I will forever love Puerto Rico! If you haven’t had the pleasure of traveling to the island, it should be on your bucket list of Caribbean Islands to visit. Not only is Puerto Rico beautiful with it’s show stopping beaches and aqua blue waters, but the food, people, and ambiance of the island will leave you with an experience you will never forget. Puerto Rico will go down as one the top islands I cannot wait to visit again, and a whole summer later I’m still craving the food!
There are many options in deciding where to stay when traveling to Puerto Rico. The capital, San Juan, is alive with attractions, music, food, shopping and sight-seeing throughout the day and night. It will not be difficult to find many things to do and attractions to see. A must see on anyone’s list when visiting San Juan, is touring El Morro. The World Heritage sight is a grand castle designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay and defend the Spanish colonial port city of San Juan from seaborne enemies. If you are a history buff you will love El Morro and if you are not, you will be amazed by the condition of this site and it breath-taking views.
Visiting San Juan you are surrounded by colorful buildings and outstanding murals throughout the downtown city. Pictures truly, do not do it justice. The buildings are so vibrant and full of life, the murals tell a story of the city and can be found on every street and around every corner. There are many shops open with souvenirs, jewelry, local products from Puerto Rico, art, and clothing, most anything you can think of. It is a great place to find a little bit of Puerto Rico to take home with you.
Downtown San Juan is a great place to try local restaurants, experience night life and try traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. I’m still talking about the food I ate in Puerto Rico! One dish you do not want to miss is Mofongo, made from plantains, picked green and fried, then mashed with salt, garlic, and oil in a wooden oven and usually accompanied by shrimp or pork and a rich sauce. Although, I had never been a fan of plantains, this dish changed my mind about plantain dishes forever. It’s delicious and can be ordered to your liking with the typle of meat and sauce you prefer and is available at almost every authentic Puerto Rican restaurant. Other food items to add to your list to try while visiting the Caribbean Island are arepas, tostones, croquettes and flan. Puerto Rican food is outstanding and there is something savory or sweet for everyone.
Puerto Rico has beauty at every corner and it would be best to have a car or hire a driver to view popular attractions across the island or staying in different citiies during your stay to be able to experience the different attractions you are interested in. During our stay we stayed in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, and hired a driver to take us to San Juan for the day to explore. Aside from the beautiful beaches, Puerto Rico is home to the El Yunque National Park. Located on northeastern region of Puerto Rico, El Yunque is the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System and the United States Forest Service. The forest is beyond gorgeous and one of my favorite attractions I visited while in Puerto Rico. You are surrounded by luscious green vegetation and can hike the paved trail throughout the forest. You will come across a large waterfall La Mina, where you can jump in and swim, as many do. It is such an experience. There are several tables and places to stop along your hike to eat, rest and drink water if you have packed some with you. El Yunque is definitely worth seeing while visiting Puerto Rico and your chance to visit the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System.
Lastly, as you might have guessed, there are many beaches and water activities on the Caribbean Island. If you can book a boat rental it will be well worth your trouble and you will be able to see some of the clearest, aqua blue water you have ever seen. There are many popular beach destinations across the island, Flamenco Beach, Fajardo, Culebra, and Aguadilla to name a few. We were lucky enough to find a charter from Fajardo and experience the best snorkeling I have ever experienced, honest. The water was amazing, and not only do you get to see a variety of colorful fish but the coral reef is unbelievable. I have never been able to snorkel so close to the reef you touch it (which you should not do in order to preserve the reef.) It was amazing!
Although, I was able explore much of Puerto Rico and some of it most popular attractions, there were so many things I was not able to do and want to go back for, like the entire other side of the island. Not to mention the delicious food. Definitely, visit Puerto Rico if you are looking for a Caribbean Island full of beauty, adventure and culture.