Puerto Rico is often dubbed the ‘Island of Enchantment’ and rightly so. Occupying just about 3,500 square miles of the Caribbean Sea, the island usually takes travelers by surprise with the plethora of unique experiences it offers, all the way from its delightful culinary scene to exciting adventures on the island’s natural wonders. Puerto Rico’s year-round fine weather and moderate temperatures brighten up the mood of anyone who sets foot on its land. Here are five of the many impressive qualities of the extraordinary Caribbean destination that will make you want to drop what you are doing and catch the next plane there.
The fascinating culture
One of the best parts of traveling is seeing different cultures in their authentic forms through your own eyes. Old San Juan is a place in Puerto Rico that will not only teach you its history spanning an incredible 500 years, but will also make you fall in love with it. Take a stroll along the streets and marvel at the intriguing colonial architecture, colorful homes each with stories of their own and age-old canons still sitting in place as if they were protecting the city. Although dainty, there are many places to visit in this part of Puerto Rico.
The breathtaking beaches
A trip to Puerto Rico would not be complete without a dip in its breathtaking beaches. With a stunning coastline stretching over 270 miles, there are many on the island. Situated in the dazzling Culebra Island, the Flamenco Beach is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Its soft white sands, crystal blue waters and surrounding lush mountains attract sun-worshippers like a siren call. Besides swimming, you can snorkel and scuba dive in the ocean teeming with colorful fish. Don’t forget to visit other amazing beaches in Puerto Rico. Playa Tortuga is one of the many picturesque beaches on the island that is home to nesting turtles and sea-bound humans alike.
The stunning natural wonders
Puerto Rico has abundant natural wonders. The Camuy Caves, one of the world’s largest cave systems, is nature’s work of art. Take an exhilarating trolly ride down the mountainous terrain then walk along a trail to discover an impressive 17-foot-high stalagmite, a mystical sinkhole and ancient rock formations among other astonishing phenomena unique to the caves. The Mosquito Bay is another magical place in Puerto Rico that offers a truly unparalleled experience. Filled with microorganisms that light up when touched, you will have an ethereal trail of bright blue streaks following you as you kayak in its waters.
The delectable cuisine
With influences from Spain, Africa and the United States, The Puerto Rican cuisine is a treat to all five of your senses. When you visit the island, you must try the national dish lechón asado (meaning ‘grilled pork’) that is served best at roadside stands. Made from pork shoulder, the succulent dish is generously seasoned before being slow roasted until its skin turns crisp and crackly. There are also many fantastic restaurants including Jose Enrique and Cocina Abierta right in the heart of the island where you can taste all the local flavors. With so many choices to indulge in, Puerto Rico will make its way to your heart through your tummy.
The world-famous rum
Puerto Rico certainly lives up to its name as the ‘Rum Capital of the World’. As one of the largest producers of rum, you can find everything from Bacardi to Ron Llave on the island. Head over to Casa Don Q, a rum museum in Old San Juan, and learn about the history and the different types of the spirit on an informative tour after which you can taste a rum of your choice. You can also attend a rum tasting tour in Casa Melaza Rum Boutique and sample all the amazing Puerto Rican rums.
Where to stay in Puerto Rico?
Whether you are traveling alone, as a couple or with friends and family, Puerto Rico is sure to meet all your accommodation needs. In fact, with plenty of hotels and resorts throughout the island, you will be spoilt for choice.
Located by the waterfront, the charming nine-story Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel is a lovely hotel to stay in surrounded by the rich history of the island. With attractions like Paseo La Princesa and intriguing art galleries within walking distance of the hotel, it is also one of the most convenient in Puerto Rico. Also in the heart of the island, the Hotel El Convento offers a luxurious stay and is just steps away from a vibrant nightlife scene.
The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa offers the perfect beach retreat. Located by the beautiful Isla Verde beach, guests can walk up to the beach anytime, enjoy a refreshing swim and sunbathe with a cocktail in hand. The InterContinental San Juan is another beachside hotel with stunning ocean-facing rooms from which you can take in the breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. It also has five amazing restaurants that offer a worldly gastronomic experience, making your stay truly a fulfilling one.
Faristha’s fascination with words began at the age of eleven when her short story was published in a children’s book series. Pursuing her passion, she has written for online magazines, runs a creative blog, and is now a Content Writer at HotelQuickly in Bangkok. Having grown up in Hong Kong and been to various countries including India, France and Mexico, Faristha is a wanderlust at heart and hopes to provide others like herself with travel inspiration through her gift of writing.