Explore Puerto Rico: Part of America’s Caribbean
The wanderlust for more travel reaches the exotic and the unusual, but it can also be what’s comfortable and familiar. A few days can become magical, as it did for me in Puerto Rico, in what is part of America’s Caribbean.
Columbus discovered the island in 1493 on his second voyage and it is yours to enjoy today. As the plane slowed and came down to earth, I saw the amazingly clean Caribbean waters off of Puerto Rico get bluer and the reefs get larger. The sun looked warm even through the aircraft windows. What a beautiful place to arrive.
I have always loved Puerto Rico, with its degree of exoticness, within easy reach.. The US Dollar is currency and there are US sanitation and health standards. Yes, Spanish is the predominant language here, but English is well understood. Taxis are all over the island and with flat rates set when you board, there are no surprises.
My home was the luxury Ritz Carlton San Juan Resort at Isla Verde, a short ride from San Juan Airport.
Beachfront and in very good shape, the hotel offers several restaurants, a spa, local shops, a wide beach with beach services, a large pool area and even a casino.
Fortunately the casino is tucked away and not obvious.
Two points to remember here. First, only a limited number of rooms have balconies. Second, the Ritz Carlton Club on the 9th Floor, with a full range of food and beverage offerings, is well worth booking into. Of course, beyond the hotel are historic and entertaining areas to explore.
The Condado area, about fifteen minutes away, has undergone a renewal with some historic hotels, like La Concha and The Condado Vanderbilt.
The main street is now home to the most fashionable shops, with more to come. What is lacking here is a wide beach, which only occurs a few months a year. Nevertheless, for those who have other pursuits, not having much of a beach is not an issue.
A bit further you have Old San Juan which is fantastic to explore. The entire area warrants exploration, including the borders around Port El Morro Fort built in the 16th century and Port San Cristobal, a citadel built by the Spanish to defend the harbor. The El Convento Hotel was built in 1651 as a convent for Carmelite nuns.
Throughout this area are narrow cobblestone streets, elegant and historic buildings still used today for shops, restaurants and boutiques. It is a wonderful venue to get lost in.
Further afield on the island of Puerto Rico is the El Yunque Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest under America’s flag, and a spectacular daytrip to explore. The island has many other points of interests including Dorado, with the Ritz Carlton Reserve, and some of the best beaches on the island.