I said I was going to explain my Top Ten Destinations and here it is; why I chose each one. You can read a bit about Puerto Rico as an introduction point here in case you’ve never heard about us before or just want a little refresher.
San Juan is the go-to place if you want to experience Puerto Rico in all it’s glory. It’s not that the capital is/has everything, but it certainly condenses the feel of the island. There is good food in every corner, great drinks, pubs, amazing views and historic places. All of that sprinkled with pretty people.
Ponce is, in my opinion, the second town of the island with the most cultural and historic structures. It’s a huge town and I’d say you need at least three long days to get the best of it, but it has something to offer for everyone. Coffee plantations, the finest rum distillery of the island, castles, museums, a terrific coast and good food. I’ve never actually stayed in Ponce and should.
Vieques is for me, one of the treasures of the island. You could hop in a car, go around Vieques and have it covered in about four hours, but you wouldn’t want to. In every single corner of the island there is a magazine-worthy beach waiting for you to dip your feet in. The principal/commercial street has so many restaurants and offerings that you can spend a day just hopping from one to the next one. Sunsets are magical in Vieques and I swear the breeze that runs through there has something that makes you younger and happier just by sitting outside watching the sea.
We have a bioluminescent lagoon there too (one that shines blue and has the most amount of microorganisms from all three of our bio bays, my favorite, though I should note that a couple of years ago an american tourist was bitten by a shark in the tour -first time that ever happened- and I’m pretty sure they now prohibit swimming in the lagoon as part of the tour. If I was given the chance, I would pay triple to swim in the water) and you can get pretty close to nature if you can get yourself away from the shores of the beach.
I call it The Big Green. This is the National Forest that was nominated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It’s the only Rainforest in the caribbean and if you want to have a VERY close encounter with native species and our green side, you hike this place and it pretty much envelopes you with it’s luscious green treetops. There are several water falls through the forest and you can also just chill in the freezing water.
Hidden in the middle of nowhere, Jayuya is the place you want to visit if you want to feel like a rural-born Puerto Rican. Thin, super wavy roads, little shacks where smoked pork is made, coffee, a forest and lots of really historic, cultural bits for nerds, like me. A lot of the history of our island’s struggle for independence is recorded in a few small museums here.
You have been working like crazy, connected to social media, in front of a computer for weeks and suddenly your body begins to yearn for something refreshing and soothing… like a perfect sunset on a beach shore while drinking a deliciously refreshing cocktail, there could be music or just the sound of the palm trees and seashore: you are dreaming of Rincón. Total and complete switch off from daily life, so many places to sit, eat and drink that you can’t even choose one. Set your camera to get some awesome sunset pictures.
Barranquitas. In the center of the island is this small town that’s full of mountains. And food. There’s a restaurant called Vaca Brava that serves you the whole rib cage of a cow, for example. There’s also the San Cristobal Canyon, the biggest canyon in the Caribbean. A true beauty to behold.
This is the place for history. You want to know how Puerto Rico has fought it’s way politically through it’s years, the changes that our society has gone through, the political roots of our history, why we talk like we talk; spend a day in Lares. You can also shop some awesome handcrafts from crafters from all the island and listen to some great typical music if you visit on the weekend of El Grito de Lares (Lares’ Scream). I’m not going to hide the fact that I love Lares because part of my roots come from there.
There was a time when I thought Camuy was pretty much the last place I would take someone if I wanted to show them the island, but with the years I’ve come to appreciate the fact that the caves pretty much make the place and that’s fine. The trip to the caves can be fun from any part of the island and getting there makes it worth it.
Amazing scuba and snorkeling spots? Crystal clear waters? White sand? Great boat rides? Uninhabited islands where the only sounds you will hear (besides the seashore) are the ones you make? Yes. We can show you it. In abundance.
(In case it is not obvious, I’m not recommending nor have I been endorsed by any hotel/travel service/tour service featured in any link, I’m just making a reference to the information regarding each town or spot.)