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Puerto Rico: a Caribbean wedding favorite

Caribe Hilton San Juan

Planning an island wedding? Here are some essentials. Romantic, secluded beaches. Check. Refreshing Piña Coladas. Check. A little Puerto Rico charm. Check. The only thing missing are the U.S. passports — but don’t worry, you won’t need them during your Caribbean destination wedding. For decades, couples have been jetting off to Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico, where 17 acres of tropical beauty, a melting pot of culture and an array of venues and dining choices come together for the ultimate destination wedding.

A Caribbean weddings favorite

Whether you want to dip your toes into the sand or aspire to capture the perfect ocean backdrop, Caribe Hilton offers four oceanfront locations for breathtaking Caribbean vows. Featuring the area’s only private beach, this outdoor venue serves up barefoot ceremonies. Meanwhile, brides can don their Jimmy Choos at the latter location, which flaunts ocean views without the sand. These laid-back outdoor venues are also perfect for a tiki torch rehearsal dinner.

Caribe Hilton adds yet another stunning backdrop to weddings, Fortín de San Gerónimo del Boquerón, a 17th century fort that juts out into the Condado Lagoon. The hotel is nestled behind the fort’s stonewall, adding another photographic element to the bride and groom’s photo album. Intimate venues and elegant ballrooms provide elegant indoor retreats, perfect for a historic wedding reception. The 2,500 sq. ft. Las Olas Ballroom is a wedding favorite, pairing a second-floor ballroom with an intimate terrace that overlooks the beach and pool.

Executive Chef Mario Ferro works closely with brides and grooms to create custom menus for every couple. From cocktail stations to plated dinners, Caribe Hilton’s seasoned chef brings more than 30 years of culinary experience to the delight of wedding guests. But that’s not all Caribe Hilton brings to the menu. Drinks are the hotel’s forte, especially since the piña colada was born here. On Aug. 15, 1954, hotel bartender Ramon “Monchito” Marrero perfected his rum concoction, and in 1978, the piña colada was declared the official drink of Puerto Rico. So it’s no surprise you’ll find that the hotel has dedicated an entire lounge to the ever-popular piña colada. The newly renovated lobby Caribar is another favorite watering hole with its retractable wall that opens up to the hotel pool and Caribbean beach.

For a carefree wedding, consider the Intimate Wedding Package for celebrations of two to 30 people. This inclusive offer features a choice in venue along with wedding essentials, including bouquet, boutonniere, wedding cake and one hour of digital photography. But don’t let this package fool you — the hotel easily accommodates 500-guest weddings, along with bridal parties looking for a full-service spa experience.

Turn your wedding
into an island vacation

To create the ultimate destination wedding, the first thing you’ll want to do is familiarize yourself with Caribe Hilton. The hotel, which opened in 1949, was Hilton’s first hotel outside the continental United States, making Hilton the first international hotel company. Nestled between historic Old San Juan and the contemporary Condado area of San Juan, this AAA Four-Diamond beach resort is the perfect place to steal away — or venture off — depending on the mood.

The resort itself is a place of seclusion. Flaunting its own private beach and oceanfront swimming pools, family and friends can claim a cabana for themselves while enjoying breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. After a few hours of sunbathing, families can venture into the Caribe Hilton’s Tropical Garden, an exotic display of lush foliage, ornate flowers and two man-made ponds, complete with koi fish. Home to many animals, including turtles, ducks, roosters, peacocks and white and black swans, the gardens are another venue favorite for weddings.

After getting acclimated with the resort, weddings guests will want to get their island bearings. Old San Juan, a melting pot of Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, Taíno and Anglo influences, is just a few minutes away from the resort. Once the crown jewel of the Spanish Empire in the Americas, the walled city captures a bygone era with cobblestone streets, colonial architecture and imposing fortresses, along with the island’s best museums, restaurants and shops. Meanwhile, the nearby Condado area is perfect for travelers looking for a cosmopolitan vacation thanks to its trendy shops, zesty restaurants and swanky nightlife.

With 270 miles of beautiful Puerto Rico coastline to discover, family and friends can venture off to find more secluded beaches, some of which have been recognized as the best in the world. From world-class surfing to marine-life adventures, the water beckons. (Don’t forget to tack on a few days for your own honeymoon vacation.) While honeymooning, make sure to visit one of Puerto Rico’s three bioluminescent bays, rare natural wonders where ocean plankton react to disturbances in the water, creating a chemical response that illuminates the emerald green waters. A nighttime kayak ride (after a sunny day) will make you feel like you’re sailing over a bay filled with stars, creating an unparalleled romantic adventure.

For land lovers, Puerto Rico offers up 14 state forests, including El Yunque, the United States’ only sub-tropical rainforest, and the Guánica Dry Forest, a United Nations Biosphere Reserve. For an endorphin-filled day, zipline above the forest, rappel down into caves or scale Puerto Rico’s mountains.

After that oh-so special wedding day, a week of Puerto Rican adventure and years of happily-ever after, it’s no wonder the hotel frequently ushers back couples who return to Caribe Hilton to celebrate another important milestone — their most memorable anniversary.