Puerto Rico has fascinated travelers from all over the world for years with its colonial architecture, tropical climate, different landscapes and local cuisine. You can also find colorful houses on the hills, street dancers on the street during a parade. Despite the recent economic difficulties, Puerto Rico still dazzles all those who visit the country with just over 3,500 square kilometers of land. In this article we will explain in detail the short history of Puerto Rico and highlight some of the unique attractions that the island has to offer.
Originally from South America, the Taino Indians were the first to colonize Puerto Rico in the 14th century. In 1493 Columbus traveled to the New World for the second time. The Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon founded 1508 the village of Caparra (now San Juan) and appointed him in 1509 from Spain as governor of the island. The Spanish introduced slavery in 1521 and in 1523 built the first Catholic Church, the oldest church still used in America.
The city of San Juan was named in honor of John the Baptist and the island was called Puerto Rico or Rich Harbor. It soon became the main military post in Spain in the Caribbean. Through the integration of Spaniards, Taino Indians and African slaves, today's population is a cultural mix of their ancestors. In 1570, many original Tainos retreated to the central highlands of Puerto Rico to protect themselves from the Spaniards.
Since 1948 Puerto Rico had a governor and enjoyed the Commonwealth status, although offered independence. However, Puerto Rico chose to remain a Commonwealth. Today, Puerto Rico has many factories with tax incentives, and although tourism is only a small part of the economy, it still has to import around 90% of its food. She pays no federal income tax and does not participate in presidential elections, but she serves in the US armed forces, receives federal welfare and pays social security taxes.
The crystal clear waters, warm sea breezes, Latin American culture, gastronomy and nightlife are just some of the many reasons why visiting Puerto Rico is an unforgettable experience. Located close to the Caribbean, you can enjoy a sunny climate, many seafood delicacies and a relaxed resort for all. Here are some of the unique attractions that Puerto Rico has to offer.
The El Morro fortress is an old tower, and also the most notable monument of San Juan. It has more than 400 years of history in terms of protecting this city and its shipping lanes. Although it has gone through many wars and struggles, the El Morro fortress is still facing the Atlantic Ocean. Once you enter a cabin that looks like a lighthouse, you can discover the lives of these soldiers in the colonial era and the way the US military consolidated it during the First World War.
A moonless night is a good choice for you if you want to visit this bay. You'll find out why many people are surprised when they ride a canoe through the red forest and reach the Bay. Here you will notice that the small paddles you take will turn green in the water and beautiful fish will swim around you. When you dive into the water, you can see your body glow in the dark night. In this way, it will not be difficult to understand why Bioluminescent Bay is the most beautiful place in Puerto Rico. It is the particular geographic environment, climatic conditions and local conservation that make it one of the most famous bioluminescent bays in the world.
El Yunque Rainforest is the only rainforest in the US National Forest System. By car, it is only two hours from San Juan to the rainforest. This rich and lush mountainous region is far from the city beaches and other interesting places. But that's why people come here. Here you can cross this lush plant complex in the rainforest, dive under the waterfalls. This is the unaltered part of Puerto Rico throughout history.
Mona Island is the perfect sanctuary for those who want to have adrenaline fun in Puerto Rico. The island off the west coast of Puerto Rico is a natural playground with incredible diving, caves, limestone cliffs, coral reefs, unique flora, stargazing and breathtaking scenery tents on the beach. You may want to reserve your place in advance, as the island allows only 100 visitors at the same time to preserve their ecosystem.
This 600 acre forest reserve includes beautiful birds, trails, a butterfly house and a car that will take you to a huge lookout tower. It's so big that you can even see San Juan and the North Coast! For those looking for adventure activities in Puerto Rico, La Marquesa also offers a zip line that allows you to fly through the forest.
The waterfront village of La Parguera, located on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico, is ideal for those who want to avoid crowded areas or the main tourist attractions of Puerto Rico. Quite discreet, La Parguera offers some of the best activities in Puerto Rico, including food tasting, artisan shopping, bioluminescent swimming and sea turtle snorkeling.
Finally, a visit to Puerto Rico is one of those vacations you should always have because it is an incredibly beautiful place that is not sold at exorbitant prices. It's exotic, beautiful and sunny which is what you need to have a good time. Whatever your choice, you will easily reach this amazing island and can do so by car, bus or one of the many discounted cruises for this popular tourist destination.
The island of Puerto Rico has 4 million inhabitants and is an American territory. This means that US citizens do not need a passport to get to this island. When it comes to knowing where to go during your Puerto Rican vacation, there are many options. You can ask the locals for advice as they speak English very well. This is great news for anyone who does not speak Spanish but still needs the information they need.
San Juan Rio Grande Humacao Rincon Luquillo Ponce Cabo Rojo Fajardo Isabela Mayaguez Aguadilla Aguada Culebra Vieques Carolina Dorado Arecibo Boqueron Loiza Aibonito La Parguera Bayamón Anasco Manati Naguabo Toa Baja Carmelita El Combate Hatillo Levittown Yabucoa Caguas Guayama Maunabo Quebradillas Salinas San Sebastian Barceloneta Buena Vista Canovanas Ceiba Guanica Gurabo Lajas Las Croabas Punta Santiago San German Santa Isabel Utuado Adjuntas Aguacate Barranquitas Brenas Camuy Candelero Arriba Coamo Corozo Corrales Guayanilla Guaynabo Hato Arriba Higuey Hormigueros Jarealito Juncos Las Coles Maleza Maricao Matias Moca Pinones Playa de Fajardo Playa Sardinera Puerto Real Quebrada Rio Piedras Sabana Grande San Antonio Vega Baja Yauco