Caribbean Tourism

Communication

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...

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...

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...

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...

Guánica

Going west from Ponce is Guánica, the place where American troops first landed in the Spanish-American war. It has an old fort from which there are excellent views. Although Guánica has a history stretching back to Ponce de León’s landing in 1508, the first of many colonist landings in the bay, the town was not actually founded here until 1914. For details...

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...

Accommodations

The summer season runs from 16 April to 14 December and is somewhat cheaper than the winter season, for which we give rates where possible. An 11% tax is charged on the room rate in hotels with casinos, 9% in those without casinos. There are 18 Paradores Puertorriquenos to put you up while touring, some old, most new, some quiet and peaceful (for example...