Puerto Rico’s sun-washed medley of Spanish and American influences is a paradise seeker’s pleasure dome. You can go around the entire island by car in a single day, but you better take your time. You will find coffee plantations, colonial cities, beaches, bars and restaurants waiting for you to discover them. Old San Juan, with its famous Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, is an evocative place to stroll through. Enjoy life at a different pace by hiking through the rainforest, snorkeling or bathing in the bioluminescent lagoon of Isla de Vieques.
Culture & History
Travelers in search of culture will be amazed by the legacy and history of Puerto Rico, from the magic of Old San Juan to popular art and festivals in the most remote towns. Throughout history, Puerto Ricans have received a beautiful heritage that is manifested in their customs and traditions. The great festivities of the country confirm the cultural mix that has given it its identity and that, in addition, has made Puerto Rico to be considered worldwide as a place full of life, joy, flavor and lots of parties.
Subsequently, with the nexus to the United States over the territory, the society has also adopted multiple forms of American culture. Today this region is officially known as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, due to its link with the United States. Since 1898, the island began to be owned by the North American country and now it is an associated country.
The island's culture is of the visceral kind. You'll need to search for it beyond the condo towers and congested roads, and sometimes it seems Puerto Rico does not wish to show outsiders its cultural magnitude. You'll glimpse it as sunlight sparkles across coffee plantations, or in museums celebrating everything from failed revolution to classical European painting. Puerto Rican traditions have been shaped by generations of cultural synthesis, celebration, and setback, and it emerges today as vivid and indomitable.
In Puerto Rico the portions are really abundant and it is practically impossible to stay hungry with their consistent dishes. Puerto Rican gastronomy is characterized by colorful and consistent dishes and has a great wealth of ingredients and flavors thanks to the excellent mix of cultures that populated the island throughout history. Puerto Rican cuisine is based on different types of marinated meat accompanied by rice and beans. Fried dishes are common, with banana being the most common ingredient.
Mofongo is one of the most traditional dishes in Puerto Rico and it is possible to find it in different forms. It is a kind of “volcano” with a consistent texture made from fried plantain that is filled with chicken, meat or seafood. Also, as the main base of Puerto Rican cuisine, rice is prepared in a wide variety of ways. In the case of mamposteao rice, it is mixed with stewed beans and sautéed together with pepper, ham and garlic.
Alcapurrias are the queens of the island's fritters. It is made with plantain or yucca dough that is usually filled with meat. This crunchy option is usually offered in street stalls or in places specializing in fried foods known as cuchifritos.
The architecture of Puerto Rico demonstrates a wide variety of traditions, styles, and national influences accumulated over four centuries of Spanish rule and one century of American rule. Spanish colonial, Ibero-Islamic, art deco, postmodern, and many other architectural forms are visible throughout the island. From town to town, there are also many regional distinctions.
Puerto Rico shows different styles and forms built on the country's history of more than four centuries of ancient Spanish rule, and more than a century of American rule. Old San Juan is one of the two neighborhoods, in addition to Santurce, which was part of the municipality of San Juan from 1864 to 1951, at which time the old independent municipality of Río Piedras was annexed.
With its abundance of shops, historic sites, museums, outdoor cafes, restaurants, elegant homes, tree-shaded plazas, and its ancient beauty and architectural quirk, Old San Juan is a prime location for local and domestic tourism. The district is also characterized by numerous public squares and churches, including the Church of San José and the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, which contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León.
Outdoors & Adventure
Puerto Rico inspires Caribbean daydreams for good reason: it can satisfy both the lethargic beach bum and the budding big-wave surfer – all in a long weekend. Its coral reefs host a riot of fantastical fish and the shores shimmer like crushed pearls. On some beaches, you'll have plenty of company. In other places like Vieques or Cabo Rojo, you might have some of the world's best stretches of sand entirely to yourself.
Even those who stick to the coast cannot escape the alluring shadow of Puerto Rico's thick forests, as knotted labyrinths of mangroves create crucial shoreside wildlife reserves and the green glint of the inland forested hills is rarely out of sight.
The island's dense foliage invites a perpetual mystery to blanket it, as coqui frogs chant among giant tree ferns and roots reduce so-called roads to rubble. The forests here are internationally important, such as El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the US. A journey into them guarantees to awaken the adventurer within.
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