Guide to Puerto Rico

November 21st 2023 in Explore
Guide to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico boasts an abundance of natural beauty just waiting to be discovered. From the diverse El Yunque National Forest to one of the world's brightest bioluminescent bays, the island is brimming with magical experiences. You can relax on the stunning beaches or explore one of Puerto Rico's 36 nature reserves, 19 state forests, or five wildlife refuges. The ever-changing landscape and breathtaking views will inspire you. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, there are plenty of activities, such as zip lining, rock climbing, rappelling, snorkelling, and scuba diving. And if you're looking for authentic experiences, local markets, art museums, and concerts by local musicians can be enjoyed. Make sure you visit everything, from the charming colonial city of Old San Juan to the mountains and the stunning islands of Vieques and Culebra.

Natural Marvels

This tropical paradise is a natural wonderland filled with numerous awe-inspiring attractions. Puerto Rico has everything from the vast coastline of almost 300 sandy beaches to the intricate maze-like caves to the bioluminescent pools. The island is home to three of the five bioluminescent bays in the world - Laguna Grande in Fajardo, Mosquito Bay on Vieques, and La Parguera in Lajas. These bays are breathtaking at night, filled with millions of single-celled organisms that light up the water like shining stars. Visitors can also explore several caves, including the world-famous Cañón de Tanamá in Utuado, where they can wander through a network of caverns, canyons, and tunnels amidst limestone cliffs.

Adventures by Land and Sea

Puerto Rico offers many activities that cater to the interests of tourists, both on land and sea. El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System, is a must-see for nature enthusiasts. While hiking through the forest's trails, visitors can witness a diverse range of plant and animal species, some exclusive to this area. Additionally, the forest boasts ancient petroglyphs, adding a historical element to the experience.

Architecture aficionados can explore the many centuries-old buildings in Puerto Rico, including forts and museums of great historical significance. For those seeking aquatic adventures, the island offers a variety of water-based activities such as swimming, surfing, rafting, tubing, and kayaking in both ocean and river waters.

Dining Gems

If you're looking for an adventure, Puerto Rico is an excellent destination, but it's not just the island's natural beauty that's captivating. The culinary scene is equally exciting, with over 4,000 restaurants to choose from, representing every type of cuisine. Whether you're a foodie or enjoy good food, you will find something that tickles your taste buds.

Some of the most popular local specialities include tostones, crispy fried plantains, pastelillos, beef-stuffed fried pastries, and mofongo, mashed green plantains usually served with meat or seafood. The island also boasts an abundance of fresh seafood to enjoy various dishes made with fish, shrimp, and lobster.

To quench your thirst, try the famous piña colada cocktail, made with pineapple, coconut cream, and rum, giving it a creamy and tropical flavour. Medalla, a local favourite lager, is also worth trying. Still, if you're in the mood for something more potent, you can sample rum-based cocktails made with locally produced Bacardi, Don Q, and other rums.

From high-end dining to street food, the island offers various dining options to suit every taste and budget. So whether you're looking for a romantic dinner for two or a quick bite to eat on the go, you're sure to find a restaurant that meets your needs.

The Basics

Puerto Rico is a beautiful and vibrant archipelago in the northeastern Caribbean Sea. It comprises one main island and several smaller islands, including Vieques, Culebra, and Mona Island. The islands were first claimed by Christopher Columbus in 1493. They later became a Spanish colony for over 400 years until they were ceded to the United States in 1898 after the Spanish-American War.

Today, Puerto Rico has a unique relationship with the United States, being a commonwealth with its government but still having close ties to the US. The island's diverse culture blends Taino, Spanish, and African influences, evident in the architecture, music, dance, and food. The Spanish colonial architecture is awe-inspiring, with many historic buildings dating back to the 16th century, such as Old San Juan's fortifications, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Although Spanish is the official language, English is widely spoken, making it easy for visitors to communicate. The official currency is the US dollar, and the island has a well-developed infrastructure, making it easy to travel around and explore its many attractions.

From the lush tropical rainforests of El Yunque to the stunning beaches of Isla Verde and Flamenco, there's something for everyone in Puerto Rico. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and surfing, as well as sampling the island's delicious cuisine, including mofongo, arroz con gandules, and lechón asado.

Overall, visiting Puerto Rico is like entering a world of rich history, colourful culture, and natural beauty. With its warm and welcoming people, year-round tropical climate, and stunning scenery, it's no wonder why Puerto Rico is known as the Island of Enchantment.

The People

The people of Puerto Rico take great pride in their cultural heritage, and they express it through their love for life and a vibrant mix of Spanish, African, and Taíno influences. Their spirit of warmth and hospitality is contagious, and they welcome everyone to experience the beauty and history of their island. Visiting Puerto Rico is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a world of music, art, cuisine, and breathtaking scenery and embrace a way of life full of passion and vitality.