Nothing is more romantic when considering an elopement than leaving for an exotic location! For many people who wish to embrace the notion of a destination wedding rather than the local courthouse, traveling to the Caribbean is an excellent option. You and your partner may have a lovely wedding with ocean views by flying to a location like Puerto Rico, after which you can unwind on the gorgeous Caribbean beaches for your honeymoon.
As a wedding photographer, I've seen how elopements and small weddings have grown in popularity in Puerto Rico over the past five years. Today's couples are questioning traditions and what their financial priorities should be, which is both thrilling and chaotic. Puerto Rico is the ideal location for both destination and diaspora couples to tie the knot in a small ceremony. Where in Puerto Rico are the ideal locations for a nuptial? You'll get some inspiration from this blog article!
Puerto Rico presents itself as the ideal location for an elopement due to its accessibility, use of American currency, bilingual residents, elite wedding industry, and unequaled Caribbean beauty inside the United States.
What do you need
You must first get a marriage license from the Demographic Registrar's Office before having your wedding ceremony. You must present a legitimate government-issued picture ID, such as a passport or driver's license, in order to receive one. Additionally, the photo ID must be current; anything that has expired will not be accepted. Additionally, a copy of each applicant's birth certificate is required.
Both partners must submit to blood testing if either one or both are Puerto Rican. This is only essential for US citizens if your home state mandates it, though. Both parties must have a parent or guardian accompany them to the Demographic Registry Office if they are under the age of 21.
You must pay $150 to obtain a marriage license in Puerto Rico because you must include an IRS , it usually takes about three days to get your marriage license.
PLAYA PENA BEACH
Playa Pena Beach is a magnificent stretch of beach just beyond the gates of San Cristobal. The rush and activity of San Juan melts away as you go down the steps to the beach.
This undervalued beach is hardly visited by a few locals. The beach is long enough that you may easily choose a private spot for your wedding vows.
What I like best about the shoreline are the greenery and rock formations, especially towering palm palms. A stunning venue for not just the ceremony but also for excellent photographs.
If you are staying in San Juan (or Old San Juan) or visiting on a cruise ship, I prefer Playa Pena. It's convenient, lovely, and strategically placed.
My favorite location is a little walk down the beach, followed by a short jump over some small rock/coral formations. I strongly advise carrying a pair of durable sandals or shoes for navigating the rocks.
How to get there :
Directly across from the ornate Capitolio structure lies Playa Pea. When leaving Old San Juan, head east on Calle San Francisco until you reach the San Cristóbal fort. From there, head east on the walkway that follows Calle San Francisco. A small plaza will eventually be seen across from the Capitolio.
You'll know you've arrived when you see the statue of Saint John the Baptist in the plaza's middle. At the extreme eastern extremity of the plaza, there is a stairway that descends to the beach.
Photo: Theresa Boehl
2. ESCAMBRON BEACH
A little beach called Balneario El Escambron is a participant in the Blue Flag beach program and is located not far from Old San Juan. It is situated next to the Parque Sixto Escobar and the ancient Normandie Hotel in the Puerta.
Many of my couples like to have their wedding ceremony on the beautiful grassy area immediately above the ocean. The vistas are breathtaking, and you can still hear the sea below.Escambron is also conveniently located just minutes from Old San Juan, Miramar and Condado.
There are also several fortifications if you want your wedding ceremony to have a more historic/gothic feel. We can still snap photographs of the two of you with your toes on the sand after the ceremony.
The beach is lined by palm palms. By all accounts, this is a wonderful Caribbean beach.
And the beach offers facilities like restrooms! So Escambron is wonderful for larger groups and also a terrific site for a beach day following the wedding.
For gated parking, there is a $6 plus tax parking fee (cash only). From OSJ or Isla Verde, it is simple to catch the bus here.
7 days a week, 6:30 am to 5:30 pm, the beach is open.
West of the Normandie Hotel on Avenida Munoz Rivera is where you'll find Balneario Escambron.
3. EL MORRO
The crown treasure of Old San Juan. I used to take my kids to El Morro and let them run for hours on the gently sloping hills that surrounded the fort. However, I believe I am in breach of some rule because we have never flown a kite at El Morro (the fort's gardens are a graveyard filled with the carcasses of kites and kite line).
