Plan an Epic Spring Break Vacation with Friends to Puerto Rico

Whether your squad’s vacation style is super chill or a week-long party, Puerto Rico has you covered.

Puerto Rico ranks as one of the most budget-friendly Caribbean islands to visit. With frequent direct flights from U.S. cities and no passport required for American travelers, it’s the ideal spot for a spring break getaway. Here’s how to enjoy a laid-back escape in Rincón or revel in San Juan’s vibrant nightlife.

Low key vacation in Rincón 

Located on Puerto Rico’s west coast, this relaxed town is known as a surfing haven. Rincón is one of the least developed spots on the island, which creates a blissfully casual vibe. That doesn’t mean the town is devoid of activities beyond the beach. You’ll also find affordable restaurants and bars, as well as solid shopping opportunities.

Beaches and bars

Perhaps Rincón’s most popular beach, Sandy Beach is situated in the Puntas region of the town. It garnered attention as a top surfing spot after it hosted the World Surfing Championship in 1968. Sandy Beach provides the right conditions for surfers of all skill levels. If surfing isn’t your thing, no worries. You can work on your tan, swim, jump in a game of beach volleyball or just sip on cocktails and people watch all day. 

Part of the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, Steps Beach is a perfect example of how community effort can eschew overdevelopment. The beach’s moniker comes from the lone concrete steps resting on the sand, remnants of a home that once stood on the beach. There are no amenities here—restrooms, showers, lifeguards, designated parking and safety buoys. However, a food truck is often parked at the beach entrance, and restaurants are within easy access.

Also called “Lighthouse Beach,” popular Domes Beach earned its name from the decommissioned domed nuclear plant located near the shoreline. Experienced surfers flock here, especially during the winter months when the waves are stronger. Each January, it plays host to the international Legend Surf Classic competition. With no lifeguards stationed, Domes isn’t a swimming beach. However, it’s perfect for relaxing and watching the surfing action. The sunsets here are phenomenal, too. Sometimes food kiosks will set up shop by the roadside. If your spring break falls before mid-March, you might spy the occasional humpback whale.

There’s a good selection of places to grab a bite and enjoy drinks. Toast to an amazing sunset on the deck at Tamboo Tavern, a beachfront favorite. Located at Casa Verde Guest House, Big Kahuna Burger Bar & Grill serves up tasty (and wallet-friendly) burgers and sandwiches, as well as perfect cocktails. Savor authentic empanadillas (small meat-filled pastries), fish tacos and more at La Barca Snack Bar.

Where to stay in Rincón

Tres Palmas Inn and Villas

PR-413, Rincón

Rate: Call for rates

Tres Palmas Villas in Rincon
Source: Tres Palmas Villas in Rincon / Discover Puerto Rico

Keep your group together in one of the villas or cottages (some with private pools) within this beachfront property. It’s situated on a private 4-acre (16,187 sq. m.) beach and overlooks Tres Palmas Marine Reserve. Toiletries and beach towels are provided. Kitchens include cookware, coffee makers and microwaves, so you can save money on meals by fixing your own some nights. Villas also feature dishwashers, laundry appliances, as well as dishwashing and laundry products.

Live it up in San Juan

Sun and spirits

Puerto Rico’s capital and most populous city is a hotspot for daytime fun and fantastic nightlife. Sun splashed beaches, unique shops, diverse restaurants and lively bars—there’s something for everyone.

With 300 miles (482.8km) of beaches and near-perfect year-round weather, there’s no shortage of sand and sun. But if you don’t want to venture far from the San Juan region for the perfect beach day, you don’t have to. Located east of San Juan in the Carolina neighborhood, Isla Verde Beach stretches almost three miles (4.83km). The coastline is long and wide, and edged by graceful coconut palms. Lined with luxury high-rise resorts, Condado Beach serves up serious Miami Beach vibes. There are restrooms and shower facilities, as well as a slew of oceanfront restaurants. If you’re into water sports, you’re in luck. It’s an ideal place for jet skiing, parasailing and other water sports rentals.

Characterized by boogie boarding-worthy waves and luxury resort beach atmosphere, Condado Beach is popular among those who want to be in the middle of the action. It’s within the heart of San Juan’s upscale Condado district. Restaurants, bars, boutiques and watersports rentals are close by. You’ll also have endless opportunities to people-watch as you sip on a cocktail—you might even spot a celebrity.

Situated in the Santurce neighborhood, mile-long Ocean Park Beach runs along the Condado area. It’s less crowded and more laid-back here—high-rise hotels are replaced by private homes, vacation rentals, restaurants and small hotels. The waves are stronger, so it’s less of a swimming beach and more of a boogie boarding and surfing one. 

Often touted as the best public beach in Puerto Rico, Escambrón Beach is a solid option if you want to add snorkeling or scuba diving to your beach day. It’s a balneario (government run) beach , so there are lifeguards and it’s equipped with changing facilities, showers, picnic areas and other amenities. 

San Juan’s thriving nightlife offers plenty to do beyond the beach. Head to La Placita, located in the historic district and neighborhood of Santurce. During the day this two-tiered market square serves as a produce and food market. In the evening it comes alive with numerous food and drink stalls, salsa dancing, bustling restaurants and energetic bars.

La Factoría launched the bar scene in San Juan when it opened in 2013 and remains one of the hottest nightclubs in Puerto Rico (some say the world). The video for the international hit song “Despacito” was filmed here, too. The space features different bar concepts—exclusive lounge, buzzing nightclub, low-key wine bar and salsa dance hall. There’s a party for every style here. 

Glitz and glamor take center stage at Club Brava and Ultra Lounge, situated inside the Fairmont San Juan Hotel. It’s been that way since it opened in 1958, when icons Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnelli performed here. This is the place to be seen, attracting local celebs and in-the-know travelers. Your Instagram feed will make your friends seriously jealous.

Where to stay in San Juan

La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort

1077 Ashford Ave, San Juan

Rate: $280 per night

La Concha Resort
Source: La Concha Resort / Discover Puerto Rico

Spring break like an A-lister at this chic beachfront playground. It’s located in the heart of the lively Condado District, so you’re ideally situated to make the most of San Juan nightlife. Enjoy craft cocktails by the pool or on the beach. Kick up the party at night at the lobby bar or Marena, a secluded adults-only oceanfront patio located at the hotel’s Ocean Pool. Marena is an exclusive spot for La Concha guests, serving rosé wines and botanically-based signature cocktails. Take advantage of their special Spring Break Take-Off package—15 percent off your room rate and an additional 10 percent discount on your last night (for three or more nights). You also receive breakfast daily for two, tour discounts (when booked at hotel tour desk), exclusive Happy Hour in the lobby bar and other perks.