It’s a chilly 14F outside and the wind is howling as we speak, which means Spring is far from being in sight. This is about the time of year I begin to tire of winter, and long for sunshine and time spent in the outdoors instead. I don’t know about you, but I can always use a good vacation, or two! The thought of my next adventure – what I want to see and experience – is sometimes all I think about.
Located in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is on top of my list of places to visit. It’s only a little under 4 hours away from New York on direct flight, no passport or currency exchange is needed since it’s an American territory, and you get the excitement of leaving the country without the major hassles of international traveling.
I thought I would put together a list of things I would like to do in Puerto Rico, and here are my 6 must-do’s:
#1: Kayak in the bioluminescent bays. They are just so fascinating! Bioluminescent microorganisms that live in the bay water emit a bluish white glow with the slightest agitation of the water. I always feel that it’s one of those things that must be seen to be appreciated. There are only a handful of bioluminescent bays in the world, and Puerto Rico has three of them.
#2: Explore El Yunque, which is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system. Apparently, El Yunque offers extensive hiking trails where you can see lush, giant foliage, unique tropical birds, and vistas of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
#3: Explore the Old San Juan, a quaint small town steeped in history and full of old world charm. Among the landmarks to visit are the 500-year old military fortress of El Morro, its sister fort Castillo de San Cristobal, and the chapels on Calle del Cristo.
#4: Visit Flamenco Beach in Culebra, an island about 20 miles east of Puerto Rico’s mainland, which was featured in the Top 10 Beaches on Travel Channel. White sand, clear warm water, and remoteness make this spot a great place to completely unplug and unwind!
#5: Sample authentic Puerto Rican foods. For me, no vacation is complete without exploring and tasting the local cuisine. I would love to try some of Puerto Rico’s best known mofongo (fried and mashed plantains topped with meat stew; friends who have tried all rave about it!), lechon (seasoned whole pig slow roasted over an open fire), and mallorca (soft sweet rolls dusted with confectioner’s sugar).
#6: Tour rum distilleries. Did you know that 70% of rum sold in the U.S. comes from Puerto Rico? I have been on wine tours before but never a tour of distilleries — it would be interesting to learn about the rum making process, sample some from local brands, and enjoy rum-based cocktails. Well, let’s just say this girl has some serious fondness for mojitos. ;)
Puerto Rico is packed with funs things to do, interesting places to see, and most importantly, amazing foods to eat!