Why not trade the cold and snow for sunny and tropical instead? If you’re looking to travel to some place exotic, but don’t want to fly across the globe to find that place, consider Puerto Rico. Just a little over 1,000 miles from Florida, Puerto Rico is a 100×35 mi paradise full of breathtaking scenery and exciting things to discover. Here are three top places in Puerto Rico you may consider looking into while you plan your winter escape.
Fun fact – the island of Puerto Rico was originally called San Juan Bautista, and the capital was called Puerto Rico, which means rich port. Today, it’s the other way around, San Juan is the capital and the most populated municipality of the island. It makes up most of the Metropolitan area.
Aside from great hotels, beaches, and fine dining, the district of Old San Juan is a tourist favorite and a must-see location within San Juan. Take the time to walk through the historic cobblestone streets dating back to the 16th and the 17th century. Enjoy your afternoon stroll with a piragua (Puerto Rican version of shaved ice) on one hand and a map in another. Bask in the sun while discovering numerous historic landmarks and local shops.
Another area worth visiting in San Juan is the colorful neighborhood of Santurce. This is an emerging cultural hub where you will find beautiful murals painted by international renown street artists who over time have fallen in love with the island.
Ninety miles away from San Juan, another vacation spot awaits. It may seem far from the capital, but it is totally worth it. You can either rent a car and drive to Rincón from San Juan while enjoying the beautiful scenery across the island, or you can book a quick flight from San Juan to the neighboring municipality of Aguadilla.
In Spanish, Rincón means “corner,” and that’s exactly where this municipality is located, in the north west corner of the island. Due to its geographical location you can enjoy underwater activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving through one of the most thriving underwater reefs located in the Puerto Rico trench (the deepest point of the Atlantic Ocean). Winter months are also Rincón’s surfing season, so you’ll be able to catch some awesome waves while avoiding the chilly waters. If you travel closer to the month of February you just might be one of the lucky ones who get to witness the humpback whales crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
Puerto Rico may be the smallest island out of the Caribbean’s Great Antilles, but don’t forget it’s not just one island. It’s actually an archipelago of tiny islands surrounding the main island of Puerto Rico. One of those islands is called Culebra.
Culebra, also known as Snake Island is about 17 miles away from the east coast of the main island, and can be reached via private boat or ferry. It is the least populated municipality of Puerto Rico with less than 2,000 inhabitants.
Culebra is classified as a natural reserve and it is the home of one of Puerto Rico’s oldest bird sanctuaries and turtle nesting sites. The best thing to do in Culebra is relax in its white sandy beaches. Flamenco Beach is the most popular beach there. It ranked number three in Tripadvisor’s Best Beaches in the World 2014 list.