In San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, the Atlantic Ocean laps against the shores and provides a serene setting for the miles of beautiful beaches. Ponce de Leon founded the city in 1521 making it the oldest city on US territory (this means no passport or foreign currency needed!) but the incredible restaurants and active nightlife make it the perfect vacation destination.
Puerto Rico is filled with world-class attractions that will turn any trip into a 5-star vacation story. Its historic district has been restored to a modern glory, and sits on a rocky peninsula with walls twenty-feet thick that protrude into the blue waves of the Atlantic. It represents the extraordinary age and natural appeal of San Juan. The many attractions provide plenty to do and see for visitors. Its cultural splendor and historical significance make it one of the most exciting cities for retreat.
(Camuy Caverns Via)
With over 10 miles of caverns, 200 caves, and 17 entrances, it is an incredible place to spend the day exploring. Take a walk on the dark side and face what lies in the blackness of these ancient caverns. The large network of natural limestone caves includes underground waterways that have been cut by the world’s third largest underground river. Vast caves, thousand year old sinkholes, and dives for experienced spelunkers make this the ultimate adventure for those looking for an adrenaline rush.
Bacardi Rum Distillery
More than 85% of the Bacardi Rum is distilled here where there is more than 150 years of history and tradition. Take a tour and experience the saga of Bacardi while getting to watch the actual production process of arguably one of the most delicious rums. Then, grab a sample of the final product.
(Arecibo Observatory via)
Recognized as one of the most important national research centers for radio astronomy, planetary radar, and terrestrial aeronomy, this observatory is one of the most interesting and educational attractions. Spend the day exploring the many exhibits as well as viewing the auditorium show depicting a day in the life of the observatory. Learn how the observatory explores the unseen sky and the basic functions of the radio telescope. You’ll learn more than you could imagine about the blue abyss above.
As a tribute to the Spanish artist Angel Botello, this gallery resides in his former colonial mansion which he restored by hand. The gallery has pieces from Botello himself as well as many local artists. Get a taste of the talent and culture through the pieces made right in Puerto Rico.
Luis A. Ferre Science Park
Visit the park for a variety of exhibits and even a zoo. An Archaeology Museum has quite the collection of Taino Indian tools and pottery. The Aerospace Museum has rockets, an Army helicopter, and even an Air Force fighter jet. View the car exhibit with antique cars through the ages or catch the incredible views atop the observation tower.
(El Yunque Forest via)
El Yunque Forest
As the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest System, this patch of rain forest has views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Tour the lush rainforest and view the exotic foliage and creatures. Enjoy the river pools or take a picnic in one of the many shaded picnic areas. If you’re not one for hiking, especially in the particularly wet climate of a rain forest, you can view the beauty on a scenic drive.
Plaza Las Americas
In this 1.8 million square-foot shopping center with over 300 stores and restaurants, you’ll be able to find anything your heart desires. Take a break from the sun and exploration and buy some souvenirs to take home.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro
This historic site is the setting for the six story fort originally constructed in 1540. The inside of the fort is a maze of chambers, barracks, hallways, and prison cells. Visit the site and learn about the repeated attacks on Castillo San Felipe del Morro by the English and Dutch.
(Jardin Botanico via)
Discover the 75 acres of the Botanical Gardens of the University of Puerto Rico. Walk the paths and roadways that connect this beautiful garden and take in the native and tropical flora.
Treat Your Tastebuds
With a diverse history of original Taino Indian inhabitants to Spanish colonization with african slaves and the ultimate acquisition by the United States, Puerto Rico is a veritable melting pot of cultures. Being a “stopping point” for many travelers on the way to or from somewhere, some have stayed, providing even more diversity not only in population, but of foods and flavors. Most foodies agree that Puerto Rico is a fantastic place to treat your tastebuds to gastronomic delights and here are 9 of my favorite ways!