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Isla Verde Beach

San Juan , Puerto Rico

What to Expect: Not one but two deep, curved pale-pink-sand beaches, each a mile-and-a-half long, make up Isla Verde. Both have gentle waves and are hugely popular with families, but the easterly option is a Blue Flag beach under strict environmental regulations; on weekends, Blue Flag officials set up a booth and talk with children about the environment. Stake your space early if you want to secure one of the beach’s 50 popular hexagon-shaped picnic shelters.

What to Do: Book an outdoor four-poster bed draped with gauzy netting at the Café La Plage at the Beach House Hotel, and order a lemony salpicon de mariscos (ceviche made with scallops, shrimp, lobster, and mussels). After dark, the café runs European and Latin American films such as Motorcycle Diaries, Y Tu Mamá También, and Volver on the big beachside white wall above the bar. Be sure to reserve your bed ahead of time to ensure extra-comfortable viewing.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

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