Spring Break in Puerto Rico

••• Isla Verde Beach. Photo © Zain Deane

Spring Break 101:

I live in South Florida; I've been to Cancun in March; I know a thing or two about where to go for Spring Break. But even I had never really considered Puerto Rico as a Spring Break destination until recently. And it really doesn't have a reputation as a March escape for young adults and almost-adultas craving a sun-kissed detour from their studies.

But when you think about it, this island has everything you need to make it a Spring Break destination as entertaining and enjoyable a party as the beaches of Miami or the Mexican Riviera.

Start with the beach:

So, what makes Puerto Rico an ideal Spring Break escape? That's easy... let's focus on the key need of most Spring Breakers: The Beach! I know you don't have to hit the beach for Spring Break, but it's where the biggest parties are. And you'll have your choice of beaches on which to party in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico's beaches range from remote and isolated strips of sand to popular spots to see and be seen. I'm guessing Spring Breakers are looking for the latter, and for that, my top choices in PR would be Isla Verde Beach in Carolina (basically San Juan), Sun Bay Beach in Vieques, Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo, and Playa Combate (also in Cabo Rojo) is you want to hang out with the locals.

For those who want nothing less than the sun, the sand, and sun-kissed revelers enjoying a slice of Caribbean goodness, Puerto Rico will provide.

Beyond the beach:

Of course, a beach alone does not a Spring Break make. You need places to party, places to sleep (catering to a student budget), and a place that's close enough to be a short flight from campus. In other words, welcome to Puerto Rico!

Let's take a closer look at each of those primal needs for a great Spring Break trip:

  • The nightlife: If you're looking for where to go after the sun sets, San Juan will give you enough choices to satisfy even the most zealous party animals. From bass-dropping nightclubs to smooth and sexy lounges to all kinds of bars, the capital will keep you going until it's time to head back to the beach. Oh, and I did I mention that the legal drinking age in Puerto Rico is 18?
  • Lodging: Having recently checked out The Beach House Hotel, I can add it to my list of bargain hotels in the city. It's one of the few great deals that's right on the beach. And for those truly on a budget, there are even cheaper accommodations to be found, including hostels and apartment rentals. Once you head out of San Juan, good deals abound in Puerto Rico. These hotels in Vieques and these ones in Culebra will get you close to the beaches of two island jewels in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Easy access: For all you students at the thousands of fine academic institutions along the east coast (particularly New England), I feel your pain. By March, I was ready to escape my campus in Boston and head south to ... well, anywhere. Thing is, most airlines and Spring Break Destinations are waiting for you in March, and the increased cost of travel to these hotspots will hurt your wallet more than you might realize. Puerto Rico is actually a bargain during this season, with many outstanding hotels offering terrific deals and airfare available at surprisingly low prices. Look into the deals you can get, and think about making sand angels instead of snow angels in March.