The Copa Marina Resort, Puerto Rico | My Family Travels
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Our favorite vacation spot is the Copa Marina Resort (800/468-4553, 787/821-0505) on Puerto Rico’s Caribbean coast. I discovered it by word of mouth from a friend, and we got a discounted package deal with Liberty Travel. My son (now 11) and I loved it so much that we can’t wait to return. (We tried St. John for family camping one year, and missed Puerto Rico’s culture and the beauty of Copa Marina.)

The Copa Marina is quietly elegant without being fancy. The grounds are beautiful, landscaped with lush grass, Caribbean shrubs and tall palms that somehow weathered the devastating hurricane that hit several years ago. The rooms are beautiful and large enough for a family, with two double beds and a verandah. I understand there are now also three-bedroom villas with updated kitchens to rent.

I remember it being perfect with a younger child, because in addition to the one deep pool overlooking the water, there’s another large, freeform pool one that’s only about three feet deep and two wading pools. There’s also a nice playground for the afternoons. They do have babysitting, but I never used their service to go out at night.

The beach is okay, but for wonderful snorkeling and sailing all you have to do is take one of their small boats (you can rent one, take a boat tour, or do what we do — ask the old man on the dock to take you), and go out to a nearby beach on a mangrove island for the day. It’s just gorgeous. Copa Marina has a small but very helpful dive shop. From the staff and locals, we learned of excellent out of the way beaches with good off-shore snorkeling just down the road. There are tennis courts, and we’ve been hiking and also biking in the area.

The food in the restaurant is good, but a little pricey at dinner. Lunch around the pool is especially fun. We also found some wonderful food in nearby towns. Ponce, which has a very interesting museum and is an old town itself, is not too far. The nearer is La Parguera, a honky-tonk town which is a lot of fun at night because everyone comes there to see the bioluminescent bay sparkling.

Copa Marina is on the south coast a little away from it all; which is nice. It may be a poor area, but it’s very interesting and there is so much to learn about the Puerto Rican people and their distinct Latin culture. We rent a car in San Juan (about 2 1/2 hours away) to get there and drive across the island. I feel it’s safe and quiet, more so than in San Juan. There is a small airport nearby in Ponce, but one year we were delayed in New York and missed the one connecting flight from San Juan. We never got the money back for the San Juan to Ponce part of the trip.

One of my son Ryan’s favorite things is the assortment of beautiful parrots which live in cages hanging around the resort. They are very entertaining.

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