THE ENCHANTED ISLAND: PUERTO RICO
By : Jorge Ramirez
If you’re looking for a nearby tropical destination where you don’t have to worry about currency exchange or language barriers all at an affordable price then I recommend Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto. Puerto Rico is one of my personal Caribbean destination and it happens to be US territory.
What can I start with…the beautiful people, the women, the beaches, the food or the entertainment! Puerto Rico is truly one-of-a-kind. I think it’s perfect for anyone. It’s only one and a half hours away from Florida and has lots to offer. Whether you stay in a small hotel or a luxury resort in the San Juan area or Ponce you will find incredible beaches, amazing people and delicious food. And of course great coconut mojitos made with Puerto Rican rum and natural coconut…then comes the party! The weather is quite warm throughout the year. I have been in April and November both great but November was the warmest with the warmest ocean water. It rained a little during the day. If you do check the weather do not get alarm most of the rain happens at night. In April the weather was perfect it was sunny, hot but the water not as warm.
The first time I went I stayed with family members and enjoyed more of the local spots. Some of the best street food I recommend is on the way to El Yunque and it’s called Playa Luquillo. You can stop by and enjoy a beer, a papa rellena and a short walk to a beautiful beach. I also recommend you try all the different kinds of food, Sangrias, mojitos and coquito (a sweet creamy rum cooking a mixture). A tour of the Bacardi factory it’s great because he get to taste and see how the rum is made. In Sun Juan there is of course the old San Juan with it’s lively streets full of shops and restaurants with a just a short walk from one of the most expect spectacular view in all the island. The view is from El Morro, the hill this fort sits is enormous. The fort itself is huge, worthy of exploring and full of history.
El Yunque is Puerto Rico’s National rain forest and a must-see…be ready for a strenuous hike if you want to see the waterfalls, although there is one by the road. It rains a lot at high altitudes so I recommend to always carry a raincoat. It is also a good idea and to rent a car, the rules are pretty much the same and you can get to a lot more places. Play two such as hidden beaches with pristine waters and soft white sand beaches.
You can schedule a multitude of activities from online tour agencies or at your hotel. There are some bargains seeing can get online, but be wary of the services will be receiving and the merchant you’re buying from. I always recommend to do your research beforehand and email or call them if you can to confirm what they offer. Over the past years I’ve come to realize that some tour prices vary very little in the purchased price when but directly at the hotel. This are usually third-party sales agents and you can usually haggle with the price.
You can zip line in the jungle, take a snorkeling or sailing trip to crystal clear waters. Whenever very favorites is snorkeling in bio-luminescent water and snorkeling in Flamenco Beach on Isla Culebra. Culebra is a small chain of islands on the east coast of Puerto Rico. The largest is Vieques. Culebra is the farthest in the most preserved. It has indeed one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Tamarindo Beach. Keep in mind that Culebra is a top destination even for locals and the ferry is very limited. You must wake up very early to get tickets and go on your own which costs least or pay a tour guide, the cost probably twice as much but you do have transportation around the island and that’s not going tour, which we enjoyed swimming with sea turtles in the nature reserve.
If you haven’t traveled in looking for and destination, I definitely recommend Puerto Rico as your first destination!