Puerto Rico Feature
Top Things to Do in Puerto Rico
Hang 10 in Rincón
The laid-back beach resort of Rincón, on the west coast, is Puerto Rico's capital of wind-and-wave action. Winds off the Mona Passage whip up whitecaps year-round, especially November though March. Serious surfers will want to bring their own boards, but outfitters are there aplenty. El Rincón Surf Shop can also supply cool beach duds. The crowd is predominantly young and party focused, with dozens of bars and restaurants for après-surf action. Nearby Playa Jobos, at the northwest tip of the island, gives Rincón a run for its money.
Try Your Hand for the Big One
When talk turns to the big one that got away, forget it! The waters off Puerto Rico teem with feisty game fish just waiting to get a bite of your hook. Take your pick of where to set out from: Fajardo and La Parguera are both great bases. Regardless of season, there's sure to be dolphin fish, tuna, wahoo, and sailfish to wrestle. In September you can cast for a champion trophy during the International Light Tackle Blue Marlin Tournament.
San Juan National Historic Site
The U.S. National Parks Service maintains this huge colonial military complex, comprising Castillo El Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal. A visit to Old San Juan is not complete without exploring these twin fortresses. Park rangers offer fascinating tours of the tunnels, cannon batteries, and barracks, which today feature museum pieces recalling a once-glorious past.
El Yunque National Forest
Pack your raingear and hike the crown jewel of Puerto Rico's national parks—carpeting the slopes of the rugged Luquillo Mountain Range. From the El Portal Visitor Center, the Sendero El Yunque climbs 1,365 feet through an eerie cloud forest. This 2.6-mile trail puts you atop the summit at 3,496 feet. When it's clear the 360-degree views are spectacular. Add a twist to your return hike by diverting along Forest Road 10 to the Mt. Britton observation tower, resembling a castle turret. A spiral staircase leads to a viewing platform.
Puerto Rico's best beach? Ask the thousands of sanjuaneros who fly or ferry out to the isle of Culebra on weekends and holidays. Long and broad enough to absorb the masses, this visual stunner tempts disbelief with its bright white sands and waters of Maxfield Parrish blues and greens. Snorkeling is tops thanks to an offshore reef, and when the wind is up, surfers are thrilled by the action.
Parque de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy
Puerto Rico has some of the deepest and longest caves in the world, and it's a special thrill to rappel down a cliff-face to enter Cueva Camuy. Donned with life jacket and lamped helmet, you'll ever remember the 250-foot rope descent, Spider-Man-style into the gaping mouth of the Angeles cavern. Dripstone formations take on surreal forms in the cool, moist depths, where you slide down mud chutes and body raft in the care of experienced guides. Aventuras Tierra Adento offers trips.
Bioluminescent Bay, Vieques
A remarkable natural wonder, Vieques's world-famous Puerto Mosquito bay will make you giggle with childlike glee. Microscopic organisms that live in the lagoon light up around your kayak, enveloping you in a neon-like spectral glow. Choose a moonless pitch-black night for best effect. The experience is well worth the journey to Vieques, even if you do nothing else here. Several operators on the island offer trips.
If this space-age facility deep in the mountains of northwest Puerto Rico looks like something from a sci-fi movie, it is. Contact, with Jodie Foster was filmed here. The view over the 1,000-ft.-wide dish (the largest such telescope ever built) is a jaw-dropper. The visitor center doubles as a superb museum on astronomy, the atmosphere, and Earth.
The Ruta Panorámica
Puerto Rico's interior is a beautiful mountainous region with cooler climes and splendid climbs. The Ruta Panorámica, is network of roads that snakes through the entire region. Some are nicely maintained, others are little more than gravel. But the "Panoramic Route" lives up to its name, providing eye-catching vistas around every bend of the road. It's an exciting journey that reveals an enthralling vision of Puerto Rico undisclosed to those who don't venture beyond the city and shores.
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