Rosario Dawson's bond with Puerto Rico will make you want to pack your bags and see it for yourself.
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When it comes to planning a vacation to Puerto Rico, travelers may be overwhelmed by a long packing list or a classic case of culture shock, but Rosario Dawson guarantees it’s a simple getaway that will leave a lasting impression.

“We have this idea of different cultures being super exotic, but one of the things that’s so remarkable about going to a place like Puerto Rico is you don’t need a passport to go there, they speak English there, they speak Spanish there, they speak multiple languages there, and you can have an experience that impacts your entire life for years to come,” she told Travel + Leisure.

Rosario Dawson in Puerto Rico
Credit: Courtesy of Hilton

The actress, who was born in Brooklyn but frequently visited Puerto Rico as her grandmother was from there, is partnering with Hilton’s “Carry On Puerto Rico” campaign to inspire travelers from all over the world to head to the tropical vacation destination. Dawson touted the island’s "magical realness" — and casually reminded us it's the birthplace of the piña colada.

“You just feel a connection,” she said of the island. “It’s not just like a vacation place or some place that I’ve stayed, I’ve actually found that going there has gotten me within a deeper peace within myself and within my relationships.”

Rosario Dawson, Puerto Rico
Credit: Courtesy of Hilton

Dawson — whose Puerto Rico memories include bonding with her mom and grandmother and learning the hard way that the sun is way stronger down there than it is on Coney Island — said Puerto Rico is the perfect place to unwind.

“You definitely feel recharged when you go there, but there’s some of it that comes back with you, that kind of maintains that level of peace that you feel ripple through your life even after you leave.”

Hilton has a major presence on the island, with eight hotels to choose from including their newly renovated Caribe Hilton and Embassy Suites by Hilton San Juan Hotel & Casino. The renowned hospitality brand is celebrating 70 years of being in Puerto Rico.

And because Dawson is teaming up with Hilton to show travelers that Puerto Rico is a feasible vacation destination — even with just a carry-on — the actress shared her must-have product for a trip to the island: a hydrating face mist.

“I think that’s just key … It’s a humid place, but if you have a nice cool spray [you] can keep your skin just happily hydrated and just smelling good and feeling good,” she said, adding she doesn’t travel without essential oils. “I just think that’s really critical to have the aromatherapy and the moisture when it’s really dry on flights and you’re breathing everybody else’s air. I travel everywhere with it.”

But from a zip lining excursion and swimming in the bioluminescent bays to her personal favorite, listening to the cricket-sounding native frogs, called coquí, Dawson says there’s something in Puerto Rico for everyone.

“I’ve talked to people about all kinds of experiences just walking the city streets, going to the beach, doing a tour or [enjoying] the beautiful nightlife and the dancing — oh my god, the dancing — whatever it is, it just gets you connected to the nature around you,” she said. “It’s an important touchstone that all of us need in our lives to remind ourselves that we’re not our jobs, we’re not robots, we can live in our body and live in our hearts in a way that reminds us to connect with each other and to connect with ourselves.”