Puerto Rico – A jewel of the Caribbean
Puerto Rico is considered by some as the best island in the Caribbean and others as the best destination for weddings. The island offers a wide variety of recreational options ranging from coastal locations and ocean activities to inland adventures found beyond its shores. Explore the beautiful landscapes of Puerto Rico, hundreds of years of history, four different cultures and, above all, friendly and good-humored people who leave their mark on the hearts of all who visit.
With 78 distinctive municipalities, practically any type of special interest can be found in Puerto Rico. From hiking in a forest or exploring a cave, to excellent cuisine, sizzling nightlife and exciting casinos, to romantic walks on a moonlit beach. Renting a car allows you to discover small towns, fishing villages and an incredible variety of cultural activities; to an island getaway with a stay at a Parador – Puerto Rico has it all, too, including perfect wedding and honeymoon settings and spectacular meeting venues. The Puerto Rico Convention Center is the largest facility of its kind in the Caribbean.
The island is divided into six regions, each with its own unique characteristics and attractions.
San Juan Metro
Greater San Juan is one of the 25 largest metropolitan areas in North America, packed with business, culture, and entertainment in large cities. However, the cobbled streets take visitors back 500 years in time. The massive fortifications of San Juan have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a seven-block museum, but it also contains lively neighborhoods, with plenty of places to party, dine, shop, and stay.
North “Porta Atlantico”
Full of historical sites, beaches, lagoons, lakes, caves, and forests. In the heart of the fourth oldest city on the island, Arecibo, settled in 1616. This region is home to the famous Parque de la Cueva del Río Camuy, the Arecibo Observatory and the Barceloneta Outlets.
West “Porta del Sol”
Visitors can explore 17 small towns; discover some of the best surfing areas and beaches in the world, excellent seafood, exceptional coastal forests and unique coffee and sugar farms, numerous regional festivities and several golf courses and marinas. Aquadilla’s major secondary airport (BQN) is located here with direct air service into the United States, serving major eastern cities such as New York, Newark, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale throughout the year.
South “Porta Caribe”
Twelve towns with beautiful beaches and enchanted forests, freshwater lakes for fishing, golf courses, fishing villages, carnival-style festivities and stately Victorian homes in the area’s main town of Ponce. Flights from Orlando and New York are available year-round to Ponce Airport (PSE).
Central “Porta Cordillera”
This is a major agricultural area with unique mountainous terrain, world famous for its coffee and known for its outdoor adventure opportunities and numerous natural attractions, including its beautiful waterfalls. The area is also rich in archaeological sites, annual festivals, and shopping opportunities for unusual items from prominent local artists.
There are fantastic beaches, golf courses, nature reserves, impressive underwater reefs and small keys. This area has the picturesque coastal islands of Vieques and Culebra. Vieques was named among the 10 best islands in the Caribbean and Flamenco Beach in Culebra was voted among the best beaches in the world in 2014 by the Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.
Hotels and Resorts
There are several spectacular resorts from the beach to a variety of great value hotels on the beach or on the beach, in the mountains, towns and villages, near historic sites and nature reserves, as well as at or near airports.
In the metropolitan area and throughout the island you can find small hotels, inns and guest houses (many of them on a bed and breakfast basis) along with a number of eco-lodges. These are family-oriented posadas with ocean views, a Mediterranean-style boutique hotel in a restored Spanish villa, small European-style bed and breakfast hotels just steps from the beach, a hillside villa with panoramic ocean views forest, service facilities with pools and direct access to the beach, a restored 16th century convent in the heart of Old San Juan, an old great house from a Spanish sugar plantation, one and two bedroom villas located on 40 acres of nature reserves: the options are endless.
Paradores of Puerto Rico
Now let’s forget about these little gems. Best known for its affordable rates and quaint, secluded locations, each of its 15 country inns offers a convenient starting point for close exploration outside of the greater San Juan area.
The paradores range from centuries-old haciendas to small estates in local fishing villages. Very often, the Parador restaurant is also part of the Mesones Gastronónicos program that designates restaurants that offer authentic Puerto Rican cuisine with the highest level of quality, high standards and the best local dishes at reasonable prices.
While driving around the island, you often see the symbol of the Parador. The word Parador in the property name is reserved for properties that meet and maintain the standards required for this program.
There is much more to learn about Puerto Rico. If you liked this information and want more, please contact me and I would love to help you.