What to Pack Series

What to Pack: Puerto Rico

Posted by Bee Shapiro on June 10, 2013 at 11:39:06 AM EDT | Post a Comment

Puerto Rico...a Caribbean isle that's also, conveniently, a US territory. It's got sun to spare, beaches aplenty, old world charm, and thrilling adventures. And you don't even need a passport to get there. Whether you're sticking to San Juan or hopping to beautiful Vieques, here's what you should have in your carry-on.

Women

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Condado Beach-ing

Spend the day in the Condado district in flashy but chic beachwear, like this blue snakeprint one-piece with cut-out sides and gold metallic flip-flops ($52.50. To grab a bite, throw on a pair of high-rise denim shorts with crochet trim and a trendy crop top, like this one with pretty embroidery ($68), and maybe add a turquoise bloom bracelet as a colorful accent ($30). For a few different looks, bring a cropped soft cami in bright cobalt ($30) and a green and turquoise tunic dress ($177), which will take you right into the evening. Lastly, tote everything around in this indigo and slate travel bag ($255); it's just the right size to carry on the plane.

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Old San Juan Nights

On balmy islands, bright colors and crisp whites are your best (and chicest) bets, like this cocktail frock in banana yellow ($61), embellished white skirt with pom-pom trim ($124), and a white sequined tank ($59). For accessories, highlight your well-earned tan with a sunny folio clutch ($375) or reflective pieces like these iridescent sandals ($49.90) and sterling silver hoops with bamboo motif ($59). A few coral touches like these Joie elastic-waist pants ($108) and coral nail polish, aptly named "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" ($16), round things out.

Men

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Island Fare

If you're bound for Vieques, be sure to explore Blue Beach, a gorgeous and empty stretch where the only noises you'll hear are those of nature. Be sure to bring sunscreen (Turo makes a good water-resistant one, $35), shades like these gold and black aviators ($120), and classic flip flops, like these by Havaianas ($24). For beachwear, try these green and gray board shorts in an abstract tiger print ($54.99) paired with a green crewneck tee ($9.99). Dress for après beach, in this ikat stripe tee in a deep sea blue with khakis, or a white tee with indigo-colored Bermuda shorts featuring a printed waistband ($59.90).

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Nights on Culebra

Dress for dinner at the swanky El Quenepo in a cotton polo in a muted red ($42.50) with gray organic cotton chinos ($240). This is vacation after all, so take it easy with comfortable footwear like a pair of Chuck Taylors by John Varvatos with an edgy double zip ($140). A short sleeve button-down, here in tie-dye sky blue, is a cool and versatile option ($55). Or pair a long-sleeve burnout henley ($168) with a pair of sun-faded chinos ($75).

Where to Stay

Old San Juan has much to do by way of restaurants and late-night activities, but you'll have to travel to the beach. That said, it's an easy starting point and has loads of hotels to choose from. For families, head to the Ciqala Suites, where studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom accommodations are available. If classic elegance (and a prime locale) is your thing, it is tough to top the Hotel El Convento, which offers beach access through its sister properties. For a quirkier experience, the Gallery Inn offers a funky vibe, situated atop the old city's North Wall.

In Vieques, the options are limited. You can splurge on the pricey yet always stylish and plush W Vieques, where you'll indulge in beachside service, a bustling cocktail hour, and tennis courts. The Bravo Beach hotel, a family-run joint, is far simpler, but has a nice ocean view and a short walk into town (Isabel Segunda).

Photo credits: Women Day: Courtesy of BaubleBar Inc; UrbanOutfitters.com; theOutnet.com; Conifer; Ace & Jig; Top Shop/Top Man Limited (Trading as Topshop); Eminent, Inc; BOP LLC. Women Night: Courtesy of Amazon.com, Inc; ZARA; Lord & Taylor; Eminent, Inc; macys.com; Dutch, LLC ("JOIE"); BOP LLC; Ava+Aliria Boutique. Men Day: ZARA; Target Brands, Inc; Zappos.com; Neiman Marcus; Tilly's; Renuskin LLC; J.Crew. Men Night: John Varvatos; Mr Porter; J.Crew; John Varvatos; Top Shop/Top Man Limited (Trading as Topshop); Brave GentleMan.

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