Puerto Rico, dubbed ‘The Isle of Enchantment’, is a remarkable mash-up of American, colonial Spanish, and Caribbean culture, which combines to create a magical paradise for beach lovers and pleasure seekers. The brightly colored colonial architecture, vibrant culture and mouth watering cuisine available in San Juan is a huge draw for tourists, but the rest of the island offers a plethora of wonders as well. Gorgeous, golden beaches, mysterious caves, lush rainforests and magnificent waterfalls await across the island, and despite these riches, it remains far less discovered than the rest of the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico is one of the most accessible islands in the Caribbean, as you might expect, given its official status as the 51st state of the USA. There are two international airports serving destinations across the US and around the world, as well as a bunch of smaller strips for shorter jumps to other nearby islands. However, given its picture perfect location in the middle of the beautiful azure waters of the Caribbean, the more romantic option of arriving by sea is almost a no-brainer. Yacht-hopping around the Caribbean is perfectly plausible, and there is a (slightly unreliable) ferry to and from the Dominican Republic. But the best and most luxurious option has to be cruising to San Juan. The island’s capital is the second largest port for cruise ships in the Western Hemisphere, and the journey is a wonderful way to experience the Caribbean, and to arrive in Puerto Rico, in comfort and style.
Once you’ve arrived, there’s adventure aplenty awaiting on this magical little island. San Juan is a magnificent starting point, a buzzing, vibrant, colorful city full of music, sights, sounds and smells. The island’s Spanish roots are emblazoned on the face of the city, and wandering around the old town feels like you’ve been transported back in time. Cobbled streets, sumptuous colors around every corner, and spots like the fountain at La Princesa, and Fuerte San Felipe del Morro just ooze history and romance.
The food here is pretty special too. Although technically part of the US, Puerto Rico has held on to its traditional cocina criolla cuisine. Delicious and hugely diverse, the food in San Juan has influences from Europe, Africa and South America, as well as its own indigenous Taino people. Don’t miss mofongo, lechon, or arroz con gandules.
Adventurous travelers will, of course, want to explore further, get out of the city, and see some of the show stopping natural beauty the island has to offer. Given that most of the island is within an hour’s journey of San Juan, it is incredibly easy to use the city as a base, pack a small bag, and head out for a day trip or an overnight stay to explore tropical jungles, dry forests, mountains and caves across the island. Puerto Rico has some of the best beaches in the world, and with a little luck you’ll even be able to experience the spine-tingling enchantment of the glow-in-the-dark water in one of the island’s three bioluminescent bays.
Puerto Rico remains a relatively undiscovered little slice of paradise, and is a charming and wonderful place to visit. What are you waiting for?