San Juan ideal for bridal partying

The pool area of the InterContinental San Juan. The 397-room property is located on Isla Verde.
The pool area of the InterContinental San Juan. The 397-room property is located on Isla Verde.

A successful bachelorette party needs a few key ingredients: warm weather, strong drinks, lazy days and late nights, all ideally without breaking the bank. For girlfriends looking to get away to celebrate the bride-to-be's last stretch of singlehood, look no further than San Juan.

The city packs a punch for partiers, culture vultures, history buffs, sun worshippers and foodies, all without needing a passport.

Check into the InterContinental San Juan, which sits on a two-mile stretch of white, sandy beach. The hotel has 397 guestrooms with 21 suites that have been recently renovated. The resort also has six restaurants, including a remodeled indoor/outdoor lobby bar and La Bodeguita Cafe & Wine Bar.

There is also an on-site spa, which can personalize any experience, especially for bachelorette parties looking for pampering. The hotel's location on Isla Verde means ladies can lounge by day at the guests-only beach area and transition easily into night- owl mode to hit the streets of San Juan.

At night, head over to Oceano, a sleek and sexy restaurant located in the chic Condado neighborhood. The multistory restaurant space has open-air dining overlooking the ocean, a deck bar and a trendy lounge space where DJs spin into the early hours.

The menu twists traditional Puerto Rican classics into Instagrammable haute cuisine, with a heavy accent on seafood. Consider the fresh grouper ceviche with pickled onions, mango and cilantro or the fresh diver scallops with a brown-butter lemon caper sauce. The shrimp mofongo is also another home run. There is a lengthy wine list and a menu of flirty cocktails. The one to beat is the Nolita, a concoction of Belvedere vodka, St. Germain, cucumber juice, mint, honey, lime juice and pineapple.

After dinner, take a quick taxi ride into Old San Juan, which becomes electric after dark. By day, it's a wonderful destination to explore, as well, with cobblestone streets, boutique shopping, pastel-colored buildings and cliffside ocean views, but it's at night when this section of the city sings. Consider a visit to La Factoria, a speakeasy-style cocktail bar with secret back rooms, eye-popping art and an extensive, variety-filled playlist.

If dancing is more your style, it has to be salsa in Old San Juan, and it has to be at Nuyorican Cafe. This restaurant by day, club by night is known for its late-night salsa and sometimes features some of the best salsa dancers in Puerto Rico. For the under-30 crowd, consider La Rumba, a club with live bands, salsa and jazz. And if your goal is to see and be seen, it has to be Club Brava & Ultra Lounge, which has a central dance floor, a balcony overlooking the action and a roster of DJs who spin everything from Top 40 to hip-hop. For a special bachelorette party experience, Club Brava has a VIP bottle and table service.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI