A splash in Puerto Rico is the best way to start your Caribbean vacation. Kayak in a bioluminescent bay, or hike from waterfall to waterfall in El Yunque, the only rainforest in the U.S. National Park Service. Stroll through the Spanish Colonial streets of Old San Juan, the oldest city in America. Or, just relax in a luxurious resort or cozy inn and let the coqui frogs serenade you with their own sweet, memorable song. Discover why Puerto Rico Does it Better.
Life shouldn't be hard, especially if you're in Puerto Rico. Picturesque beaches, a leisurely atmosphere, friendly people, and the wonders of a true Caribbean experience will make your time on the island precious.
San Juan is the Caribbean capital of nightlife and entertainment, where you can indulge in a magnificent culinary feast, recharge at a vibrant casino, and Salsa at a local bar--all in one evening.
Countless monuments and legends of the historical exploits of Taino Indians and Conquistadores are yours for the taking. Examine the island's rich 500-year history at world-class museums and in 16th-century fortifications.
For the adventurous, Puerto Rico is a tropical paradise. From diving to rock climbing, spelunking to deep sea fishing, hiking to cycling--the choice is yours. Plus you'll find some of the island's best surfing and spectacular sunsets on its western shores at Porta del Sol.
Imagine the blackness of the sea on a moonless night. Now watch it sparkle with the darting lights of a million fireflies. Nature lovers will not want to miss the phenomenal experience of visiting a tropical phosphorescent bay!
In the northwest mountains of the island, nestled among the karst-country hills, is the Arecibo Ionospheric Observatory, or Radio Telescope, the largest of its kind and one of the most important research facilities on the face of the earth. The huge dish--more than a dozen football fields could fit inside--sits in a sinkhole and is forever aimed at the sky, tuned to detect the slightest sounds emitted by the farthest stars.
It is the place where planets outside our solar system were discovered and is the home base for NASA's SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, which you may remember from the Jodie Foster movie "Contact," part of which was filmed here.
The Caribbean National Forest, often called El Yunque Rainforest, has the highest visitation of any natural site in Puerto Rico. When you see it, you'll easily understand why.
Named after the benevolent Indian spirit Yuquiyu, El Yunque is the only rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System. Comprised of some 240 different species of trees, it is actually a series of forests, each one determined by its altitude. El Toro, the highest peak in the forest at 3,532 feet, has only odd dwarf vegetation clinging to its sides.
This is the largest in the world, and is only a 15-minute drive from San Juan. It's one of the most popular visitors' destinations in Puerto Rico.
Visitors are treated to a fascinating guided tour of the facilities at the "Cathedral of Rum." Everything from the vast fermentation vats to the high-speed bottling machinery is at work and on display. A trolley takes you to the Bacardi family museum, where a history of the product and landmarks in its development are seen. The tour ends at the lofty, bat-like pavilion, which you may have seen if you have gazed across San Juan Bay from the southern walls of the Old City. Here you can sample the world-famous rum and buy souvenirs or a variety of Bacardi products at the gift shop.
How would you like to have your own little island, just for you, your family, and friends? On Gilligan's Island you can be king or queen for a day and rule over white-sand beaches, mazes of mangroves, and crystalline waters. There might be a handful of other royalty in residence, but you'll be having such a wonderful time that you'll hardly notice.
For generations, families have made the trek from San Juan and all over the eastern region for a day at Luquillo Beach. A vacation in Puerto Rico was considered incomplete without a visit to this well-loved place on the coast. The view from the beach is spectacular: a long gold crescent of sand lined by countless coconut palms, with the misty mountains of the rainforest towering in the distance.
This fantastic natural forest is unique from others with impressive panoramic views, waterfalls, small creeks, a man-made freshwater lake, and migratory birds to watch. The park is managed by State's Natural Resources Department. Toro Negro has several hiking trails for walking with proper shoes. Some snack food and refreshments are available.
El Morro, officially known as Fuerte San Felipe del Morro, sits atop a high promontory overlooking the entrance to San Juan Bay. It is the result of the efforts of many different Spanish engineers over a period of more than 200 years and is one of the largest forts built by the Spaniards in the Caribbean. Although the foundations were laid in 1539, the six-level fort was not considered completed until 1787. During World War II, the U.S. government added an annex of its own design on top of the fort.
Fort San Cristóbal stands guard where once sat the eastern gate to the walled city of Old San Juan. Construction on the fort was begun in 1634 and finished in 1790, although modifications were made well into the 18th century. Its better-known sister fort, El Morro, was designed to protect the city from attacks by sea; San Cristóbal guarded from approaches by land. If you are interested in history, enjoy a walk on the ramparts, where half a millennium ago Spanish soldiers held their watch. If you love to photograph spectacular views, this fort is a goldmine for you, with its panoramic view of the coast from Old San Juan to Condado area and beyond.
This series of beaches stretches for miles in front of luxury resorts and posh high-rise residential apartments, setting the beautiful backdrop for San Juan. A tranquil place during the week, Isla Verde comes alive on weekends when beach lovers stream in to party, play, swim, and sun. While most visitors soak up the sun reading, napping, or taking a stroll along the surf line, the more adventurous go parasailing, bodysurfing, water skiing, and jet skiing.
A short trek to the east of San Juan is one of the island's most popular beaches. It is a beach where families can relax knowing that lifeguards are on duty and the offshore reefs keep the waters calm. This beach is also a diver's paradise as the average ocean temperature is 81°F and underwater visibility averages from 60 to 75 feet, perfect for exploring the underwater wonders.
In the Northeast, near the town of Fajardo, locals and tourists are drawn to a cozy stretch of shoreline featuring fine white sands. A great place to snorkel, the shallow sea bottom is teeming with tropical fish, coral formations, and an abundance of other sea life. Offshore reefs help keep the waves away and strong winds make it an ideal spot for sailing and windsurfing.
Nine miles off the eastern coast lies the island of Culebra, home to Flamenco Beach, recently named one of the Best Beaches in America and Best Escape Beach by the Travel Channel. A mile of pure white sand framed by sun-toasted hills, it is protected as a Marine Wildlife Reserve. It is one of many pristine beaches on Culebra where you can enjoy solitude as you swim in the blue-green waters or explore coral-reef formations.
On the westernmost tip of the island, Rincón straddles the rough Atlantic and gentle Caribbean, so its six beaches provide the best of both worlds. It was the site of the World Surfing Championships in 1968, and is known as the Caribbean's surfing capital. A generation of international surfers has challenged the fast and furious offshore waves--so many have settled in the village that it has developed an expatriate subculture.