Casinos are one of the biggest draws for travelers to Puerto Rico, but if you want to test Lady Luck, you'll have to visit a hotel to do so. All casinos on the island are located in hotels by Puerto Rican law... which means that, in addition to losing .. er, enjoying a variety of table games, slots and card games, you have access to other amenities and perks, like great restaurants, beach access and more. Here's the full list (for now) of Puerto Rico's casino hotels, plus a little inside info on some of my favorite destinations.
Photo © El San Juan Hotel
I didn't want to reinvent the wheel here, so I'm starting this list with my top choices for San Juan. And if I had to pick my #1 choice, it would have to be the El San Juan Hotel & Casino
. The casino here, annexed to the über-cool and retro-funky lobby lounge, is a lively, fun and entertaining place where there is often live music, all the major games, and the benefit of outstanding restaurants and nightlife just steps away.
The closest hotel to San Juan's major airport, the Embassy Suites is good value, and is close, if not right on, the beach (just a few blocks away from Isla Verde Beach, actually). I wasn't crazy about the casino, to be honest; it was small and not very exciting the few times I visited, and with the afore-mentioned El San Juan a short distance away, I don't know why you'd go out of your way to be here. If you're a guest, of course, it's a nice perk.
While the Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
in Condado gets most of the hype, its sister property in Isla Verde deserves its due. Located on a lovely stretch of Isla Verde Beach, it's a pleasant property, and it's 14,000 square-foot Casino del Sol stays open 24/7.
While it doesn't have the charm of some of the other hotels on the Isla Verde strip (for my money, at least), the Intercontinental does have spacious accommodations, a lovely pool and beachfront access to go with its casino.
The Radisson has a great location in the heart of Condado. It wouldn't be my top choice of accommodations (for the price, I can think of better options), but the casino is large and has over 400 slots, as well as all the table games you'd want.
Photo © Wyndham Rio Mar
No casino brings you closer to the magnificent El Yunque Rainforest than this one; the Rio Mar Beach Resort is a sprawling property that includes an expansive stretch of Atlantic beachfront, a large and bustling casino, a lovely free-form pool and two terrific golf courses. For the money, this place gives you a lot.
Photo © Ponce Hilton
Casinos are nowhere near as ubiquitous once you leave San Juan, and there are relatively few to be found in the south. So it's a good thing the casino at the Ponce Hilton is one of the larger ones in Puerto Rico. Coupled with its golf course, Caribbean beachfront and proximity to the lovely city of Ponce (and reasonable rates to boot), it's a can't-miss choice for those looking for a resort experience in this part of the island.
Located near Mercedita Airport, this budget-friendly has a smallish casino (10 tables, 346 machines) that still makes it one of the best bets (pun intended) for gamblers in Ponce. Overlooking a hill, the hotel isn't on the beach but close to the Caribbean coastline and all the wonders of Puerto Rico's second city.
This basic hotel in Humacao includes a small casino, but also includes easy access to the Palmas del Mar resort, which includes two 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, and equestrian center.
Courtyard by Marriott AguadillaYou won't find too many casino hotels on the west coast of the island, so the Courtyard at Aguadilla is a popular option for anyone who wants to try their luck beyond the waves at Crash Boat beach. Golf, tennis, and the beach are also nearby.