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Passport-Free Paradise: 5 Reasons Why You Should Escape To This Tropical Destination

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If you’re anything like me, then you love a tropical island getaway, but you don’t always want to deal with the international restrictions and the hoops you have to jump through.

Sometimes, it’s just nice to be able to walk off the plane and not have to worry about customs.

That’s why I love going to Puerto Rico. You get the feeling of being in another country without the hassle; leave your passport at home!

I recently went to Puerto Rico and was hosted at the best destination spot — Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico.

Image: Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve

Perfect for travelers seeking both adventure and relaxation, the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve seemed like the perfect place to call home while soaking up the best of both worlds, which leads me to the first of many reasons you should check out this destination!

#1. Prime Location

The Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico is so close to El Yunque National Rainforest. You can see the impressive rainforest towering over you from the resort.

If you haven’t been to El Yunque yet, then you need to add this to your bucket list of things to do in Puerto Rico.

El Yunque has it all. From a stunning waterfall to beautiful hikes and an incredible view from a watch tower that gives off castle vibes.

There are even areas where you can swing from a rope into the mountain river.

You need to stop at the beautiful visitor’s center to learn about the incredible things they’re accomplishing with their wildlife preservation efforts.

Yokahu Tower in El Yunque forest Puerto Rico scenic view

You could spend an entire day exploring the rainforest or just a portion of the day. Either way, it’s just a short drive from the resort. We did a half day tour with SALTours and had a wonderful time!

Getting picked up from the Hyatt Grand Reserve and doing the half day tour will run you from $130 per person, check out the tour here if you are interested in having the same experience.

After your El Yunque exploration, you absolutely need to visit Kioskos de Luquillo on your way back to the resort.

This is a favorite local hotspot right on Luquillo Beach. There are dozens of family-owned kiosks. There are a variety of different types of shops in the long row of kiosks.

Most of them sell the most incredible food, and it can be really hard to choose just one place to get food from.

I found several places that sold my absolute favorite Puerto Rican dish, mofongo. And they did not disappoint.

There were also several places that sold the best-tasting drinks out of fresh pineapple. I could have stayed here all day, but it’s good for my waistline that I didn’t.

Speaking of incredible food, you can also find a lot of great places to eat and drink while taking in the sights in Old San Juan.

It’s only about 45 minutes from Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico and would be the perfect day trip. (Check out the best route on Google Maps here)

Not that you would even want or need to leave the resort. If you’ve never been to Old San Juan, then I would definitely suggest checking it out for at least an afternoon.

But you probably won’t want to leave paradise for too long.

Frozen treat in old san juan

#2. Ultimate Relaxation

Speaking of paradise, Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico is the perfect place for relaxation. I mean, their slogan is literally, “Doing Nothing Means Everything.” I couldn’t think of a better phrase for when I want a peaceful, bliss-filled vacation.

The resort is tucked away on a beautiful 72-acre reserve that is close to things like El Yunque, the airport, Old San Juan, etc. but it still feels far away and private.

It’s right on the beach with incredible sunset views over the ocean. The resort also has an amazing pool that ebbs and flows around beautiful tropical landscaping.

Pool at Hyatt Grand Reserve Puerto Rico

One of my favorite things to look for in a resort is that certain type of pool that looks uniquely tropical. I’m not really a fan of the boring rectangular pools that you can find at any stateside, local public pool.

I’ve been to plenty of tropical resorts that fall flat in the pool department, but this one did NOT disappoint.

If that isn’t enough for you, then you can find the ultimate relaxation at their amazing onsite Rainforest Spa.

I could have spent the entire day at this spa.

Not only was the massage therapist amazing, but they also have a private hot tub, pool, steam room, and sauna you can relax in before and after. It doesn’t get any better than unwinding with a spa day.

The Rainforest Spa Jacuzzi (1)
Image: Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve

#3. Culinary Delights

One of my favorite things about Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico is how they’ve incorporated their own personal authentic Puerto Rican traditions into their food and drinks.

We stayed in the Villas en La Reserva and were able to have the Pan Sobao breakfast experience. It was SO GOOD! The bread was still warm and served with thick-cut cheese and melted sweet butter. I wish I could make it myself so I could keep having this for breakfast every day.

