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7 Reasons to Make Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Your Home Base in Puerto Rico

by Kelly Magyarics

Apr 29, 2020

Photo: Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort

Travel Tips

When travel resumes, Puerto Rico is a quick and easy escape for families, especially those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting or renewing a passport or even changing currency. Though you might immediately think San Juan, consider heading a little farther east, where you’ll find El Yunque National Forest and the Caribbean’s largest marina housing catamarans to sail to snorkeling spots, less-visited islands and one of the world’s most impressive bioluminescent bays.


Catamaran trip to Icacos Photo: Kelly Magyarics


Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort is where you’ll want your family to stay in this vibrant Puerto Rican region, set on 500 acres along a mile-long section of beach adjacent to El Yunque. Among its features is a 7,000-square-foot casino; two world-class, 18-hole golf courses; a 7,000-square-foot spa and fitness center; multiple lounges and entertainment venues; international tennis center; water sports center; several beachfront pools; and 10 dining concepts.


Here are seven ways to get the most out of a vacation here:


Spread out in an ocean family suite.

These accommodations add space inside and out. The extended balcony boasts panoramic Atlantic Ocean, pool and resort views; inside you’ll find a bedroom with a king-sized bed, oversized bathroom, living room with sleeper sofa and bunk beds for the kids. The entire family will appreciate amenities, including complimentary WiFi; pillow-top beds with premium bedding; complimentary bottles of water; a 37-inch, flat-screen TV with premium cable channels; coffee and tea maker with Puerto Rican coffee; easy access, multiport electric outlets for all your devices; and a refrigerator.


Family Suite. Photo: Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort


Soak in the rays on the golden sand beach.

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar guests have exclusive access to a one-mile stretch of beachfront with soft sand, and a stay comes with the use of two beach chairs per day. Chair-side beverage and food service means your family doesn’t have to miss a bit of the fun (or the views). You can elevate the beach experience by renting a private cabana for a half or full day with included towel service, water and fruits, with a nominal charge for chips and soda.


Or spend the day poolside.

The resort’s three expansive lagoon pools and 20,000-square-foot sundeck means you won’t have to fight for a chair or space to spread out. The Quiet Pool is designed for guests of any age seeking tranquility, with lap lanes and a soothing waterfall. Kids and parents can zip down the water slide, wade in the kiddie pool, or soak in one of the two oversized whirlpool spas adjacent to each pool. Steps away, the pool at Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham offers a swim-up bar and daily afternoon mixology classes. On some evenings, screens are set up next to the pool for dive-in movies.


Wyndham Grand Rio Mar. Photo: Kelly Magyarics


Have lunch al fresco between the beach and the pool.

The view doesn’t get much better than at 5 O’Clock Somewhere, the Jimmy Buffett-inspired shack serving ice cold beer, rosé all day, burgers and salads and live music afternoons and evenings. If the catch of the day is grilled mahi mahi, your ordering decision will be easy as the fish is served well-seasoned and juicy. The namesake burger is topped with grilled ham, American cheese, an over-easy egg and mayo. Kids can select from a burger, grilled chicken, chicken tenders or quesadilla, each accompanied by fries or sweet potato fries. While you’re sipping an Uptown Top Shelf Margarita with gold tequila, Cointreau and a Grand Marnier float, order kids a zero-proof strawberry, raspberry, mango or banana daiquiri or piña colada. It’s an inviting spot to spend the afternoon.


Partake in activities aplenty.

From hair braiding and iguana feeding to bingo and bird walks, you won’t be bored at the resort. Take a kids’ cooking class or salsa dancing class or basic Spanish lesson, strengthen and tone with aqua aerobics, step out of the sun for an arts-and-crafts session or rock painting or try your hand at flying a kite. Love games? You’ll find Jenga, CanJam, basketball, book games, corn hole, Connect Four, ladder toss, water pong, perfect throw, trivia and tug of war. They also have pool, foosball and ping pong tables, bocce and a giant chess set.


Sample authentic Puerto Rican cuisine with a twist at Iguanas Cocina Puertorriqueña.

Mofongo at Iguanas. Photo: Kelly Magyarics

One of 10 dining concepts, this casual and fun spot overlooks a golf course and specializes in local dishes — often with an elevated, modern spin. Tuck into the appetizer sampler platter of sorullitos (cornmeal stick), alcapurrias (plantain fritter), pastelillos de chorizo (chorizo turnover), all served with mother sauce, dominated by yellow onions, green peppers, cilantro and cumin. Mofongo — fried, mashed plantains filled with different meats or seafood — is the island’s signature dish; Iguana serves it with a choice of garlic shrimp, vegetable stew, chicken creole or skirt steak. And the must-try chorizo cooked in red wine and agave is rich and savory. Save room for a dessert of creamy coconut flan topped with crunchy chocolate pearls and be sure to explore the thoughtful wine list of South American varietals and regions.


Take an outdoor excursion in a tropical rainforest.

The resort literally backs against El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. parks system. Your family will love the views rewarded after climbing the 98 steps of the Yokahu Tower (you can see St. John and St. Thomas on a clear day); snapping selfies and drinking pure spring water from La Coca Falls; taking a short, easy hike on the Angelito Trail; and ending with a dip in the cool waters of Las Damas pool in the Mameyes River. For more adventure, zip around the forest on an ATV or soar above the treetops on a zipline.

El Yunque Las Damas. Photo: Kelly Magyarics


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