Breathtaking Journey: 5 Reasons to Go to Puerto Rico
Amazing tropical paradise Puerto Rico fascinates immediately and forever: kilometers of snow-white beaches, eternal summer surrounded by monuments of the colonial era create a real paradise for those who always wanted to feel like a treasure hunter!
Because of its small size, Puerto Rico is very convenient for traveling by car. Moreover, the island has its own airport, where you can pick up Payless car rental at SJU immediately upon your arrival.
The local culture was evolved from the mixing of Indian traditions, the long influence of the Spanish colonialists, as well as the customs of the African population, brought to the island as free labor. As a result, Puerto Rico has become the bright and distinctive country to which you want to return again and again. Well, why do thousands of tourists choose Puerto Rico for a getaway at any time of the year?
Where, if not on the shores of the Caribbean, you can truly enjoy a beach holiday? Puerto Rico is among the greatest spots for this: the beaches stretch along the entire coastline, there are lonely towns, noisy youth places, beaches for those who want to “catch the wave” or explore the richest underwater world.
If the purpose of your trip is golden tan, then go to the center of beach life – Vieques Island. It’s also famous for its unique natural attraction – the Mosquito Bay, where glowing plankton creates an amazing night show.
Perhaps the major highlight of Puerto Rico can be safely called the nature of the country. Humid tropical climate without significant seasonal fluctuations formed there ideal conditions for the growth of tropical forests. Thus, it’s recommended to visit the untouched corner of this world in El Yunque National Forest.
Want to feel the spirit of the country? Then go to its capital, the city of San Juan. A walk through the historic center, the Old Town, will tell more than any guide book: that’s why this area is called an open-air museum. It’s worth paying attention to the fort Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, which since 1539 served as the main defensive fortress. Today, this fortification complex is open to the public and even listed as a UNESCO cultural heritage site.
You shouldn’t leave Puerto Rico without tasting the famous Bacardi rum, which is the country’s iconic alcoholic beverage. This is best done at the existing plant, where you won’t only get to know about its history, but also see the whole manufacturing processes.
Unique cultural features
Noisy and temperamental Puerto Ricans inherited their passionate temper from Spanish ancestors, and even today, being under the control of the United States, retain a national flavor. From the first minutes on the island, you will feel sincere hospitality, especially if you just as honestly admire the local beauty. The local population is very musical: the rhythms of salsa, reggae and calypso still sound in every corner of the island.
The dominant religion of the islanders is Catholicism. However, the religious traditions of the Indians and African spiritualism are woven into it. Communication for Puerto Ricans is the basis of life, and not only the verbal component is important, but also sign language, facial expressions and emotionality. Despite the preservation of cultural identity, the influence of the United States still affects different spheres of life: strict observance of laws, a high level of education, excellent roads and infrastructure that are difficult to meet in other Caribbean countries.
The world-famous cuisine of Puerto Rico has immediately Indian, Spanish and African roots at once. On an everyday table, the soup is the major local dish, and even the same recipe, each housewife prepares in her own way. The classic black bean soup will be an excellent option for those who are not used to exotic dishes.
(photo by Leadership Programs)
Puerto Rican cuisine offers a huge selection of dishes for meat lovers: numerous stewed pork dishes, beef, baked chickens and meat pies have become an echo of Spanish cooking, unusually complemented with local traditions. Puerto Rican Beef Stew is a satisfying solution that knows no competitors at the local dinner table. Those travelers who want to pamper themselves with the best should pay attention to the signature dish of most restaurants – the Caribbean lobster.
Black Puerto Rican coffee completes the meal and has become a national drink. Freshly squeezed juices from local fruits and iced tea are indispensable delicacy in the heat. Unusual coconut-based desserts, sweet cakes and candied fruit also wait for a special attention of all the sweet teeth!
Shopping in Puerto Rico cannot boast of something special, however, the low tax rate makes many purchases profitable. In the elite shopping center Plaza Las Americas situated in the island capital you’ll find almost all global brands, while in the souvenir shops of the Old Town, skillfully made gizmos of local craftsmen are offered – ceramics, quality hammocks and coconut masks.
(photo by Carfer Lamor)
Shops are open from Monday to Wednesday from 9 am till 7 pm, Thursday and Friday – until 9 pm, and on Saturday the marketplaces are available only until 5 pm.