The beautiful island of Puerto Rico is known as the gateway to the Caribbean. Just 110 miles long and 35 miles wide, the capital city of San Juan is the center of it all combing new and old facilitated by its colorful building facades, vintage watchtowers, and cobblestone streets.
Venture off the beaten path a bit and you’ll find not only lush rainforests full of adventure, but also spirited locals eating, drinking, and dancing. More than anything, you’ll be surrounded by an aura of living in the moment, with residents and visitors alike enjoying the simple pleasures in life.
1.No Passport Required. Puerto Rico is still technically the U.S. (a commonwealth of the U.S. since 1952; residents have been U.S. citizens since 1917 under the Jones Act), but it doesn’t feel like the U.S. No forms of identification are needed to enter beyond your driver’s license or ID card. The island culture is pronounced and vibrant with a heavy Spanish influence that transports you to a place where the warm waters and tranquil beaches make you feel like you are in another country.
2.The Bio Bays. There are only eight known places on the entire planet where the bays become “bioluminescent” at night, andthree of them are in Puerto Rico. Because of a high concentration of microscopic single-celled creatures called dinoflagellates, the luminescence occurs whenever the water is disturbed by motion such as splashing or paddling. While you were once able to swim and “glow” in the water like a superhero, conservation efforts have ended that practice. Now, you can just run your hands and arms through the water to experience what looks like sparkly lights or diamonds twinkling over your skin like a reflection of the night sky in motion (and on high speed).
3.The Beaches. Puerto Rico has 270 miles of coastline and has been featured in the Top 10 Beaches from Travel Channel, including Flamenco Beach in Culebra, often cited as one of the best beaches in the world. Beaches as far as the eye can see – do you really need any more convincing?
4.Rum. There are myths and legends about which of two locations is the true inventor of the pina colada, but one visit to Barrachinarestaurant in Old San Juan and the answer is clear: This is it. The plaque out front marks the spot where the coconutty creamy cocktail was born in 1963. Drink it with Barrilito, one of the best rums made on the island. Other island favorites include Serralles, Trigo, and of course, rum giant Bacardi, whose distillery is open for tours and tastings daily.
5.El Yunque National Forest The only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest System, the El Yunque National Forest is home to rare species of plants and animals, including the endangered Puerto Rican Parrot. Its most popular trail, La Mina, crisscorsses the rive by the same name, for plenty of photo ops en route to beautiful waterfalls. Even closer to home, the Rockefeller Nature Trail, allows guests of Dorado Beach properties to make an 11-mile hike through the rainforest to the sea. Prefer to get up close to the tree canopies? There are ziplining adventures as well!
Not to mention:
- If you’re a history buff, you’ll love the old world charm of San Juan!
- If you are adventurous, you’ll love to go horseback riding, or exlore the magnificent Camuy caverns that run through the 3rd largest subterranean river in the world!|
- If you are there for the food? You will be in HEAVEN exploring the delicacies of Puerto Rican gastronomy!