Inn owners ready for spring break, Easter

By John McPhaul

The members of the Puerto Rico Country Inn Owners and Tourism Association announced that they are ready to welcome the thousands of families who frequently stay in their hostels -- known as “paradores” in Spanish -- over spring break and Easter.

“This year is very special for everyone, and the period of spring break and Easter runs from Friday, March 26 to Sunday, April 11. We know that many schools and municipalities will be giving days off during Holy Week and the following week,” said Jesús Ramos, president of the association and owner of the Parador Villas Sotomayor in Adjuntas. “Since January we have observed a sustained interest in the hostels, and we have prepared our facilities to provide the quality that distinguishes us, with the best hygiene and health systems for our guests.”

Xavier Ramírez, leader of the association’s marketing committee and general manager of the Combate Beach Resort in Cabo Rojo, said the rate of reservations for those 17 days is much faster than in 2019, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He noted that they still have rooms left and that many Puerto Rican and foreign families are looking for accommodations that follow safety protocols to vacation in Puerto Rico.

“During the past eight weeks, many reservations have been received from residents of the United States, including Puerto Ricans from the diaspora, which is a very positive sign for the tourism sector, and we recommend reserving now for the months of May to July,” Ramírez said.

The association said it has prepared various packages and offers to accommodate the diverse needs of visitors. For example, the Paradores Combate Beach Resort and Villas Sotomayor have a special offer from Sunday to Thursday: “Stay three nights and the fourth is free,” which represents a 25 percent discount.

Several inns offer all-inclusive packages. Among the paradores with offers that include food, are El Buen Café, Guánica 1929, Maunacaribe, Palmas de Lucia and Villas Sotomayor.

Ángel Rodríguez, co-owner of the Parador Boquemar in the barrio of Boquerón in Cabo Rojo, recommended that at the time of booking, prospective guests should ask about the amenities of the parador, the value-added packages and nearby restaurants, as well as health and safety protocols.

“Our rates include free parking and the use of WIFI, a lower price from Sunday to Thursday, and some paradors include the American breakfast as part of their rate,” Rodríguez said.

Claire Ruiz, general manager of the Parador El Faro in Aguadilla, emphasized that in this pandemic year it is much more important that the public plan their vacations in advance, and ensure their space in a hostel certified by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

Several studies indicate that, in the era of COVID-19, tourists are more aware of their health and look for cozy accommodation, with rigorous hygiene and security regimens. The paradores are certified and inspected twice a year by the Tourism Company, and at least once a year by the Health and Fire departments. This ensures that they have the staff and quality, hygiene and safety systems to serve their guests, and their family, during their stay and will be present to support guests in case of an emergency.

The Paradores de Puerto Rico program consists of 12 high-quality guesthouses, located in places of recognized tourist interest on the island. More information on the program can be found on its Facebook page.

“We have been promoting local culture, history, music and gastronomy for 47 years, along with Puerto Rican hospitality,” Ramos said. “We are Puerto Rican families, serving other families from throughout the world.”

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