Caribbean Tourism

Puerto Rico

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...

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...

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...

Culebra

Culebra about 11 kilometres long and five kilometres wide, is even better than Vieques, with less petty theft, less heavy drinking, more peaceful, better choice of accommodation and more absolutely beautiful beaches. The island is poor, with very high unemployment; most people who have jobs work for the municipality or in construction. The climate and...

Shopping

Puerto Rico is a large producer of rum, with many different types ranging from light rums for mixing with soft drinks to dark brandy-type rums (see Food & Drinks). Hand made cigars can be found in Old San Juan and Puerta de Tierra. There is a place in the bus station complex in San Juan where cigars are rolled using Dominican leaf, which is better than...

History

Columbus, accompanied by a young nobleman, Juan Ponce de León, arrived in Puerto Rico on 19 November 1493. Attracted by tales of gold, Ponce obtained permission to colonize Boriquén (or Boriken), as it was called by the natives. Boriquén (later altered to Borinquén in poetry) meant ‘land of the great lord’ and was called that because of the belief that the...

Government & Economy

Government Puerto Rico is a self-governing Commonwealth in association with the USA (Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico). The chief of state is the President of the United States of America. The head of government is an elected Governor. There are two legislative chambers: the House of Representatives, 51 seats, and the Senate, 27 seats. Two extra seats...

Golf & Other Sports

Golf There are 14 golf courses around the island of which six are professionally designed championship courses. The Cerromar and Dorado Beach hotels in Dorado have excellent 36-hole championship golf courses; among the 18-hole courses, Berwind Country Club accepts non-members on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, Palmas del Mar (Humacao), Club Riomar (Río Grande...

Places to Eat - Vieques

Almost all of the island’s restaurants are part of a hotel or guesthouse listed above. There are numerous small places offering take out or eat in sandwiches, hamburgers, barbecue chicken, etc. In Esperanza Inn on the Blue Horizon has Cafe Blu for fine dining, open Wednesday-Sunday 1800-2200, lunchtimes Saturday, Sunday, reservations recommended, T7413318,...

Places to Eat - San Juan

Old San Juan Fortaleza, Fortaleza 252. For Puerto Rican cuisine. Bistro, C Cruz 152. A pleasant, small restaurant and bar with tasty local food at reasonable prices. Chef Marisol, C Cristo. California cuisine with imported ingredients, including imported fish. La Mallorquina, San Justo 207, T7223261. The oldest restaurant in the Caribbean. Recommended. Also...

Places to Eat - Ponce

The restaurant of the Melia Hotel is good (look out for the ‘Breaded Lion’ on the menu), there is a vegetarian restaurant in the Plaza del Mercado shopping centre, Calle Mayor, 4 blocks northeast from main plaza. Fast food places on main plaza.

Places to Eat - Mayaguez

The Vegetarian Restaurant, C José de Diego. Open 1100-1400. Fuente Tropical, same street. Run by Colombians, good fruit shakes and hamburgers. Recomeni, C Vigo. Good inexpensive food, open all hours, eat in or takeaway.