It’s not all chilling out. Soon after the relaunch, Dorado Beach hosted a celebration of the island’s rebirth with distinguished guests, including Questlove, The Roots’ front man and drummer, and Leslie Odom Jr. of the original Broadway cast of Hamilton
. In January, more stars arrived to support the month-long run of that beloved musical and to draw attention to Puerto Rico’s role as an arts and culture destination.
“Helicopters, motorcades, great seats … the Hamilton
phenomenon showed that Dorado Beach is back not just as a five-star hotel but as a player on a world stage – one that could handle anything,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Victoria Boomgarden.
The spirit of a new day is palpable on the island, and the work to rebuild communities and restore natural areas continues with visitors eager to be a part of the effort. The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort partners with the Soul of Bahia Foundation to facilitate volunteer activities that benefit the environment and local communities.
You can spend the day as a manatee caretaker in the marine biology laboratory of the Manatee Conservation Center, join the resort’s Green Team for a two-hour coastal beach cleanup, or help restore trails in El Yunque National Forest. Animal lovers can bathe, play with, and walk rescue animals, or be on hand to protect vulnerable leatherback turtles when they hatch.
It’s more than work. Pitching in alongside Puerto Ricans opens up visitors’ world. “The warmth of the people and the stories they tell of rebuilding their communities, homes, and families are compelling,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Anne Scully.
Another way to help move Puerto Rico forward is to enjoy it. The list of things to do is long: Tour a rum factory or a coffee plantation, wander the historic towns of Old San Juan and San Germán, explore caves and old forts. Schedule a musical moment, perhaps the Festival of Puerto Rican Music, a celebration of traditional plena and bomba drum music that takes place in November.
And when you are ready for an adrenalin rush, do as Haas does: Hit the monster zip line at Toro Verde. “It’s the longest in the Americas, at 1.5 miles, and you travel at up to 90 miles per hour,” he says. “It’s a blast.”