Puerto Rico is an island getaway with something for everyone – stunning beaches, uncompromising luxury, adventurous outdoor activities and flavourful nightlife. Puerto Rico also boasts 23 golf courses, many championship-level, countless tennis courts, horseback riding outfitters, deep-sea fishing opportunities, watersports of all types, and 17 spas.
The beach at Isla Verde, which fronts the Atlantic Ocean, is just a five-minute cab ride from San Juan airport, and boasts a line of major hotels, a beautiful powder-white beach, crystal waters and easy access to Old San Juan and other cultural, dining, shopping and dancing attractions. Another popular destination is Condado Beach, with a natural rock barrier protecting Condado Lagoon. The 21 x 4 mile island of Vieques is no longer a proving ground for the US military, and the underdeveloped islet now offers postcard-perfect strands of sand, winding roads through forests chock full of tropical birds – and wild horses, quaint inns, a major resort and a laid-back pace.
San Juan, founded by the Spanish in 1521, is the oldest city in the United States, but Old San Juan is even more ancient. The remains of Juan Ponce de León, who founded the original settlement, rest in the San Juan Cathedral, a 1540 structure of Gothic architecture. Old San Juan comprises seven square blocks of cobbled streets and colonial architecture – ideal for walking. Highlights are El Morro and San Cristóbal, huge stone fortresses that guarded the city from attack by enemy nations and pirates. Some of the best museum can be found here; the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture; La Casa del Libro; and the Las Américas Museum.
San Juan offers a stylish shopping, dining and nightlife scene, while on the southwest coast is the city of Ponce and the seaside town of La Parguera, famous for its bioluminescent bay. Porta Del Sol, on the west coast, is known for its low-key ambiance and Rincón is a charming city popular with windsurfers. A zoo enchants visitors of all ages in Mayagüez. El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and combines three types of forests (rain, montane and dwarf). The area boasts two waterfalls and 50 varieties of ferns, 20 types of orchids, and dozens of species of birds and frogs.
Airports: US: Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, San Juan (SJU). Rafael Hernandez, Aguadilla (BQN). Mercedita, Ponce (PSE). Others: Antonio Neri Juarbe, Arecibo (ARE). Antonio Rivera Rodriquez, Vieques (VQS). Benjamín Rivera Noriega, Culebra (CPX). Diego Jimenez Torres, Fajardo (FAJ). Eugenio Maria de Hostos, Mayagüez (MAZ). Isla Grande Airport, San Juan (SIG).
Ferry Services: Public ferry: San Juan – Cataño; Fajardo – Culebra; Fajardo – Vieques. Hi-Speed Island Ferry: San Juan – Culebra – Vieques (In High Season). Ferries Del Caribe: Mayagüez – Santo Domingo.
Gateways/Flying Times: There are no direct flights from the UK, however, there are connecting flights from other European cities including Madrid, Paris and Brussels. Flights are also available via several US cities – American Airlines fly from Heathrow via Miami, New York or Chicago. Continental and Delta Airlines fly from Gatwick via Newark and Atlanta and US Airways via Philadelphia. Miami: 2.5 hours. New York: 3.5 hours. Chicago: 4.5 hours. Newark: 3 hours. Atlanta: 3.5 hours. Philadelphia: 3 hours.
The average temperature in the winter is 73 F (22.7 degrees Celsius) and 85 F (29.4 Celsius) in the summer with year-round pleasant sea breezes. In the mountains, it is about 10 degrees cooler in both summer and winter. Average humidity is 55% during the day and 80% at night. Average rainfall is 52 inches and the rainy season is at its peak in August.
Restaurants available – Spanish. American. Nuevo Criollo/Creative Latin Food. Continental. South American. Italian Oriental. Puerto Rican dishes. French. Japanese. Chinese. German. International. Delicatessen. Greek. Health and Light. Mexican and Sea Food. Recommended tipping is 15%. Informal evening wear is often required at particular establishments; this usually means jackets for men and equivalent for women.
Spanish and English are the official languages.
Entertainment available includes – Casinos. Nightclubs. Discos. Cabarets. Dinner/Dance. Cinemas. Theatres. Live Music. Folkloric Shows. A variety of bars in Old San Juan.
Historic Old San Juan including El Morro Fortress; Casa Blanca, the ancestral home of the Ponce de Leon family; La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere; Plaza San Jose; Pablo Casals Museum; Quincentennial Plaza; San Juan Cathedral; Plaza de Armas; Paseo de la Princesa. In Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second city, Plaza Las Delicias, Parque de Bombas Firehouse, Casa Armstrong-Proventud, the Ponce Museum of Art, the Museum of Music, Serralles Castle (rum museum) and El Vigia. Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve. Arecibo Observatory. Phosphorescent Bay in Parguera and the Guanica and Guajataca Forest Reserves. El Yunque Rain Forest. Rum distilleries. Rio Camuy Cave Park. Hacienda Buena Vista (restored coffee plantation) near Ponce. Tibes and Caguana Indian sites in Ponce and Utuado
– Caribbean Tourism Organization