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Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Travel Guide

Why Puerto Rico?

  • Esperanza Phosphorescent Bay
  • Golf! Challenging courses at Hyatt's Cerromar and Dorado Resorts
  • Historic Old San Juan
  • Exploring Vieques Island
  • Camuy Cave Park, one of the Western Hemisphere's most extensive cave systems.
  • Food, nightlife, casino action and shopping

Puerto Rico Island Guide

Puerto Rico, with its modern capital, clean beaches, and tropical climate, is an ideal destination for a Caribbean getaway. If you've been dreaming of a trip with these features, then a villa in Puerto Rico can turn your dreams into reality. The information contained under the tabs on this page will tell you more about the island and how you can plan an unforgettable vacation there.

Puerto Rico Weather/Climate

Average Temperatures
Highs Lows
January 83 ° F 71 ° F
February 83 ° F 71 ° F
March 84 ° F 71 ° F
April 86 ° F 73 ° F
May 87 ° F 75 ° F
June 88 ° F 77 ° F
July 88 ° F 77 ° F
August 88 ° F 77 ° F
September 88 ° F 77 ° F
October 88 ° F 76 ° F
November 85 ° F 74 ° F
December 84 ° F 73 ° F

Average Rainfall
January 4.28
February 4.21
March 4.25
April 6.57
May 7.68
June 2.98
July 4.56
August 6.68
September 8.36
October 8.91
November 7.58
December 6.01

Overview

From laid back to beachfront deluxe, Puerto Rico is an island offering so many vacation experiences that it calls itself "The Continent of Puerto Rico." Want to be waited on hand and foot or would you rather forego the air conditioning for the rustic reality of a rural parador out on the island? In the busy capital, San Juan, you'll find sightseeing attractions, luxury hotels, superb restaurants, exciting nightlife, and dazzling casinos. Out in the countryside, the mood is quite different--it's another world, several other worlds, actually. Spanish colonial towns, a lush rain forest, quiet seaside restaurants and golden beaches await you.

The island has a rich Spanish heritage that fascinates visitors. Following the Spanish-American War in 1898, Spain ceded the island to the United States, and in 1917 Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship. Today, there is a harmonious mingling of Spanish and American cultures.

The spirit of the colonial period is most evident in Old San Juan, where numerous historic sites and monuments have undergone restoration in an effort to preserve Puerto Rico's rich heritage. The fortress walls that guard San Juan's harbor at Fort San Cristobal are notable as a strategic masterpiece with its 17th Century military design and an intricate network of tunnels. Castillo de San Felipe del Morro is a commanding six-story fort with towers and dungeons to explore.

A combination of mountain ranges and the prevailing trade winds divide the island into several climate zones. A lush tropical jungle covers the eastern mountains as the peaks are drenched in rain and shrouded in the cloud forest at El Yunque. See brightly colored parrots, fragrant orchids and over 200 species of tropical ferns and trees. Popular hiking and walking trails take you through forests and gardens to cascading waterfalls. North and west of the mountains, short grasses and cacti mark the landscape.

San Juan has grand beaches for sunning and clear waters for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports. Along the island's 272 miles of coastline you'll find beaches dotted with swaying palm trees and private sandy coves. The continental shelf that extends along three sides of Puerto Rico offers an abundance of coral reefs, caves, sea walls, and trenches for scuba divers to explore. Boating, fishing, and sailing trips are readily available all around the island.

Away from the water there is plenty of activity too. Golf, tennis, horseback riding, hiking, bicycling, and that old favorite, shopping is available in San Juan and around the island. Artisans' shops and craft centers display many artworks that portray life on the island. There's even horse racing at the El Comandante.

You can dine in cosmopolitan style in San Juan where resorts and international restaurants feature sophisticated ambience and formal service. Some of the island's best restaurants, known as mesones gastronomicos (gastronomic inns) are outside the San Juan area; they feature local specialties at quite reasonable prices.

Visitors enjoy Puerto Rico's tropical climate year-around. Average coastal temperatures are a comfortable, 75-83 degrees Fahrenheit; slightly cooler in the evenings and in the mountains. Summer highs can hit 95 degrees Fahrenheit, but the eastern tradewinds keep the air moving. Average annual rainfall is 62 inches, with susceptibility to summer storms and hurricanes from August-October.

Whether you choose to spend your vacation at a sleek resort in the capital or at an unpretentious inn in the island's traditional countryside, it probably won't take you long to discover why Puerto Rico is one of the most popular Caribbean destinations. Lying 1000 miles southeast of Miami, 80 miles east of the Dominican Republic and 50 miles west of the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico is the easternmost and smallest of the Greater Antilles. Three small offshore territories flank the main island: Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. Immerse yourself in this creative culture as you explore the historic sites and peaceful countryside of this fascinating island.

