Light up Puerto Rico's bioluminescent bays
Join the rapidly growing number of travelers who consider Puerto Rico to be among the best vacation destinations in the United States. As a US commonwealth, the exotic Caribbean Island uses U.S. currency, so you won't have to worry about exchanging your money. Both Spanish and English ring out around the streets of Puerto Rico, the lush greenery of Bosque Nacional El Yunque rainforest stretches for miles, and beaches adorn the coastline where sunbathers can see islands glistening out to sea. U.S. citizens do not require passports to visit Puerto Rico either, making it a welcoming, easy-access paradise for adventures or leisurely days.
Things to see in Puerto Rico
Of a handful of bioluminescent bays on Earth, Puerto Rico boasts three. Best seen from non-motorized craft or snorkeling at night, these bays host microorganisms that positively glow with life. Laguna Grande is situated on the northeast shore while Mosquito Bay is just off a small island to the southeast. La Parguera, Puerto Rico's third bio bay, is on the southwest coast. The gentle motion of paddles or flippers triggers the otherworldly light.
Capital of San Juan
As the commonwealth's capital and the island's most populous city, San Juan has grown into a global destination. A historic metropolis with nearly 400,000 residents, San Juan was founded in 1521 and constitutes the island's center of commerce, finance and culture. As you explore the Old City and the harbor, imagine what Christopher Columbus found as he sailed in centuries ago.
Puerto Rico's El Yunque National Forest is the sole rainforest in the U.S. Forest Service system. Situated in the northeast of the island, El Yunque houses the elegant waterfalls of La Coca and La Mina, picnic benches and cooling rivers where you can swim, plus hiking trails for budding adventurers.
Caribbean Islands can certainly show off about their chief attraction —the utopia of beaches. For a bit of privacy, get away to Flamenco Beach, located on the Isle of Culebra, about 20 miles to the east of the big island. For a San Juan beach experience, check out Condado where tanning, water sports and beach bars collide.
Where to stay
Puerto Rico hotels accommodate travelers willing to splurge as well as those on a stricter budget.
Dorado Beach ranks at the top of the list for luxury destinations. It is located on protected land along Puerto Rico's north shore and features miles of sandy beach, secluded lagoons and nature trails.
Among moderately-rated places to stay, resorts and hotels in less visited hubs such as Vieques Island and Rincon Beach are good choices. Isolated beachfront restaurants, swimming pools and water sports provide all the amenities you need at a moderate price.
Those who prefer the buzz of city living could consider San Juan itself. Many accommodations here are set close to restaurants, casinos and shopping, including the Marriott Resort and Casino, which is near the Museum of Art, and El Canario by the Lagoon, where private balconies look out across the vibrant Condado neighborhood.
How to get to Puerto Rico
More than 588 direct flights from major U.S. cities bring visitors to Puerto Rico weekly. Thousands of cruise passengers visit the Caribbean Island each day as well. Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) in San Juan is the main hub while Rafael Hernandez International (BQN) serves the west coast.
Puerto Rico enjoys a tropical marine climate with moderate temperatures averaging 80 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at higher elevations. Relative humidity hovers around 80 per cent.
Hurricane season extends from June to November, but visitors can still enjoy a summer or autumn vacation if they watch the weather reports. Peak vacation season runs from mid-December to mid-April, when higher rates rule.
* Prices reflect the lowest "base rate" found over the next 30 days. Rates are subject to change and may not include taxes and fees, hotel service charges, extra person charges, or incidentals, such as room service. All rates are displayed in USD unless otherwise noted. Converted rates are provided for your convenience. They are based on today's exchange rate, but the hotel will charge you in the local currency.