7 Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home in Puerto Rico
With approximately 300 spectacular beaches, lush mountains, mouthwatering cuisine, a rich culture, and sunny year-round weather, Puerto Rico is a vacationer's dream. The Caribbean archipelago — Puerto Rico comprises more than a hundred small islets and cays — became a U.S. territory in 1917. Its main island is now divided into six distinct regions, each offering an array of unique experiences. Whether you decide to immerse yourself in the history of San Juan, enjoy the unspoiled beauty of its Central Mountains, or soak up the sun and sunset views along the coast, Puerto Rico's sights will leave you in awe. And second-home buyers are certainly taking notice.
"All of Puerto Rico is experiencing a boom, and the next five years promise to be an extremely exciting time to be invested in real estate [here]," said Brian Aronson, a broker with Clubhouse Real Estate, Luxury Portfolio International. "Buyers have a lot of options in vacation homes — not just in the Caribbean, but in warmer climates, and Puerto Rico has closed the gap with other desirable locations considerably over the years and can now compete with anywhere. There isn't enough construction taking place to satisfy demand, and so existing modern inventory is flying off the shelves."
So, if you're looking for a slice of tropical paradise to call your second home, Puerto Rico has you covered. Here, we rounded up the most in-demand real estate markets on the Isla del Encanto, according to brokers.
Only a half-hour drive west of San Juan, this small coastal town lives up to its name, which means "golden" in Spanish. Known as one of the most luxurious destinations on the main island and home to Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, it's a favorite among those looking to enjoy its stunning nature and gorgeous sandy beaches without sacrificing high-end amenities. Golf enthusiasts can practice their swing at the three Robert Trent Jones-designed golf courses, while families flock to the Watermill, an interactive water park resembling a traditional sugar mill.
"Dorado has seen [real estate] prices double in the last five quarters," said Aronson. The town's median listing home price in February 2022 was $1.1 million, according to data from Realtor.com, with available properties ranging from sprawling multimillion-dollar oceanfront mansions to condominiums.
With more than 500 years of history, San Juan is the oldest city on any U.S. territory. Puerto Rico's most populous urban area has something to offer every type of visitor. Its cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and countless historical landmarks will take you back in time, while its vibrant nightlife, luxury resorts, trendy restaurants, and shops cater to those with a modern lifestyle.
According to Aronson, the oceanfront neighborhoods of Ocean Park and Condado attract the most interest from second-home buyers, with Condado seeing a whopping 75% increase in sales since last year. Viejo San Juan is currently the most expensive area in the city, with a median listing home price of $2.2 million, according to Realtor.com.
Rincón is the ultimate beach lover's paradise. Home to some of the best surf breaks in the world, the town's laid-back vibe, small eateries and boutiques, and abundant surfing schools attract water sports enthusiasts from near and far. But there's plenty more to do here beyond a catch a wave. Snorkeling, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking, whale watching, fishing, or simply relaxing on the beach and enjoying Rincón's notoriously beautiful pink sunsets will certainly keep you entertained.
While home sales have increased more than 50% compared to last year, prospective second-home buyers can still find a large variety of properties. With a median listing home price of $425,000, according to Realtor.com, Rincón is one of the more affordable coastal towns in Puerto Rico.
Río Grande truly has it all. It's the gateway to the lush El Yunque rain forest, with its many waterfalls and panoramic vistas, but it also has plenty of powdery white-sand beaches for those craving some vitamin D. Río Grande is one of the most biodiverse areas in Puerto Rico and home to several luxury resorts with award-winning golf courses, swimming pools, and restaurants that are transforming the area into one of the most sought-after vacation destinations on the island.
If your dream vacation consists of quiet, idyllic beaches far from the hustle and bustle of popular, crowded resorts, then Culebra is the place for you. This small island in the Puerto Rican archipelago is a quick and scenic 45-minute ferry ride east of the main island, and it rewards visitors with unspoiled beauty and rich marine life. In fact, snorkeling and diving here are a must as the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge features vibrant coral reefs, lagoons, and seagrass beds where you can frequently spot sea turtles, manta rays, and various types of colorful fish. With its turquoise waters, Flamenco Beach along the north side of Culebra is regularly ranked as one of the best in the world.
Whether you're looking for a one-bedroom condominium with resort-style amenities in a gated community or are in the market for a stand-alone villa with stunning ocean views, Culebra's real estate market has something to offer every buyer.
Palmas del Mar
This gated resort community in the southeast has sharply risen in popularity in recent years, especially with remote workers and those employed in the crypto industry — and it's easy to see why. Palmas del Mar, the largest master-planned community in Puerto Rico, sits on more than six dreamy acres of sea frontage and has two 18-hole golf courses, a marina, and an equestrian club.
"Palmas del Mar — the biggest residential and tourist community on our enchanted island — has the largest tennis court center in the entire Caribbean," said Keyshla Y. Bracero Ballester, head of Luxe, Luxury Portfolio International.
The excellent academic facilities, vibrant nightlife, many restaurants, and more than two dozen neighborhoods deliver an elevated lifestyle against the ultimate tropical backdrop.
Vieques is a stunning island located seven miles off the east coast of the main island of Puerto Rico. Visitors flock here to witness one of Mother Nature's most awe-inspiring phenomena — namely, Mosquito Bay, one of the brightest bioluminescent bays in the world. Home to the largest and most biodiverse national wildlife refuges in the Caribbean, La Isla Nena, as it's also known, is heaven for nature lovers. Native plants, rare birds, and marine mammals that include dolphins, orcas, and humpback whales reside on and around the lush island, making it the perfect place to enjoy whale watching. Visitors can also hike along the many trails, exploring all the hidden corners and beautiful spots of Vieques.