My absolute favorite of all the AMAZING traditional foods and drinks was the frozen coquito. If you don’t already know, coquito is traditionally a Puerto Rican holiday drink, but the resort puts their own twist on it and serves it frozen ALL YEAR LONG.

I’m not kidding when I say I would go back just for the frozen coquito. It felt like putting the best of Christmas and a tropical paradise vacation into one glass.

Coquito in Puerto Rico
Make sure to try the frozen coquito, it's amazing!

I’m not much of a beer drinker, but Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico has crafted their very own beer, the PRadise Bliss Lager, and it’s 100% sourced from Puerto Rico ­— even the bottle and label!

It’s super refreshing and you can really taste the passionfruit, guava, and orange — perfect for a tropical pool or beach day!

PRadise Lager

This next one is certainly unique, but trust me, it’s delicious! The team at Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico have turned their exclusive brew into a POPSICLE!

I was hesitant when I first heard it, but I’m so glad I tried it! All of the fruity parts of the PRadise Bliss Lager turned it into one of the best popsicles I’ve ever had.

Popsicle in Puerto Rico

I’ve mentioned a lot of the beautiful traditional food and drinks they’ve incorporated, but I haven’t mentioned that there are plenty of other incredible food options on the resort with their variety of restaurants on site.

From the steakhouse with beautifully prepared dishes (that tasted as amazing as they looked) at Prime 787 to their Asian restaurant Nori Teppanyaki, you can find an amazing array of dishes.

One of my top recommendations, however, is to check out the breakfast buffet at Water’s Edge. There are so many incredible foods to choose from. But the thing you need to try above all is the chia seed pudding.

I know this may sound silly, but it was actually the best chia seed pudding I’ve ever had. It was so good that I was practically begging for the recipe before I left the resort.

These are just SOME of the amazing options. They also have a little market, a cute café, several bar sites, and poolside dining options. Everything you could possibly want and more!

Bar at Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve
Image: Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve

#4. Activities Galore

If you want a little more action in your vacation than just relaxing by the pool or beach and eating and drinking your way through all the options I just laid out for you, then you’re in luck.

There are plenty of super awesome activities to check out on the resort.

One of my favorite activities was the TopGolf Swing Suite at The Sand Trap. If golfing isn’t your vibe, don’t worry! They have plenty of other options, including my personal favorite – Zombie Dodgeball.

This was way too fun and I started to get a little too obsessed with trying to beat my score.

If golfing IS your thing, then you’re in luck, they have a stunning 18-hole championship golf course – Grand Reserve Golf Club.  

The team at Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico have outdone themselves again with the “Picnic Experience.” With the Picnic Experience, they put together amazing meal complete with a cute little backpack picnic bag and topped off with s’mores by a fire.

This incredible picnic is surrounded by gorgeous views and a stunning sunset. Make sure you reserve the Picnic Experience for your trip! Trust me, it’s worth it!

Smores at Grand Reserve Puerto Rico
Absolutely loved having smores, very fun to watch the sunset while roasting marshmallows!

There are tons of other activities like tennis, pickleball, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking. For those of you who need adventure, or just can’t sit and relax, you will never get bored.

#5. Easy Accessibility

Who could ask for more? This stunningly unique resort is hidden away on its own reserve on a tropical paradise island that you can fly to from the U.S. WITHOUT a passport.

San Juan has tons of connectivity with 37 nonstop flights to the mainland U.S.

Plus, flights are often super affordable! In fact, if you can travel light there are direct flights from Miami for UNDER $100! Check out Google Flights HERE to see for yourself!

The resort feels like it’s far away from everything, but it’s less than 45 minutes from the airport, unlike so many other resorts I’ve been to where the drive is well over an hour or two and you have to wind through crazy roads up and down a mountainside, etc.

Don’t forget, the resort is also accessible from some of the very best parts of Puerto Rico — El Yunque, Old San Juan, and more!

Travel Off Path was a guest of Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico, who helped with the creation of this itinerary by hosting some of our accommodations and attractions. Our opinions, recommendations, and suggestions remain our own.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.