In any case, you have two possibilities for your wedding ceremony at the fort. Inside or right outside El Morro's walls.
Outside the walls is the considerably more convenient option. The constraints are less, and overall, planning all of the specifics is easier. I'll lead you through it, but here are the San Juan National Park Wedding Rules for your reference.
If you prefer to have the ceremony inside the fort, there are regulations regarding when you can set up, what you can put up, where you can set up, and it may be a pain.
4. SAN CRISTOBAL
The Castillo San Cristóbal, constructed between 1634 and 1765, has stood watch at Old San Juan's eastern entrance for centuries. The massive fortification was constructed as a counterbalance to Castillo San Felipe del Morro to protect the city against invaders coming by land.
The expansive esplanade is a wonderful location to wander about and take in the stunning vista of Old San Juan. Since 1983, the entire San Juan National Historic Site defense system has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Choose a location inside the fort, then exchange your vows there on the same stones where warriors have fought for ages to keep this island in the Caribbean free from attackers.
The regulations for holding a wedding are the same as those for El Morro, so don't stress about permits and paperwork.
Imagine a location as majestic and legendary as the "Isle of Enchantment" itself, tucked away only steps from famous sites and exciting nightlife. At Hotel El Convento, classic elegance and charm coexist with modern luxury and comfort. It was the first Small Luxury Hotel of the World member in Puerto Rico when it opened in 1646, and it is also the oldest Historic Hotels of America member!
You will have access to our Beach Club, workout facility, and pool , among other conveniences and perks.
We are an experts in Old San Juan, don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions :)
6.Hacienda Juanita .Maricao
Miles of pathways through Maricao's rainforest provide beautiful views of Puerto Rico's southwest coastal plains, as well as opportunities to see more than fourteen rivers, breath-taking waterfalls, and ponds.
Maricao, located at 2,500 feet above sea level, was formerly the center of the coffee hacienda industry and home to 234 of them. One of the greatest representations of Puerto Rico's 19th-century Golden Age of Coffee Production is Hacienda Juanita, the only historic hacienda focused on coffee that has been renovated into a Hotel Parador.
The architecture and environment at Hacienda Juanita make for some fantastic picture opportunities. The original structure of the coffee hacienda from the 19th century has been renovated, and it now houses lovely suites and a unique multipurpose activity center. Large families and groups of friends will appreciate the private patio offered by this entire wing of the house.
Use this simple advice when you don't have signal in your phone :
There may be some mountainous sections on your trip to Hacienda Juanita where your phone service won't work, especially if you're coming from the north. There is a simple fix. Simply download the necessary information to your device's Google Maps app for the region you will be visiting.
El Yunque Rainforest is one of the greatest options for elopement in Puerto Rico for couples who enjoy hiking and adventurous activities.
El Yunque has 24 miles of recreational paths and 18.8 km of roadways. Hiking is the sole permitted mode of transportation on these paths. All paths prohibit the use of horses, motorcycles, or mountain bikes. All dogs must be leashed. Despite the fact that there are now no paths that can handle wheelchair traffic, one with disabled access is planned for the near future.
El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System, and in Puerto Rican culture, it is a sacred location. Many people think that the term Yuke, which means "white soil" in Tahno, refers to the clouds that accumulate over the steep top of the forest. Others think that the word originates from Yucahu, the Taino god of fertility. Today, if you want to immerse yourself in nature, this national treasure is a great place to go. Here are some of the greatest sights and activities in El Yunque, including swimming in natural pools beneath waterfalls and admiring the breathtaking landscape from the area's many hiking paths.
Hiking to one of the natural pools to cool down with a dip is one of the most well-liked activities in El Yunque. The best method to cool down is to stroll down to one of the several ponds that are located along the La Coca path. El Angelito route offers pleasure in the shape of a rope swing, and a 4 km (2.5 mi) trip can culminate with a dip into the lagoon. The park offers a wide variety of extra possibilities for paths with various degrees of difficulty.