Top 5 Things To Do

Top 5 Thing to Do

Bioluminescent Bay

Kayak through a glow in the dark picture. It is incredible!!!

Hidden along the Caribbean coast is one of the most spectacular Bioluminescent Bays or Phosphorescent Bays in the world. The mysterious blue-green light is created by micro-organisms (dinoflagellates) which thrive in an environment uniquely suited to their needs. A trip into the bay is a magical experience. Fish flash by in dark water, and as you glide through in your kayak, it's moving through a glow in the dark picture. It is incredible!!!

Top 5 Thing to Do

Yunque National Forest

Tropical hike to cascading waterfalls

With 13 well maintained trails that cover 23 miles of varied terrain, Yunque National Forest is a hikers dream. You'll also find cascading waterfalls, rivers and streams that collect into pools. Great for picnicking and a cool dip. The park is managed by the U.S. Forest service. They educate visitors about the tropical forest using interpretive displays, discussion and brief movies. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Top 5 Thing to Do

Isla Culebra

Excellent snorkling and you can swim with the sea turtles

Culebra's rugged countryside, beautiful beaches and small-scale tourist industry make the 25-square-mile island a Caribbean treasure for travelers. At only 7 miles long by 3.5 miles wide, it is no wonder it's also called "Isla Chiquita". There is no run-off from streams and rivers, so the water is crystal clear and great for snorkeling coral reefs and swimming with a variety of sea creatures. This is one of only two nesting sites for giant sea turtles in the U.S. Culebra has 23 offshore islands which form a miniature archipelago. Coral reefs in this area are considered some of the most spectacular of the entire Caribbean. In 1909 a bird refuge was established here and is protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a nature preserve. To get here from Puerto Rico, take a private boat or quick flight 17-miles off the eastern coast.

Top 5 Thing to Do

Camuy Caverns

Explore our cavernous underworld

Hop on the tram and explore Río Camuy Park's great subterranean caverns carved out by the Camuy River over one million years ago. Rio Camuy Cave Park is the third-largest underground cave system in the world. Inside the incredible 268-acre park a guide will provide information on tropical surroundings and the caverns. There are also picnic areas, walking trails, food facilities, an exhibition hall and a souvenir shop, making it the perfect place to spend the day. Reservations are recommended. The park is open Wednesdays through Sundays (and holidays) 8am to 4pm. Advanced cave explorers can arrange for special tours and rappelling trips through undeveloped sections of the caves.

Top 5 Thing to Do

Arecibo Observatory

The world's largest radio telescope

Arecibo Observatory houses the world's largest single-dish radio telescope. The dish spans 20-acres in diameter! Visitors are astounded by the enormous size of the dish made up of almost 40,000 perforated aluminum panels. There is a 900-ton platform built over the reflective surface which is set in a sinkhole 450 feet below. Scientist from around the world use this telescope to study the properties of planets, comets and asteroids, faint pulses emitted hundreds of times per second from pulsars, galaxies and quasars at the farthest reaches of the Universe. There is an exhibit and audio-visual show designed to educate the public on the basics of astronomy and provide information about this gigantic radio telescope.

Transportation on Puerto Rico

Getting to Puerto Rico and getting around. Our transportation tips will help make your trip smoother. More good sand advice.

Entry Documents

U.S. citizens do not need passports but citizens of other countries need a visa. U.S. citizens do not even need to clear customs when entering.

Airport

San Juan: Luis Muñoz Marín Airport;Ponce: Mercedita Airport;Aquadilla: Rafael Hernandez Airport

Departure Tax

Included in air plane ticket

Driving

On the right - valid driver's license required.

Puerto Rico Weddings and Honeymoons

Vacationers don't just stay in Puerto Rico villas - they come to paradise to get married and celebrate their honeymoons! Visit the Dept. of Health in Santurce to pick up a marriage application or request one in writing(allow two months). Write to the Dept. of Health, Demographic Registry Office, Box 11854, Fernandez Juncos Station, Santurce, PR 00910.

See our favorite villas for weddings.

See our favorite villas for honeymoons.

Know Before You Go...® - Puerto Rico Travel Tips

Before making their way to Puerto Rico villas, vacationers like to know a little bit of helpful information to make them feel more at home during their stay. Take a look at our travel tips to make your time in villas in Puerto Rico even more relaxing.

Capital: San Juan
Population: 3,700,000
Size: 110 miles long and 35 miles wide; 3,515 square miles.
Electric Current: 110
Time: 13:05 pm zone:-4 (GMT/UTC -4)
Official Language: Spanish and English
Telephone: Local area code is 787

Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association

787-758-8001
www.prhta.org
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