With travellers looking ahead to this new year, there’s no better time to start planning a wellness trip that rejuvenates the mind, body, and soul. From stargazing on the remote island of Vieques to hiking in El Yunque National Forest, Discover Puerto Rico rounds up five wellness experiences across the island to help travellers rebalance and reset for the year ahead.

  1. Watch the stars dance across the night sky

There is no doubt that stargazing is the most magical way to experience the beauty of the night sky, enjoying life’s natural wonders one shooting star at a time. As the sun sets behind the horizon of the Caribbean Sea, sit back and relax on Vieques’ black-sand beaches and discover the sparkling celestial activity as shining stars dance across the moonlit sky. On a clear night, observe the abundance of individual stars and constellations such as the colourful Milky Way galaxy, sights only visible due to the site’s secluded location. Gazing up at the world above, travellers can feel a sense of escapism as the mind and body relaxes whilst watching the Universe’s natural phenomenon.

  1. Go off the grid at El Pretexto, Puerto Rico’s first culinary farm lodge

Located in the scenic Cercadillo community an hour outside of Puerto Rico’s capital city of San Juan, El Pretexto serves as the first culinary farm lodge on the Island, offering a remote farm stay in a peaceful tropical space to unwind and relax in nature. Tucked away in the green, lush mountains of Cayey, the retreat boasts sweeping views of the mountain tops all the way to the south coast of the Island and the Caribbean Sea and is the ideal spot for nature lovers, with many hidden waterfalls within hiking distance. Good for the body and for the soul, the range of healthy but tasty dishes and cuisines at the lodge will have visitors embarking on a mouth-watering culinary journey like no other.

  1. Hike through nature’s paradise at El Yunque National Forest

As the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System, El Yunque National Forest boasts an extremely biodiverse ecosystem with 240 species of lush trees and bushes, along with bountiful waterfalls, rivers, creeks, and streams. Travellers can hike deep into the forest and immerse themselves in the natural landscapes and stunning terrains which make for the perfect spot to revitalise the soul. Strolling at a leisurely pace through the green shrubbery, hikers will discover a new world of endemic species and experience close-up encounters with the island’s native animals such as the Puerto Rican parrot, green mango birds and the coquí frog.

  1. Bathe in therapeutic healing waters of the Coamo hot springs

Hidden amongst the verdant hills of Coamo, experience a purifying, deep cleanse in the Coamo Thermal Springs. Referred to in local legend as Juan Ponce de Leon’s coveted ‘Fountain of Youth’, the springs’ mineral-rich water, heated by the dormant volcano below, is believed to have ‘magical’ healing powers and anti-aging effects. These thermal baths are visited throughout the calendar year by travellers and locals alike who are eager to enjoy its natural revitalising effects. In order to achieve the ultimate spa-like experience, the springs are designed to emulate tranquillity and relaxation with an aesthetic border of intricately manicured gardens and a delicate frame of rocks, each painted with positive and uplifting messages.

  1. Kayak on the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world

Located on the east coast of Vieques, Puerto Rico’s lesser-known archipelago, a sensational natural wonder is found. Featured in The Guiness Book of World Records as the “brightest bioluminescent bay in the world”, Mosquito Bay is filled with dinoflagellates, single-celled organisms which grow in quantities big enough to produce a “glow-in-the-dark” effect when stimulated by movement. With every splash, not only do these organisms themselves light up in a neon blue-green colour but so does everything they come into contact with, creating a star-like reflection to the water. For a simply glowing experience, explore the bay in a clear bottom kayak for the best view in the house!

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.