What could be a more fitting way to end your day trip to El Yunque than ziplining through lush, verdant forests? Check out Yunque Ziplining to find more about availability and costs.
Consider going on a horseback or ATV ride in the El Yunque foothills. The whole family may take equestrian and adrenaline-pumping trips of the region at Carabal Rainforest Adventure Park.
Most couples who are interested in having a wedding at El Yunque like backdrops with plenty of greenery, mountains, and waterfalls. Sadly, the majority of the picturesque locations in El Yunque that are easily accessible to couples dressed for a wedding are also conveniently accessible to tour buses and excursions from cruise ships. The roads and trails leading to the waterfalls become quite congested. The forest is available every day (except for Christmas) from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
You might get married in El Yunque by renting a home or an AirBnB. However, it makes sense to take into account other mountainous regions in Puerto Rico if you're open to it. The island's interior is incredibly beautiful and fascinating to explore.
Do a sunrise hike down to La Mina Waterfalls, at about 7:30 am. 1.5 hours before most tourists walked in.
Walk remedially slow, and *not* in the wedding attire so that no one would break a sweat. Everyone change into wedding clothes once you get to the falls.
Bring your ponchos or umbrellas and an extra pair of dry clothing because daily rain showers are to be expected with an average annual rainfall of 120 inches. Rainstorms are frequently short yet powerful. For some of the wetter paths, hiking boots are a need as well. The most essential thing to remember is to prepare ahead if your visit isn't a part of a guided tour because, once you're in the forest, most carriers' mobile and data connection is, at best, patchy.
Hire a photographer who would be very excited to captured every little moment, like us !
8.CULEBRA AND VIEQUES
The islands of Culebra and Vieques, sometimes referred to as the Spanish Virgin Islands, are Puerto Rico's best-kept secret. As an archipelago, Puerto Rico is home to numerous cays and islands. Culebra and Vieques are two of the most well-known neighboring islands. These two islands are worth the trip, and each is a top tourist attraction in its own right, whether you visit for a day trip or stay a while.
Culebra will provide you with the peace and quiet you want, in a spot that is genuinely unspoiled, whether you're looking to spend time in nature, visit many beaches, or simply unwind.
A tiny plane or boat may take you to Culebra, which is 20 miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico's Fajardo. There are six barrios on the roughly 10-square-mile island (districts). More than 20 cays that are teeming with marine life surround Culebra, giving it a paradise for both casual beachgoers and scuba divers.
The largest of the islands, Vieques, located six miles southeast of the Puerto Rican mainland and is frequently referred to as the Spanish Virgin Islands. Its reputation as Puerto Rico's smaller sister led the Puerto Rican poet Luis Llorens Torres to give it the nickname "la Isla Nena," or "Little Girl Island."
Vieques provides stunning views, unmatched beauty, uncharted areas, and relaxed encounters. The island benefits from a wonderful tropical marine environment with few temperature variations because to the trade winds that blow straight over it.
HOW TO GET THERE
You have two ways to go to each island. Flying is the fastest and easiest route, albeit being most expensive. Several times every day, small aircraft depart from San Juan. Per trip, tickets range from $60 to $90.
Taking the boat from the recently completed port in the town of Ceiba is an option to flying to Vieques and Culebra. Although it involves transportation to the ancient military base in the east coast town—about an hour and a half's drive from San Juan—this is far less expensive than flying.
Ana Maria Wedding Officiant and Planner : https://www.aisleplanner.com/inquiries/jenniferweddings/3bbf2cee-7e7b-45b8-84a1-e5622989eb60
Jennifer Decor and wedding planning: https://www.aisleplanner.com/inquiries/jenniferweddings/3bbf2cee-7e7b-45b8-84a1-e5622989eb60
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THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO RICO FOR YOUR GUESTS
Culebra Day Trip by Catamaran from Fajardo
El Yunque Rainforest Off the Beaten Path and Bio Bay Kayaking Combo Tour
San Juan Guided Snorkel Tour
From Fajardo: Icacos Deserted Island Catamaran & Picnic Cruise
Overnight Bio Bay Kayak Tour in Vieques Island
Bioluminescent Bay Kayak Trip from Vieques