for discounts.
Apartment and House Rentals
Island West Properties. Island West Properties can help you rent condos in Rincón by the day, week, or month. Rincón, n/a Puerto Rico, 00677. 787/823–2323; www.island-west.com.
Puerto Rico Vacation Apartments. Puerto Rico Vacation Apartments represents some 200 properties in Condado and Isla Verde. Calle Marbella del Caribe Oeste S-5, Isla Verde, n/a Puerto Rico, 00979. 787/727–1591; 800/266–3639; www.sanjuanvacationpr.com.
Rainbow Realty. Rainbow Realty rents studios, apartments, and houses on Vieques. 278 Calle Flamboyán, Esperanza, Vieques, 00765. 787/741–4312; 787/435–2063; www.viequesrainbowrealty.com.
In the most expensive hotels, your room will be large enough for two to move around comfortably, with two double beds or one queen- or king-size bed, air-conditioning, a phone, Wi-Fi or other Internet access, a private bath, an in-room safe, cable TV, a hair dryer, iron and ironing board, room service, shampoo and toiletries, and possibly a view of the water. There will be a concierge and at least one hotel restaurant and lounge, a pool, a shop, and an exercise room or spa. In Puerto Rico's smaller inns, rooms will have private baths, air-conditioning or fans, a double to king-size bed, possibly room service, and breakfast (Continental or full) included in the rates. Most also have Wi-Fi or other Internet access in the rooms, though some have Wi-Fi in public areas only. In some smaller hotels several rooms share baths—it's a good idea to ask before booking. All hotels listed have private baths unless otherwise noted.
In Puerto Rico smoking is prohibited in public places, including restaurants, bars, cafés, casinos, and hotel common areas.
Some paradores are rural inns offering no-frills apartments, and others are large hotels; all must meet certain standards, such as proximity to an attraction or beach. Most have a small restaurant that serves local cuisine. They're often good bargains (usually from $85 to $125 for a double room). You can find a listing of and contact information for all the paradores on the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s website. Small Inns of Puerto Rico, a branch of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association, is a marketing arm for more than 20 small hotels island-wide. The organization occasionally has package deals including casino coupons and LeLoLai (a cultural show) tickets.
Puerto Rico Tourism Company. 787/721–2400; 800/866–7827; www.seepuertorico.com.
Small Hotels of Puerto Rico. www.puertoricosmallhotels.com.