There are many reasons why you should choose Puerto Rico as your next holiday destination — and not just because celebs have been talking about this Caribbean paradise since last year.
In their hit song “Despacito,” Justin Bieber and Luis Fonsi talk up the island: “This is how we do it down in Puerto Rico.” Bruno Mars’ smash hit “That’s What I Like” also gives the island international props.
Puerto Rico is an island that offers stunning natural wonders that include waterfalls, mountains and the El Yunque National Forest. For city-lovers, there’s the capital city of San Juan, where the Isla Verde district never sleeps with its beach bars, casinos and hotels. The old city of San Juan boasts Spanish colonial architecture as well as two fortresses: El Morro and La Fortaleza.
After Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc on the archipelago, tourism to the beautiful island is on the rise and Puerto Rico is back in business. Traveling there is cheap and hotels don’t cost an arm and a leg. Read on for a few good reasons to visit Puerto Rico.
You don’t need a passport or visa
If you’re American, you won’t need a passport or visa to visit Puerto Rico, as it’s a U.S. territory. Just take your driver’s license or government ID, and it’ll take you only a few hours to get there. If you’re from across the border in Canada, you’ll need a passport. However, it’s no different than visiting Florida and just as easy to get to.
There’s a lot to do in Puerto Rico
There’s so much to do in Puerto Rico, from fast-paced city activities to blissful spas and relaxing by the pool. But to truly experience Puerto Rico, you have to go out and see the islands. There are many tantalizing activities to make your vacation a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll never forget.
Although Puerto Rico is part of America, its people are a unique mixture of Spanish, African and Taino. The Tainos are one of the most significant indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. Life is celebrated in bold, living color with festivals and a buzzing nightlife, outdoor markets galore and cuisine that is unique to the archipelago.
Kayak by moonlight through the bioluminescent bay
Kayaking through Mosquito Bay in Vieques off the east coast of the main island of Puerto Rico allows you to witness the splendor of the brightest remaining bioluminescent bay in the world.
One of only five bioluminescent bays left across the globe, Mosquito Bay is the most popular. Bioluminescence, or a blue-green glow, is caused by single-celled microorganisms called dinoflagellates. When these tiny organisms are disturbed by the splashing of your oars, the water lights up around you. It’s truly stunning!
Snorkel, scuba and sail the Caribbean
Snorkeling, scuba diving and sailing are just three of the many water activities you can look forward to on this group of islands. Spectacular beaches, crystal-clear waters and stunning reefs brim with exquisite fish and beautiful coral. You might even spot the odd nurse shark or two, but they’re perfectly harmless, so admire their beauty. The best islands to snorkel off are Culebra off the east coast, Steps Beach in the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve on the west coast, La Parguera (which also has two bioluminescent bays) and Vieques.
Some of the best beaches in the world
Puerto Rico is known for its beautiful beaches where you can bask in the sun while sipping a refreshing drink in pretty surroundings. Some of the best beaches to visit are hidden treasures. Isla Culebrita is a tiny coral island that boasts six beaches, including Playa Tortuga.
This natural preserve is where nesting sea turtles live and breed. Pinones Beach is just two miles from the busy city of San Juan, but you can rent a kayak there to look for wildlife among the mangroves, swim in the ocean, ride bikes and eat local food.
Visit a UNESCO Heritage Site
Take a tour to the San Juan National Historic Site, which is made up of three forts: San Cristóbal, San Felipe del Morro and San Juan de la Cruz (El Cañuelo). Dating back to the 16th century, three-fourths of the old city walls are still intact. Only 12 national park areas in the United States are official World Heritage Sites, so a visit to this attraction in Old San Juan is a must.
Puerto Rico Is the Rum Capital of the World
Rum was invented in Puerto Rico in the 1500s, and to this day, the island is the world’s largest exporter of this alcoholic beverage. Make sure to visit one of the island’s bars and ask for their signature cocktail featuring the island’s local rums.