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Hitting the Beaches

If you take this later route, you'll want to detour down Rte. 870 in the Palo Seco area of Toa Alta. This narrow road runs through the middle of a narrow peninsula famous for the restaurants serving seafood and Puerto Rican cuisine running along it. At the end of the road is the Parque Nacional Isla de Cabra (Rte. 870, Toa Baja; tel. 787/384-0542; Wed-Sun and holidays 8:30am-5pm; parking $3), a fascinating spit of land at the mouth of San Juan Bay that has an incredible view of the Old City. The water here is not great for swimming, but there are play areas and green picnic areas with great views. There are also small restaurants and bars, everywhere a great coastal view and the whole area with great breezes. The area was a former leper colony built by the Spanish and then was a shooting range and training area for many decades for the police. There is a small fort within the park called El Cañuelo that was built to protect the entrance of the Bayamón River and back up the much larger El Morro across the bay, by providing crossfire to invading ships. This is a favorite picnic area for Sundays and a good spot to ride a bike or fly a kite.

There are also a few fine bathing beaches along this route before getting to Dorado. The best is probably Cerro Gordo public beach (Rte. 690, Vega Alta; tel. 787/883-2730), along with the Manuel "Nolo" Morales public beach along Dorado's "Costa del Oro," or "Gold Coast" (tel. 787/796-2830). Both charge $3 per car parking fee and keep the same hours as other public beaches and parks, Wednesday through Sunday and holidays, 8:30am to 5pm.

World-Class Golf at the Former Hyatt Dorado

The Hyatt Dorado Beach and Hyatt Cerromar hotels closed in 2006, but their world-class golf courses have remained open. The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach Hotel took over the site of the old Hyatt Dorado Beach in 2012. The resort’s existing amenities are among the finest within any Caribbean resort destination: 3 miles of beaches; 72 holes of Robert Trent Jones, Sr. golf courses; 11 miles of Rockefeller nature trails; the Watermill water park; the Dorado Beach Fitness, Wellness, and Tennis Center; and Zafra (in the golf clubhouse) and West Beach dining venues. Additional amenities are at the Dorado Beach, A Ritz Reserve—Wind and Waves Center; Ambassadors of the Environment program from Jean Michel Cousteau; Spa Botanico; West Beach Club, and dining venues by Jose Andrés. If golf is your game, Dorado Beach Resort has you covered.

The courses, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., match the finest anywhere. The two original courses, known as East and West, were carved out of a jungle and offer tight fairways bordered by trees and forests, with many ocean holes. The East Course was recently renovated by the designer’s son, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The Sugarcane and Pineapple (Top 50 in Caribbean) courses feature wide fairways with well-bunkered greens and an assortment of water traps and tricky wind factors. Each is a par-72 course. The longest course is 7,047 yards. On the Pineapple and Sugarcane courses, regular greens fees are $150, and on the East course it is $250. After 3pm, prices plunge to $60 and $100, respectively. The East course requires a caddy which costs $80. The West course remains closed for renovations with no reopening in sight. Courses are open daily from 7am until dusk. Golf carts are included.

 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.