Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

They (the people of Puerto Rico) are truly the sweetest people on earth.

Johnny Depp, Actor

Puerto Rico has been in the public eye in the last few years for mainly two reasons. The first is been the island that was much damaged by Hurricane Katrina! And second for being the site where the hit song Despacito was filmed ­čÖé And the place where much Raggaeton music is made. Music is at the heart of Puerto Rican culture.

Puerto Rico is actually NOT a country. It is part of the USA; as a territory but not as a state. It does, however, have its own distinct identity shaped by its Latin heritage. Most Puerto Ricans speak Spanish and maybe some English.

Puerto Rico, being an island in the Caribbean, is a great holiday destination. Its features some fantastic beaches, rain forests, nice colonial cities and warm and friendly people. It is almost like being in Cuba except it is more modern and developed.

Traveling around is a breeze with a car. Without it, it gets tricky to move around due to the lack of public transport, and may take longer time.

Attractions: Old San Juan is a must see for the colorful Havana-like streets. The new city and Isla Verde are good spots for hitting the coffees and night-life nearby. Culebra and Vieques islands have world-class beaches. Rojo Cabo, Mayaguez, and Ponce are worth seen, and considered somewhat off the beaten track.

Itinerary: The island is really small and can be toured in 3 to 4 days comfortably. A car is a must to move around. To get to the islands, however, takes some planning. They are served by an inexpensive Ferry but often sold out and the preference is given to locals or tourists with an over-night accommodation.

Food: famous dishes include Mofongo, Pernil, and Jibarito.

Recommended book: When I Was a Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago.

Top 5 Attractions

1. Old San Juan

A very nice city that resembles a lot Havana or Cartagena with typical colorful colonial houses. With 500 years history, San Juan Viejo is filled with historic forts and Spanish colonial architecture. It is the 2nd oldest city in the Americas and the oldest city under the US flag.

Must see places include Fuerte San Felipe del Morro in the San Juan National Historic Site, Fortaleza, the San Juan Cathedral, and Castillo de San Crist├│bal. More

2. Culebra Island

It is hard to get to it but really worth the effort. It is a small island with beautiful beaches and lush hills. The pace here is unhurried and the atmosphere relaxed.

Playa Flamenco is the most popular beach on the island and as one can imagine a perfect Caribbean beach. Clear water, with white sand and palms. Culebra is great for hiking within the Isla de Culebra National Wildlife Refuge. More

3. El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the National US Forest System. The climate there is cooler than the coast and understandably wetter.

The forest is one of Puerto Rico’s most popular natural attractions. The main highlights in El Yunque National Forest include La Coca Falls, Yokah├║ Tower, Ba├▒o Grande, Ba├▒o de Oro, and La Mina Falls.

4. Mayaguez

The city of Mayag├╝ez and nearby places are a great stop to see many places. Mayag├╝ez is a vibrabt university town full of historical monuments, museums and nightlife. Rinc├│n is only 30-minute drive and worth seen too. Rinc├│n is a quiet beach town that surfers good for surfing.

5. Rojo Cabo

Rojo Cabo is a hidden spot mainly known to the locals. The town is located at the extreme southwest of Puerto Rico. The main sights include limestone cliffs, stunning beaches, idyllic nature reserves for birdwatchers, and creative restaurants.

Highlights of the area near Rojo Cabo include Los Morrillos Lighthouse, the Salt Flats and one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico, la Playuela. You know it is a good place when the locals flock to it!

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