Caribbean Tourism

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The Flag

22 December 1995 was the 100th anniversary of the lone star flag of Puerto Rico, marked by hoisting it alone at the Ateneo Puertorriqueño, in clear violation of US law which states that the US flag should always be flown alongside state or other territorial flags. All over the island the flag was flown as a gesture of pride in Puerto Rican nationality. The...

Defeat of the Great Unwashed

1997 was the 200th anniversary of the attack on San Juan by General Abercrombie in the last and largest attempt by the British to take the Island. On 17 April 1797, 68 ships and over 3,000 troops anchored off Punta de Cangrejos. The next day they landed, occupied the town of San Mateo de Cangrejos, and Abercrombie set up command in the summer residence of...

Culture

Music & Dance The island was Spanish until 1898 and one of the oldest musical traditions is that of the 19th-century Danza, associated particularly with the name of Juan Morel Campos and his phenomenal output of 549 compositions. This is European-derived salon music for ballroom dancing, slow, romantic and sentimental. The Institute of Puerto Rican...

Excursions

Puerto Rico’s coastline is protected in many places by coral reefs and cays which are fun to visit and explore. La Cordillera is a nature reserve of cays and rocks off the northeast tip of Puerto Rico, including Icacos, Diablo, Ratones and Las Cucarachas, which have a rich coral reef, clear water and sandy beaches. There is an abandoned limestone quarry on...

San Juan

Founded in 1510, San Juan the capital spreads several kilometres along the north coast and also inland. The nucleus is Old San Juan, the old walled city on a tongue of land between the Atlantic and San Juan bay. It has a great deal of charm and character, a living museum; the Institute of Culture restores and renovates old buildings, museums and places of...

The Southwest

A round trip through the west half of the island would take in Ponce, the second city (reached by motorway from San Juan via Caguas), Guánica, Parguera, San Germán, Boquerón, Mayagüez (the third city), Aguadilla, Quebradillas and Arecibo, with side trips to the Maricao State Forest and fish hatchery, the Río Abajo State Forest and Lake Dos Bocas, the...

Ponce

Much renovation has taken place in the heart of the city; the Casas Villaronga and Salazar-Zapater have been restored (the latter to accommodate the Museo de Historia de Ponce), other houses are being repainted in pastel shades, streets have been made into pedestrian areas (for example the Paseo Peotonal Atocha and Callejón Amor), and the large, air-...

Panoramic Route

Heading east from Mayagüez is the Panoramic Route which runs the whole length of Puerto Rico, through some of the island’s most stunning scenery. It passes through the Cordillera Central, with large areas of forest, and there are several excursions to various countryside resorts. Despite the fact that you are never far from buildings, schools or farms, the...

North Coast Road

Route 2, the main road in the north, runs from Aguadilla through Quebradillas to Arecibo, then through urban areas to some extent from Arecibo and completely from Manatí to San Juan. South of Quebradillas in the Montañas Aymamón is the Bosque Estatal de Guajataca, a dry forest with a large number of bird species, on Route 446. There are over 40 walking...

Mayaguez

Mayaguez is a crowded city with little of interest to the tourist. There are botanical gardens, at the Tropical Agricultural Research Station, near the University of Puerto Rico. Free. Monday-Friday, 0730-1630. The city also has a zoo. Adults US$1, children US$0.50. Tuesday-Sunday, 0900-1630. The tourist office is in the Municipalidad on Plaza Colón but...

La Parguera

Further west is La Parguera, originally a fishing village and now a popular resort with two paradores, guest houses, fish restaurants, fast food outlets. Noisy on holiday weekends. Fishing, kayaking, mountain biking and other activities are offered. Nearby is Phosphorescent Bay, an area of phosphorescent water, occurring through a permanent population of...

El Yunque

El Yunque (see also Flora & Fauna), or Caribbean National Forest, is a tropical forest and bird sanctuary. El Yunque is reached via Route 3 from San Juan towards Fajardo, and then right on Route 191. The forest is divided into north side and south side, with no road connection. After a series of landslides everyone has given up and Route 191 is...

Eastern Tour

An interesting round trip through the east half of the island can be done by a series of públicos from San Juan – Río Grande – Luquillo – Fajardo – Humacao – Yabucoa – Guayama – Cayey – Aibonito – Barranquitas – Bayamon – San Juan. If travelling by car, a variant between San Juan and El Yunque takes you on Route 187 from Isla Verde, outside San Juan, to...

Boqueron

On the south side of the west coast is Boquerón, in Cabo Rojo district, which has an excellent beach for swimming. It is very wide and long, admission US$1, parking for hundreds of cars, camping, changing rooms, beach and first 30 yards of sea packed with bodies on holiday weekends. About one and a half kilometres away across the bay is a beautiful,...

The Interior

Out of the metropolitan area, ‘on the island’ are a variety of excursions; as it is a small island it is possible to see forested mountains and desert-like areas in only a short time. However, because the public transport system is rather limited, it is difficult if not impossible to visit some places without a rented car (see Getting Around and Before...