Located just a few hours plan ride from most of the Eastern US, this Caribbean destination is rich in history and resilient people.
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean Island that is a territory of the United States. This makes it very easy for American citizens to travel there because they will not need to have a passport. A driver's license will do the trick, making it an accessible way to explore the Caribbean on a much smaller budget because international travel can be expensive.
It is a land with a vibrant culture and beautiful people. Here are seven things to do in Puerto Rico that will allow you to truly see what Puerto Rico has to offer its' visitors.
1. Water Fun- No matter where you are going to in the Caribbean, the beaches and ocean are an essential part of the trip. In Puerto Rico, areas like Culebra, Vieques, and El Yunque are great places to visit. Culebra is the perfect spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Flamingo Beach in Culebra offers the ideal backdrop for your snorkeling and diving adventure. Vieques is the home of a beautiful bioluminescent bay, and El Yunque is the location of the only subtropical rainforest in the United States.
2. An Old Spanish Fort- Castillo San Cristobal is a 500-year-old Spanish fort that was erected to protect the Spanish interest in their New World colony. This fort was the largest that the Spanish built in the New World as it was six stories tall and took up 27 acres of real estate on the tip of the island overlooking the ocean.
3. Festivals- Puerto Rico is an island that knows how to party, and they know how to do it well. Some festivals are going on every month all year long. There are even festivals and celebrations that go on all year. These festivals are highlighted with parades, music, food, drinks, and dancing. They are a convergence of Puerto Rican culture. The best months for these festivals are December and January, and daytime is the best time to experience them. At night, they tend to get a lot more crowded and rowdier.
4. Great Drinks- Puerto Rico is considered to be the King of Rum, and they embrace the moniker. There are amazing innovative mixologists all over the island that are using Puerto Rican rum and native fruits (like passion fruits, mangoes, papayas, and more) to create a perfect taste of Puerto Rico. Many of these mixologists also compete internationally, so they are a lot of fun to watch work. There is everything from great drinks to beautiful paired drinks and courses, and you can find it all.
5. The Food- The "Dining Capital of the Caribbean," this is the way that many Puerto Ricans refer to their homeland. Their cuisine is a harmonious blend of Taino (the native people of Puerto Rico), American, and Spanish cuisines. These different influences combine to generate amazing dishes like mofongo (mashed plantains) and Arroz con gandules y Lechon (rice with pigeon peas and pork).
6. Bacardi Rum Factory- The Bacardi Factory in Puerto Rico is the largest in the world as this factory can bottle up to 100,000 bottles a day. Aside from just touring the factory itself, you can also go on a tasting tour. This tour allows visitors to learn all about the rum, the bottling process, and the different flavors and tastes that Bacardi manufactures. It is an important part of Puerto Rico, and it is a lot of fun.
7. Old San Juan- San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico, and Old San Juan is the colonial remnants of San Juan's days as a Spanish colonial city. Old San Juan is the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere. It's brightly colored buildings and cobblestone streets give it an old-world feel at your fingertips. You can go on guided tours to learn of the over 500 years of history of this area of the city. Aside from colonial history, there is amazing food and bars all over so that you can make a whole day out of your visit to Old San Juan.
Hurricane Maria destroyed much of Puerto Rico, and it has been a long, hard road to rebuilding. The resilience of the people of Puerto Rico is evident when you see how far they have come since then. Tourism is an integral part of their economy, and it is an important part of how they are rebuilding their island, one brick at a time. Your fun trip to Puerto Rico is not just for you but for the Island of Puerto Rico itself.
If you are interested in giving back while on your vacation, check out our blog on Voluntorisum, and let us know. We're happy to put together a custom itinerary for your trip.