For those who love golf, Dorado is pure gold, legendary for its exceptional courses. With over 35,000 inhabitants, it boasts five championship-standard golf courses that are an international draw. If you’re not interested in an amble down the fairways, several stunning local beaches offer a welcome break from the clubhouse banter. If you’re only interested in beaches, bypass Dorado for locales further west.
Founded in 1842, Dorado first became a resort town in the early 1900s when the Rockefeller family started building a Caribbean Shangri-la. The venture went public in 1958 when Laurence Rockefeller, the well-known philanthropist and conservationist, opened up the region’s first hotel, the Dorado Beach, a pioneering ecoresort where no building was taller than the surrounding palm trees. And though there have been some formidable resorts here over the years, today many golfers opt for time-shares and condo rentals, robbing the hotel scene of its once-ritzy image.
Away from the resorts, Dorado has a timeless public beach in town and an even prettier free option a few miles to the west at Cerro Gordo. Back in town, the original 19th-century settlement, with its teardrop-shaped lights rimming the main plaza, is a pleasant spot to while away a lazy afternoon.
El Dorado’s urban core is spread out, and the route between PR 22 and the coast is almost entirely developed. Rte 165 turns into Calle Méndez Vigo, the town’s central road.