Caribbean Tourism

Travel Information

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...

Vieques

Vieques a peaceful, relaxing, low-key island of rolling hills, is located 11 km across the sea from Puerto Rico. It was catapulted into the limelight in 1999-2000 when locals campaigned for the removal of the US military from their bases at the east and west ends of the island. The island is about 34 km long by 6 km wide, the inhabitants mostly concentrated...

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...

The Southeast

One of the prettiest parts of Puerto Rico, which should be visited, lies south of Humacao, between Yabucoa and Guayama. Here are the villages of Patillas (público from Guayama) and Maunabo (público from Patillas, and from Yabucoa). There are a number of restaurants in this area, especially on the coast, which sell good, cheap food. Yabucoa is the east...

San German

Inland from La Parguera, off the main Route 2, San Germán has much traditional charm; it was the second town to be founded on the island and has preserved its colonial atmosphere. It is an excellent base from which to explore the mountains and villages of southwest Puerto Rico. The beautiful little Porta Coeli chapel on the plaza contains a small, rather...

Rincon

Going north from Mayaguez, you come to Rincon, on the westernmost point of the island. Here the mountains run down to the sea, and the scenery is spectacular. For a great view visit the Punta Higuera Lighthouse, built on a cliff overlooking the surf where the Atlantic and Caribbean meet. It was refurbished in 1993 and offers a wonderful panoramic view of...

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...

Mona Island

Mona Island, 80 kilometres west of Mayagüez, is fascinating for historians and nature lovers, with turquoise sea and white sand. Originally inhabited by Taino Indians and then by pirates and privateers, it is now deserted except for its wildlife. Here you can see one-metre-long iguanas, colonies of sea birds and bats in the caves (possibly pirates too). 60-...

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...