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Learn about Palmas Del Mar, Puerto Rico by reading Palmas Del Mar - Undiscovered Puerto Rico! by Henry Scammell. It features all you'll need to know to plan your trip including objective info on places to stay, eat and things to do. At the end of the article, we've provided a summary of the contact info for your easy reference. Enjoy!

Palmas Del Mar - Undiscovered Puerto Rico

by Henry Scammell

Doral Resort at Palmas del Mar

Too many travelers to Puerto Rico have seen this jewel of an island only from the air, from an airport lounge, or from the world-within-a-world of the San Juan resorts. And a whole lot more have never seen it at all.

They're missing a lot. At 3,435 square miles, this corner of America is only about one twelfth the size of Cuba. But it's twice as big as Delaware and triple the area of Rhode Island.

We don't have the space to cover it all. But one especially favored part of this green paradise can be found in the Doral Resort at Palmas del Mar, near the southeast corner.

Set among 2,750 acres with its face to the rising sun, this complete resort destination features a three and one-half mile beach lined by giant coconut palms and lapped by turquoise waters. Two championship golf courses, one by Rees Jones and the other by Gary Player, take maximum advantage of the setting, with heavy tropical rough, lagoons, canals and devilish sand traps to challenge even the most experienced golfer. A practice putting green and driving range have designated areas for short game and sand trap practice. Lessons and clinics are available, and equipment can be rented or purchased at the fully stocked Pro Shop. The new golf cart rental fleet features the latest safety options.

Accommodations include 100 hotel rooms and 110 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, all with views of the colorful gardens or the glittering Caribbean and its nearby islands. For cool-down dips and splash zones, there are pools aplenty, one in each of six complexes within the resort. With itsbreathtaking prospects of nearby islands and the El Yunque Rainforest, it's hard to believe Luis Munos Marin International Airport in San Juan is just 40 minutes on safe, modern roads by shuttle or rental car.

The Tennis Center is the largest in the Caribbean, with 20 courts, five of them clay. Court time, lessons, clinics and mixers all can be arranged here, and the nearby Pro Shop is as fully equipped for tennis. The Tennis Center also boasts a modern, well-equipped fitness center with a Universal gym, free weights and cardio machines.

Still not enough? Horseback riding at Ranch Buena Vista offers guided or solo trips over 3.6 miles of trails and beach. A 6.5 mile trail leads more advanced riders to lovely El Morro lookout point in nearby Humacao.

The Dive Center rents a full range of scuba equipment, single and double kayaks, boogie boards and snorkel gear, with NAUI or PADI certified instruction. Course prices range from $45 for an hour in the pool to $375 for certification in open water diving. Both scuba and snorkeling trips, with refreshments, are available to nearby Monkey Island or Vieques on a 38-foot power catamaran at $45-$75 per person.

Eco-adventures range from hikes in the island's famous rainforest to kayaking on fresh water lakes or ocean lagoons, to reef- and wreck-diving off the pristine beaches.

Sport fishing trips for Wahoo, Dorado, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish and Marlin, on light and heavy tackle or in combination, are available from a flotilla of local skippers, at $80 to $130 pp, depending on the length of cruise and size of boat.

Inside Tips

The average year-round temperature at the resort is 82 degrees. Palmas del Mar faces the southeast, so schedule your tennis or golf for early morning or late afternoon when a breeze can rise and the sun is less intense. Even at the peak, temperature in the shade is seldom over 80?.

Among the area's several first-rate restaurants, the French cuisine at Chez Daniel in Anchor's Village is on a par with the best you'll find in Paris. If you lean to the east, Blue Hawaii offers authentic - and often highly creative - Chinese. It is located in the Palmanova Plaza.

There are also good restaurants in the Candelero Hotel and Palmanova Plaza, but at the latter the attempted reconstruction of a central town atmosphere misses the mark, so the ambiance is slightly skewed.


Rates peak from the end of January to mid-April. In the hotel they range from $273-$310 in the high season to $180-206 in the summer. High season price for a villa is $275-$425 for a one-bedroom, $300-$525 for two bedrooms, and $375-$575 for three. Packages are better, with a one-room villa at $750-$1200 per week off season, and $1150-$1800 in season. Taxes and resort fees add another 18%. There are several different villa "villages" throughout the resort. They are all nice, but we particularly like Crescent Beach, Fairway Courts and Dorado del Palmas (newest one).

Finally, and this may be the best tip of all, don't be shy about looking for a deal.

Places to Stay, Eat, and Other Contact Information

Villa Rentals

  • Hotel & Villas of Palmas del Mar Resort-
    170 Candelero Drive, Humacao, PR 00791, telephone 1-800-PALMAS3, or 1-787-852-6000, x 74, or 1-800-725-6273
  • Chez Daniel (French Cuisine) - Anchors Village
  • Blue Hawaii (Chinese Cuisine) - Palmanova Plaza
  • Other restaurants in the Candelero Hotel and Palmanova Plaza

Notice: This information is current as of May 2000. It is recommended that you contact the numbers, and/or visit the websites above to determine any changes to the information.