Puerto Rico has long been known for its gorgeous beaches, tropical breezes, and vibrant culture. It’s no wonder that the region has been nicknamed the Island of Enchantment. This moniker is more than a catchy slogan – it’s reflective of the island’s rich history, natural beauty, and diverse communities. Whether you spend your time wandering the colorful streets of Old San Juan, exploring the lush rainforests of El Yunque, or relaxing on one of the island’s stunning beaches, Puerto Rico offers a wealth of unique experiences.
The island is not without its challenges, of course. Puerto Rico has made headlines for its devastating hurricanes and struggling economy. In spite of these difficulties, Puerto Ricans continue to celebrate their unique heritage and share their hospitality with the world.
Relax on Some of the World’s Most Stunning Beaches
Puerto Rico is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches on the planet. Each comes with its own unique character and charm. Popular resort beaches on Condado and Isla Verde offer easy accessibility, sparkling water, and waiter service – is there anything more luxurious than having a cocktail delivered to your beach chair? We think not!
Of course, if you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path, head to the secluded coves of Vieques and Culebra. Flamenco Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world. The crescent-shaped paradise features soft white sand and crystal clear waters. Luquillo Beach offers gentle waves and picturesque palm trees. Surfers will delight in the waves found along the shores of Rincon and Aguadilla. With an average temperature of 80°F year-round, Puerto Rico’s beaches are the perfect destination for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports.
Experience the Island’s Rich Culinary Heritage Through Its Delectable Cuisine
If you’re traveling to Puerto Rico, be sure to bring your appetite. The local cuisine blends Spanish, African, and indigenous Taino influences, resulting in a unique blend of ingredients and flavors. Savor a wide range of traditional dishes like mofongo, a mashed plantain dish filled with meat or seafood. Pastelillos are also worth sampling – these savory turnovers are filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables.
Of course, you can’t visit Puerto Rico without trying the region’s famous rum. The piña colada is said to have been invented here. Visit the Bacardi Rum distillery for a tour and a tasting. Street vendors, markets, and a wide array of restaurants offer plenty of opportunities to sample regional specialties and learn about the island’s rich gastronomic history.
Deaverdura is one of Old San Juan’s most beloved eateries. The no-frills restaurant offers up quintessential Puerto Rican food cooked to perfection. Douse your meal in their signature cilantro sauce – it’s garlicky, herbaceous, and incredibly addictive. The sampler platter is our recommendation. Featuring tostones, sweet plantains, pork, two kinds of sausages, pasteles, rice/beans, and corn fingers, the platter is certain to satisfy.
If you’re in search of fine dining, head to Jose Enrique in Condado. Named for its founder, chef Jose Enrique, the restaurant offers a sophisticated take on traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. The menu features a range of dishes that highlight the island’s culinary heritage, such as the mofongo with skirt steak, crispy pork belly, and seafood paella. The restaurant also offers an impressive selection of wines and cocktails to complement its dishes. With its sleek and elegant decor, impeccable service, and mouthwatering food, Jose Enrique has earned numerous accolades and a reputation as one of the best restaurants in Puerto Rico.
Discover Your Adventurous Side in the Paradise of Puerto Rico
Snorkeling in Icacos is a popular activity for those visiting Puerto Rico. You may recognize it as a shooting location for movies like Pirates of the Caribbean. This small, uninhabited island off the eastern coast of the mainland is surrounded by crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life. Explore the coral reefs and swim alongside schools of tropical fish, sea turtles, and even rays.
The calm and shallow waters make Icacos an ideal destination for beginners, but there are also plenty of deeper areas for more experienced snorkelers to explore. East Island Excursions offers a fantastic guided tour with lunch and cocktails included. With its stunning natural beauty and abundance of marine life, Icacos is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an unforgettable snorkeling experience in Puerto Rico.
Adrenaline junkies will enjoy the many opportunities to jet ski around the island. With the sparkling blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, jet skiers can enjoy breathtaking views of the island’s coastline and soak up the warm tropical sun. Adventurous riders can also venture further out to explore nearby cays and secluded beaches. Archie Jet Ski, based in Isla Verde, offers guided tours for first-time riders eager to experience the island’s natural beauty and satisfy their thirst for adventure.
Fall in Love with Puerto Rico
A sunset cruise around Old San Juan Harbor is the perfect way to end your trip. The Amazing Grace schooner offers stunning views of the historic city from the water, as well as breathtaking sunsets over the ocean. The tour includes cocktails, music, and hors d’oeuvres. The tranquil setting creates a perfect romantic atmosphere. As the city lights up in the distance, couples can enjoy a magical moment together, making memories that are sure to last a lifetime. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself booking another trip back to the Island of Enchantment soon after you arrive home!
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This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex.
Chelsea DeAngio is a freelance writer based in Greensboro, NC. Inspired by a rootless childhood as a Navy brat, she enjoys traveling every chance she gets. Pop culture often drives her trips. Whether channeling her inner Lady Mary at Highclere Castle in the UK or noshing on nachos at Showgirls filming locations in Vegas, Chelsea is always in search of a little silver screen glitz.