Old San Juan
[Image rights: James Willamor (CC BY-SA)]
Old San Juan, founded in 1521, is one of the only places in Puerto Rico where the history comes back to life. This city is just like a blast to the past even to this day. In Old San Juan there are still cobble stone streets and brightly colored buildings all around. The streets of Old San Juan are beautiful to roam and explore. It’s a perfect place to get souvenirs, shop around and eat authentic Puerto Rican food. Some of the best restaurants are located in Old San Juan. Based on tripadvisor.com many have voted Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar as the #1 restaurant to go to while in Old San Juan. It is highly recommended to make reservations in advance. The city of Old San Juan is a very popular tourists spot. It is one of the only places where just around the corner there are many museums, cathedrals, monumental buildings and magnificent forts all in one place. Some these places would include: Museo de San Juan, Museo del Mar, El Arsenal, Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, El Capitolio and, El Morro.
[Image rights: vlasta2 (CC BY-NC-ND)]
El Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, also known as simply El Morro, is one of the most famous forts in Puerto Rico. Located in Old San Juan, this fortress was built in 1539 and was originally used to protect Puerto Rico from invading colonies from sea attacks. With the walls being 18 feet thick and rising 140 feet above the sea, El Morro is one of Puerto Rico’s only forts that are used to show off the remarkable history from within. This building has been around for 500 years and has only fallen once, El Morro was a very strong and intimidating fort to its enemies and this is why it is such a magnificent fort. This fortress has some of the best views of the city in Puerto Rico and is one of the most popular attractions to visit in Old San Juan.
Flamenco beach Culebra
[Image rights: Rana Banerjee (CC BY-NC-SA0]
Flamenco beach in Culebra Island is located approximately 17 miles from the mainland San Juan, Puerto Rico. With white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water, Culebra is one of the best places to visit for a beautiful and relaxing day at the beach. Culebra also has plenty of wildlife one-third of the island is populated with gulls, pelicans, exotic fish and endangered turtles. The endangered turtles include the Atlantic green turtle, Leatherback turtle and the Atlantic Loggerhead turtle. The people of Culebra highly demand respect for these animals and the surrounding areas. Culebra allows visitors to go snorkeling, kayaking, swimming with the sea turtles and on a tour around the island. The island of Culebra is such a peaceful paradise to visit.
[Image rights: Yolanda Evans (CC BY)]
When traveling to Puerto Rico most definitely stop by to visit Vieques Mosquito Bay. This is where millions of tiny living organisms called luminescent dinoflagellates live in the Caribbean Sea and make the whole entire beach light up with bioluminescent lights. Most people say that this is a fascinating beach to go see and it is one of the brightest bio bays on the island. Although you cannot go swimming in the waters when the beach is lit up, an alternative would be to go kayaking instead. This bay isn’t your typical beach at all. It is a very magical place to witness it’s not every day where you get to see a bioluminescent beach. The best time to go is at night because that gives you the opportunity to really see what this beach has to offer.
[Image rights: Ben Alman (CC BY-NC-ND)]
Another great attraction to stop and see is the Bacardi Rum Factory. This factory was built 1862 and is approximately 20 minutes away from the capital of San Juan by car. When taking the Bacardi Factory tour there is an option of taking a self-tour $12 and a tour with a tour guide $40 (hours Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm Sunday at 10am-5pm) The Bacardi factory in Puerto Rico is one of the world’s largest rum distilleries. This factory also includes a fabulous bar at the end of the tour with signature drinks like mojitos and coquitos and rum ritas.
El Yunque National Rainforest
[Image rights: Jeff Gunn (CC BY)]
Traveling about 45 minutes by car out of San Juan, the next stop is El Yunque National Rainforest. El Yunque has magnificent mile long hikes that go deep in to the rainforest. The ultimate reason for hiking is to reach the beautiful grand waterfalls. Some of the trails are easy others are way harder. It just depends on preference and how much a person likes to hike. While going on the trail of choice there is also an option to have a guide. This guide will help take a group of people through the hikes with the best scenic routes. This gives tourists a chance to really explore the rainforest and get to the breath taking waterfalls. A tip for when going to El Yunque would be to plan ahead and plan accordingly. It rains quite frequently and for safety’s sake beware of flash floods.
Rio Camuy Caves Park
[Image rights: Brian Negin (CC BY-NC-ND)]
Heading further in to Puerto Rico, Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy or the caves of Camuy are a very magnificent and beautiful place to see. The caves of Camuy are large natural limestone caves and underground water ways. A tour guide that will escort the tourists the whole way though the caves. The hours for this excursion are Wednesday- Sunday 8:30 am until 3:45 pm. First, the tour guides accommodate everyone in huge hiking trucks to drive to the cave openings. Next, is to take a hike down to the actual caves on an awesome adventurous trail. Then, once all the hiking is done there is a part of the caves where you can finally see the underground waterways. The caves of Camuy are a once in a life time experience and it’s the best for pictures of exotic structures and a peaceful place to explore.