PUERTO RICO was once marketed as a “Continent”. Some people laughed, but I’m guessing those folks never actually traveled to La Isla del Encanto and enjoyed a good bit of her less obvious charms. If they had, they’d know this remarkable island boasts a broad and dynamic collection of vacation experiences worthy of a land mass way larger than its 3,515 square miles. The swanky hotels, sexy beaches and legendary nightclubs of San Juan garner much of the headlines, but that’s not even half of what makes Puerto Rico so special. For Uncommon Travelers, the real soul of the island lies well outside the bright lights of the Big City; in mountain communities like Jayuya, fishing villages like La Parguera, surfing areas like Rincon and colonial-era towns like San Germán, the third-oldest city in the United States. The natural wonders along Puerto Rico’s unbeaten paths are nothing short of amazing, offering experiences not found too many other places on earth. The Rio Camuy Caves, the world’s third largest cave system carved out by the world’s third largest underground river, tops the list, but El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest included in the U.S. National Forest System, isn’t too far behind. Or, how about the Guanica State Forest, the best-preserved dry forest in the Caribbean? Or the fact that three of the five bioluminescent bays found anywhere in the world are here? Incredible!
Any time you visit Puerto Rico, though, San Juan is impossible to ignore. But, if you can focus your urban activities to the oldest section of the city, you really won’t regret it. Old San Juan is a living, breathing museum of Spanish colonial history, seasoned with healthy doses of fine art, fashion, inventive gastronomy and music. Few places are more inspiring to those driven to create, its cobblestone streets, ancient architecture, colorful legends and stately Churches fueling an untold number of creative works for hundreds of years.
Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas in English) is the national dish of Puerto Rico. My Titi Elsa's version is simply the best.
Barely into 2020, but the new year has already brought fire, war, and the Puerto Rico earthquakes. But, in this case, there's something you can do to help.
Garita del Diablo (Devil's Sentry Box) at Castillo San Cristóbal in Old San Juan has been off limits for hundreds of years. There's a haunted reason why...
Santurce street art isn't meant to simply dress up the neighborhood. In fact, it's no stretch to say that the art helped to save the neighborhood.
Ostra Cosa will make you blush. Fine art and aphrodisiacs are said to be the order of the day at this stylish eatery set in the heart of Old San Juan.
Strolling colorful streets like Calle De La Luna in Old San Juan just a few weeks ago left me awe-struck at Puerto Rico's resiliency.
Designed in the tradition of the Umbrella Sky Project, El Paseo de Sombrillas symbolizes all that makes Puerto Rico uniquely vibrant, fun, and resilient.
On my last visit to Puerto Rico, just five months post-Maria, I didn't stay long enough to get a sense of the recovery. This trip will be different.
Los Chupacabra barely scratches the surface on the strange encounters recorded in El Yunque, the massive, mystical rainforest in Puerto Rico over the years.