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Planning a Vacation to Puerto Rico
The Island of Puerto Rico
Like Hawaii, Puerto Rico is more than one island. It is not a state but a territory. The people of Puerto Rico have had an increasing interest in converting Puerto Rico from a territory to the 51st state of the United States. The President also reflected the desires of the Puerto Rican people to become a state in his suggestion to Congress to consider it, in December of 2012.
The Taino people, the indigenous people of Puerto Rico, were all but wiped out after the arrival of Columbus and other Europeans, from conflict, enslavement and from illness brought to them by foreign influences. Slaves were brought from Africa and settlement made by persons from various European countries over the centuries. After hundreds of years, the multiple cultures have resulted in a strong, resilient, and passionate people. Today, Puerto Ricans have a strong sense of their culture and great pride in the USA.
Where Is Puerto Rico?
This island is a compilation of islands. There is the main island called Puerto Rico, with local nicknames. Then, there are the smaller islands, each with their own names: Vieque, Culebra, and Mona. A part of the United States, Puerto Rico is located in the Northeast corner of the Caribbean east of the Dominican Republic and west of the US Virgin Islands. It was acquired by the United States Government when Spain lost Puerto Rico in her defeat at the end of the Spanish-American War.
Why Visit Puerto Rico?
From ancient times to now, the people of Puerto Rico are from a vibrant culture, full of music and dancing, excellent cuisine and carnivals . Historical sites are full of one of a kind experiences. Additionally, Puerto Rico is a lesser priced island location, compared to the other Caribbean choices. You can get more bang for your buck without skimping on beautiful beaches and historical value.
When To Travel To Puerto Rico
The rainy season is during the summer season so going during the summer months (June, July, August) is not the best choice but may get you the best "off season" rates. However, the best weather happens between April and June. Puerto Rico, being located in a tropical zone has a temperate climate that stays fairly constant, with very slight changes. The temperature is generally in the 80's any time of year but June tends to be the hottest month annually, in the high 80's.
Where To Visit In Puerto Rico
Here are a few historical sites to wet the appetite:
- San Juan Cathedral - The location of the grave of Ponce de Leon.
- El Yunque National Forest - This is the only rainforest in the United States.
- Plaza Colon in Mayaguez - A main square with 19th century bronze statues, including one of Cristopher Columbus, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1493 and it's also the location of holiday street parties. The statue remains controversial.
- Plaza de San Josem - Another main square but this time sporting a statue of Ponce de Leon.
Puerto Rican Beaches
Here is a short list of the area beaches:
- Luquillo Beach (30 miles from San Juan) - a family beach suitable for small children
- Rincon, Isabela, Aguadilla - surfer sister-beaches, known as the Caribbean Pipeline, with up to 20 foot waves
- Pinegrove Beach (near airport) and Condado Lagoon (near hotel strip) - good locations for wind surfing
- El Convento Beach (main island) and Flamenco (on Culebra) - beaches for the snorkelers
- Ocean Park Beach (San Juan Coast) - attracts gay and straight singles and less families converge, as the swimsuits are very skimpy on this beach