We feel that Puerto Rico overall needs more love.
A small island in the Caribbean, you may know Puerto Rico to be the recent controversy when they went into default on US government-backed loans and had to file for bankruptcy. Luckily the US decided to restructure their debt and assist them in paying the debt off in a more efficient and timely manner, allowing Puerto Rico a chance to save themselves.
Puerto Rico has gone through some rough patches, culturally, politically, even agriculturally. As a commonwealth of the U.S., you do see some American influence here, with tourism growing every year on this popular Caribbean destination.
However, what people don’t know is that Puerto Rico is a great place to visit, cheap to get to, and very affordable to get around and eat some amazing Taino and African-inspired food fare. People love to dance to salsa and bachata, feast their eyes on the exotic animals the island is home to, see amazing beaches and enjoy the beauty of nature. Best of all, you don’t need a passport.
Let’s look at the some of the best things Puerto Rico has to offer:
Known as the “South Beach of the Caribbean”, San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and the center of all Puerto Rican government, business, and where the best Universities are at on the island. Here, you can also see El Morro, the infamous castle that protected Puerto Rico from oncoming naval threats. Read more about San Juan here.
El Yunque is the only natural rainforest within the US Ecosystem, and spans across most of the Northeastern part of the island. Home to thousands of exotic species, and can be traversed among many miles of trails. Activities such as cave exploring, snorkeling and Bio Bay discovery are among some of the many things that can be done at El Yunque. Check out this website for more info.
Just about 35 minutes west of San Juan, Arecibo houses the “Arecibo Observatory”, which is captured in a famous scene in James Bond’s GoldenEye, a must-see on the island. There is also some amazing restaurants, beautiful waterfalls hidden in the countryside, and much more. Quite a bit of history is housed in this seemingly random city.
Located in the Southern part of Puerto Rico, Ponce was named after the famous Juan Ponce de Leon visited the area in 1508. It is now the municipal arm of the government housed in this city. Ponce was once the largest city in Puerto Rico, and during the Spanish-American War, had the best road from Ponce to San Juan to ship military items, food and water, back-and-forth from the American base.
Up in the Northwestern corner of the island, you can find yourself on a beautiful coastal drive down the side of the island and pass these two beautiful cities. Known for the elite sport scene, and housing the Pan American games every 4 years, this is the place to be if you are a sports lover. The port in Aguadilla is also most preferred and famous, making it easy for ships to dock and come from places with the likes of Havana, Cuba and beyond. You can find 19 beaches in Aguadilla, the most out of any city on the island.
La Isla Culebra
Known for the absolute best beaches in San Juan, Culebra is located 17 miles east of the mainland and can be reached by ship or plane. Some people believe that Christopher Columbus was the first European to arrive here in 1493. It is also believed the Carib Indians were the first to live on the island during colonization. The oldest lighthouse in the Caribbean, the Culebrita Lighthouse, lives on this island as well. Culebra houses the oldest bird sanctuary in the Carribean, and one of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Rico, Flamenco Beach.
If you’re ready to book a trip to Puerto Rico, make sure to check them out off-season, typically September-January time period, when the weather is still beautiful. Enjoy the beauty and the history this island has and the contribution to world history it has provided.