Although its part of the USA, Puerto Rico has a distinct Caribbean twist. While the American influence is at times all too obvious, heading a little off the beaten track one can find a more authentic, hispanic culture. There's flights to Puerto Rico from a huge variety of destinations, hence it's one of the Caribbean more popular islands.
Puerto Rico's Best Beaches
On the North coast of the island, the sea is a lot rougher - as such most of the beaces here are less crowded.
Isla Verde is a decent beach near San Juan, while nearby Luquillo beach is a little less crowded. There's a lot of hotels in San Juan, which is the capital centre and hub of tourist activity - many visitors stay on this part of the island.
Probably the most picture perfect, relaxing beach is Flamenco beach on Culebra Island (see photo to the right).
Puerto Rico offers some decent surfing beaches - consider Pine Beach Grove (Isla Verde) and La Pared in Luquillo. For windsurfing head to Condado Lagoon, Boqueron Bay or Ocean Park beach.
Activities, Tours & Best Things to do
1. Visit the Tibes or Caguana Indian Ceremonial Centres for displays of traditional Amerindian culture and society.
2. Head to Mona island for some lovely beaches populated by huge iguanas and a plentitude of bird life.
3. Go rafting or explore the caves and pre-columbian art around Rio Camuy.
4. Many a deep sea fishing record has been set in Puerto Rico, and the excellent fishing remains a prime reason to take a vacation in Puerto Rico.
5. There's also a plentitude of top quality golf courses - over 20 it total.
6. Horseriding is also a popular activity in Puerto Rico - the country prides itself on it's many paso fino horses.
7. Visit El Yunque National Park -a huge park of tropical rainforest with much birdlife and other wildlife to see.
8. Just relax and appreciate Puerto Rico's lovely beaches.
Where to Stay - Hotels in Puerto Rico
If you're on a budget, there's very few options for you. Your best bet might be to find a bed and breakfast (B&B) or cheap hotel in San Juan. The cheapest hotels in Puerto Rico cost from $50 minimum - most being larger, luxury all inclusive resorts. Look a little harder though and you will find a range of smaller, more intimate luxury hotels.
San Juan is the capital city. The old quarter is a charming old blend of cobblestone streets, but the modern section is a less attractive, sprawling city. The international all inclusive resorts in San Juan are huge, and sometimes lacking in character. Many cater for package tourists.
Fajardo is a boating centre with various marinas and fine beaches nearby. There's various enormous all inclusive resorts nearby.
The South East of Puerto Rico is less touristy and one of the prettiest regions. Patillas, Maunabo, Guayama and Punta Guilarte all offer more intimate, smaller hotels in Puerto Rico.
Almost all the major American airlines offer flights to Puerto Rico. Airlines that fly from Europe include Condor and Iberia. From elsewhere in Latin America, Copa has flights from Panama, while LIAT and American Eagle offer flights to other destinations in the Caribbean.
Flights within Puerto Rico are offered by both American Eagle and Vieques Air Link - San Juan, Ponce and Mayaquez are served.