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Unforgettable Puerto Rico Vacations

Unforgettable Puerto Rico Vacations

by Kevin Patterson

A sunny Caribbean beach, inviting turquoise waters and a fabulous hotel are enough to make most beach bunnies happy. If these features have you yearning to escape your cubicle, then you can rest assured knowing that a Puerto Rico vacation will more than exceed your expectations with 270+ miles of the best sand around. Whether you intend to surf, snorkel or simply laze the day away with an umbrella drink, you'll see why locals call it Isla del Encanto, or the Island of Enchantment!

When you visit Puerto Rico, save time for all the things to do in San Juan. Start with Old San Juan and a tour of Castillo El Morro and Castillo San Cristobal, the two mighty forts that preserve the legacy of the conquistadors. But you'll also love the historic streets of Old San Juan, with its well-preserved colonial buildings, some dating back to the early 16th century. Outside the ancient city walls, the fashionable neighborhood of Condado offers world-class shopping and dining.

Ready to hang 10, where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean, is a world-famous surfing destination, with major waves from October to April. In the summer, the wave action calms and this is the spot for snorkeling or catching a trophy-sized fish with a deep-sea fishing charter. And for something special, plan your trip to include a night without a moon so you can fully experience the wonder of Bioluminescent Bay where microscopic organisms emit a glow that illuminates the water for your nocturnal water-based adventures.

And while you're enjoying your visit to Puerto Rico, spend a day in the only tropical rain forest that is a part of the US National Forest system, El Yunque. Take a ranger-led tour or just hike on your own to see waterfalls and the interesting ecosystem. Science geeks will gush over a trip to Arecibo Observatory, home of the world's largest radio telescope, the same one seen in Contact and 007-Golden Eye films.

Adults who enjoy rum are going to want to see why Puerto Rico calls itself the Rum Capital of the World by touring the Bacardi rum distillery. The tour is free and includes two drinks. Or better yet, look for an ambassador for the Rums of Puerto Rico in tourist venues like Pier 4 to enjoy free samples! If you haven't over-indulged yet, then there may still be time to test your short game on one of the island's 24 golf courses. Many are championship quality, and they have the virtue of landscapes backed by the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the lush El Yunque rain forest.

Your Puerto Rico vacation can be filled to the brim with things to do in San Juan or nothing to do on one of the pristine beaches. From the 500-year-old Old San Juan to the newest luxury resorts, Puerto Rico is an enchanting blend of the modern and the tropical.