There’s only one problem when you visit Puerto Rico - on this fascinating, 3,350 square mile (8,670 sq km) island, you can’t see everything in a single visit. Sorry, you’ll have to keep coming back - and next time bring the kids. It’s one of the Caribbean’s most child-friendly destinations.
There’s all the sun, fun and sporting activity you’d expect. The 272-mile (437 km) coastline has world-class beaches for sun-bathing, swimming and snorkeling. Nightlife is among the liveliest in the Americas, and there’s a full range of accommodation, from rustic campsites to luxury hotels.
Away from the popular resort zones, you can taste the high-octane cocktail of cultures and traditions - Caribbean, Spanish, Amerindian, African and North American - that makes Puerto Rico a unique island experience.
Puerto Rico is proud of its status as a Commonwealth of the United States of America - its inhabitants have been US citizens since 1917. It also cherishes its 500-year heritage as a Latin American and Caribbean island, celebrated in the food and drink, art and entertainment, dress and architecture.
In the National Historic Zone of Old San Juan, there are ornate Spanish houses, churches and forts, elegant plazas, cobblestoned courtyards and museums. Visit Ponce, the island’s second city, founded in 1692 and a showcase of Spanish Colonial, Art Deco and Creole architecture and art. The art museum has work by the island’s best painters, and the nearby Tibes Indian Ceremonial Centre is the oldest Indian burial ground in the Antilles.
Eco-tourists could easily spend a year in Puerto Rico. Its rain-forested mountains have the full, exuberant range of Caribbean vegetation and wildlife. The 28,000 acre (11,300 sq km) El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the US National Parks system. Taking the hiker’s trail through the park, you’ll see four distinct types of forest, which are home to 240 species of wildlife, flowers and trees. The Rio Abajo Forest Preserve can be explored easily on 70 walking trails.
If you want to get away from it all, visit one of Puerto Rico’s three satellite islands. Vieques has 40 wonderful beaches on a 60 mile (97 km) coastline, including three phosphorescent bays that glow in the dark. Sleepy Culebra also has faultless beaches, while Mona, 50 miles from its mother island, is an uninhabited, 25-square mile (65 sq km) nature reserve encircled by pristine coral and perfect dives.
Whatever vacation you feel you deserve, Puerto Rico offers the variety to keep you busy enough for several lifetimes.