Puerto Rico does it better

By | Category: Travel destinations

Culebra

That’s the claim made by Puerto Rico, the Caribbean island that is part of the USA but not a state. And now it has decided that it wants more of us to visit it so expect to see newspaper, magazine and TV programmes about it. As part of that, an extra 12,000 hotel rooms are due to open this year providing extra luxury, mid market and budget accommodation.
It helps that it has a direct flight from Gatwick to the island. Other alternatives are via Madrid, Miami, Atlanta and New York and fares are about on a par with other Caribbean destinations. Needless to say, it is a preferred destination for Americans given that they don’t need visas (we need an ESTA) and the currency is the US dollar so the main airport is the busiest the Caribbean.
But whilst the feel and approach might be American there is a strong Spanish influence since the island was claimed for Spain in 1493 by Christopher Columbus and only ceded to the US about four hundred years later. It is also a big stop-off on the cruise circuit with, on average, about two ships docking every day.
But, being only 110 miles long, means that this is one destination that you can explore pretty thoroughly in the usual holiday length. If you just want a beach holiday then the west coast can provide this and the area has a strong appeal to surfers with waves up to 35 feet high. As the climate is sub-tropical, the temperature rarely drops below 20 degrees Celsius.
Just a short way offshore are different islands where turtles and dolphins can be seen and, like much of the Caribbean, sports fishing is important. Then there is Culebra, a small island that is a wildlife refuge but with secluded beaches as well.
Back on the island, travel to Cerro Punta which is the highest point at over 4,000 feet. You can either drive or hike there. From here you can get a good view of a lot of the island since it stands almost in the middle. The mountain is in the Toro Negra Forest Reserve where you can also visit different waterfalls, the highest lake in the country and even hot springs.
San Juan, the capital, combines a nightlife that is part Caribbean, part Spanish and part American so there is a range of restaurants, of clubs, of food, casinos and music that encompasses all. And the architecture reflects that as well.
For further inormation about Puerto Rico, click here.

image courtesy of www.seepuertorico.com

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