Palomino Island (Isla Palominos) is a tiny tropical escape boasting clear Caribbean water, white-sand beaches, and a balmy breeze. With not much to do except explore the island’s coral reefs, seagrass beds, and craggy coastline, visitors come to Palomino Island—located east of Puerto Rico—for the ultimate in peace and relaxation.
Palomino Island is exclusively for guests of El Conquistador, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. You must be a registered guest of the resort to access the island, which, despite being less than 1 mile (1.2 kilometers) long and 1,722 feet (525 meters) wide, is the largest of three private islands near Puerto Rico. Spend the day lounging under palm trees, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, horseback riding along the island’s wilderness trails, getting a massage on the beach, or simply watching the wandering iguanas.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Beach chairs are available for guests’ use.
- You can rent water sports equipment for an hourly fee.
- Iguana’s Café serves a selection of Caribbean dishes and cocktails.
- The ferry to the island and El Conquistador are accessible to wheelchair users.
Palomino Island is east of Puerto Rico and accessible via an 8-minute ferry ride from the San Juan harbor. Although it is a private island for El Conquistador guests, local water taxis also travel to Palomino, dropping off passengers at the beach next to El Conquistador.When to Get There
The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-April to June in order to avoid the crush of the winter crowds as well as the rainy season. The most affordable time to go, though, is during the fall—but this is also hurricane season and can prove risky, so you may want to consider investing in travelers’ insurance then.Bioluminescent Bay
Thanks to microscopic plankton that thrive in the shallow Caribbean waters, bioluminescent bays glow fluorescent at night. Right next to the El Conquistador resort, Fajardo (one of three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico) is a popular destination for sunset kayak tours, which travel through mangrove trees into the magical glowing waters.