A car is essential if you want to explore this area, and a road map is a must in the Cordillera Central; GPS systems are not always reliable. The well-maintained and scenic Route 10, which can be accessed in Arecibo, is a main link to the central mountain region. The Ruta Panorámica runs east-to-west across the island and near some of the central mountain towns. It's made up of a number of small roads, many of which can be hilly and curving. Most signs in the region give a route number, rather than the name of a town. You'll also need patience in navigating the twisting mountain roads. Your best bet is to arrange for a rental car in one of the large cities on the coast, as there are only a handful of agencies in the Cordillera Central itself. If you are coming from the northern coast, you could rent a car from one of the major agencies in Arecibo or Dorado.
Rental Car Contacts
Avis. Hwy. 2, Km 81.4, Arecibo, n/a Puerto Rico, 00659. 787/880–4225; www.avis.com.