Travel Guide to Puerto Rico is a uniquely beautiful, magical, and interesting island.
A gem floating in the Caribbean, it is a fascinating mix of cultures and influences, part American, part Spanish, part Caribbean.
It is a tiny place, yet absolutely brimming with remarkable sights.
History and heritage bursts from Old San Juan and Ponce, while the cuisine, particularly in the island’s capital, is delectable.
It boasts a stunning array of landscapes, with high mountains, deep underground caves, and lush, verdant rain forest.
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Travel Guide to Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico also has some of the most glorious beaches in the Caribbean, all white-gold sands and azure waters.
Puerto Rico offers a tremendous amount to the adventurous traveler, and is charming, rewarding and beautiful in equal measure.
With nature, stunning architecture, and a wonderful blend of cultures and traditions, it’s as close to paradise as you’re likely to find.
San Juan is a bright, vibrant, buzzing city, and absolutely gorgeous, with its brightly colored Spanish colonial architecture, cobbled streets and magical Old Town.
It is also a wonderfully accessible city, with an international airport, and the second largest cruise port in the western hemisphere.
Wandering through the Old Town can take up an entire day all by itself.
The gorgeous architecture, cobbled lanes and charming brightly colored houses transport you back in time, and there are any number of museums, galleries and historic sights, including Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, the majestic 16th century citadel that guards the port.
The dining scene in San Juan has become increasingly varied and cosmopolitan in the last few years, and there are a wealth of fantastic cuisines and restaurants to explore.
Despite being part of the US, Puerto Rico has retained its rich cocina criolla heritage, and no visit would be complete without trying lechon, arroz gandules, alcapurrias or sofrito.
Seafood is obviously a big hit here, and some of the fusion restaurants, merging traditional cocina criolla with Asian and European flavors, are imaginative and worth the risk.
Puerto Rico Beaches
Whether you are a sun-worshiper looking for stretches of golden sand and flat-calm blue sea, or a surfer looking to catch more adventurous waves, Puerto Rico will have something for you.
This tiny island boasts some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
If relaxing on a lounger, soaking up the sun and taking the occasional dip in warm, placid waters is what you are after, you won’t have to look very far.
Gorgeous beaches like Buye, Boqueron, Sucia and Flamenco are scattered all around the island, and almost all of them are within an hour’s drive of San Juan.
Throw together a day bag (or pack light for an overnight stay if a night in a cabana on palm-lined shores is appealing!), and set out for the ultimate day at the beach.
Domes Beach, near Rincon, is one of the most sought-after surfing beaches in the world.
Wave-lovers flock here every year for competitions, and just to catch some of the best breakers around.
If the surf doesn’t materialise, there’s always the old abandoned nuclear plant (the ‘domes’ which gives the beach its name), which is currently being converted into a science museum.
In the winter, Rincon plays host to visiting whales, making the beach an excellent spot for whale watching.
Isla Palominos, and its tiny sibling Isla Palominito, are almost cliches in their perfection; genuine desert island paradises.
Palominito was even used in the final scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides! Pristine, ivory beaches and clear turquoise water are the order of the day here, although you do need to charter a boat to get here.
Natural wonders of Puerto Rico
El Yunque is Puerto Rico’s most famous national park, and the perfect showcase for the incredible natural beauty of the island.
Lush, verdant tropical rain forest covers the 16 square miles of this stunning place, and exploring on foot on well-marked trails under the green, misty canopy is a genuinely magical experience.
For the more adventurous explorers, the majestic 3,500-foot peak of El Yunque is a challenge waiting to be attempted.
For hikers who don’t quite fancy a day of mountain climbing, the park is full of remarkable trees and plants, and a number of jaw-dropping beautiful waterfalls, including the 85-foot tall La Coca Falls.
Ardent naturalists should keep their eyes open for the Puerto Rican parrot, which has been a native of the island since before the Spanish arrived.
Bio Luminescence ~ Glow-in-the-dark water
One of the most spectacular sights to be found on this continually surprising and enchanting island is the glow-in-the-dark waters of three of its secluded bays.
La Parguera, Laguna Grande and Mosquito Bay are all rich in the phosphorescent bio luminescence that under the right circumstances becomes a magical, natural light show.
Laguna Grande and Mosquito Bay have plenty of kayak hire companies, and the thrill of moving your boat slowly, delicately through the dark waters and watching the water burst into light with every touch of the paddle is breathtaking.
La Parguera goes one further, as the only bio luminescent bay to allow swimming and snorkeling, which dials the fairy tale up a fair few notches.
Bio luminescence is a fragile ecosystem of living organisms, and a rare find.
The bays in Puerto Rico are carefully protected, and it is important to be mindful of the natural world you are surrounded by.
That said, this is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of nature’s most spellbinding sights, and not to be missed.
Puerto Rico is charming, exciting, vibrant and beautiful.
A wonderful combination of cultures, traditions and history, with magnificent natural wonders around every corner, some remarkable and fascinating heritage, and a warm, welcoming and laid-back population.
Despite its many attractions it remains somewhat under the radar, and far less discovered than many of its Caribbean neighbors.
All in all, Travel Guide to Puerto Rico is a wonderful and truly special place to visit, and one that should be high on the bucket list of all world travelers.