My first blog on Puerto Rico was about the most striking features of Puerto Rico (Old San Juan and bio-luminescence experience), but there’s much more to the Common Wealth of PR. It’s an island, so you might be wondering why I did not talk about the beaches, the water activities and its scenic locations. Well, this blog has information about all those as I relinquish memories of my Puerto Rican vacation with insights and tips for all the avid nature lovers.
El Yunque Rainforest:Lush green mountains, pretty waterfalls and the murmur of Coquí! That’s how I would describe the El Yunque tropical rain forest. For those of you who are intrigued by the word ‘Coquí’, it’s a frog native to Puerto Rico, a frog that sings!!! While you are driving in PR, especially at night, you get to hear Coquí sing. We heard it quite a few times when we visited El Yunque. We made a day trip to El Yunque for hiking the waterfalls. La Coca and La Mina are the two main ones and swimming is only allowed at La Mina. There are quite a few hiking trails in El Yunque but we decided to pick the ones that led to the waterfalls 🙂
Beaches:Plenty of them, but here are my recommendations. Luquillo Beach for its calm waters. This beach is perfect for swimming. More importantly, you have to visit the beach for its food kiosks. I believe there are about 100 kiosks that serve local food. We had a gala time at Luquillo. If you are interested in watching wind surfers, Pine Grove beach would be your best bet. Some other good ones are beaches in the Isla Verde area as well as the Condado Lagoon.
Rio Camuy Caves tour: The cave park is in northeastern Puerto Rico and is about an hour’s drive from San Juan. The caves and the Arecibo observatory can be covered on the same day since they are close by. The only way to see the caves is to take their guided tour. I have done a lot of cave tours and Rio Camuy was no different for the most part. Most caves would make you feel a bit claustrophobic, but Rio Camuy has 2 huge openings and there is plenty of light coming in at a few places. You get to see the Rio Camuy river towards the end of the tour. I guess because I have been to so many caves, I was not thrilled by Rio Camuy. But if you have not been to too many, it’s worth a visit!
Arecibo Observatory: The observatory holds a humongous radar-radio telescope and is famous because it is one of the largest single aperture telescope. We went there mainly to view the enormous disk-shaped telescope, but there is a museum there too in case you are interested.
The surrounding islands of Vieques and Culbera: Vieques is probably considered to be one of the most romantic places in the world. It was a tough choice when we had to decide between visiting the beautiful and turquoise blue beaches of Vieques for a day or spending the day covering more of Old San Juan. We have been to quite a few exotic beaches so M and I unanimously (that does not happen too often!!!) decided to keep Vieques for another time and spent the day in Old San Juan. Although we did not visit either of the islands in our 6 day trip to Puerto Rico, the blog would definitely be incomplete if I did not put the word out for people who might be interested in the beaches more than the old town. Vieques apart from being a pretty island is also home to the brightest bio-luminescent bay called “Mosquito Bay”. Culebra has some good snorkeling options too. I believe Flamenco beach on Culebra is quite famous! I know it’s just a few words here and there for the 2 islands but since I did not visit them, I don’t know a lot about them.
To summarize, Puerto Rico was different from my other beach destination trips because of lively Old San Juan and the bio-luminescence experience, but there’s plenty to do there be it for the adventurer in you or the party-goer in you or the nature lover in you or the water-lover in you!