Puerto Rico is an island getaway with something for everyone – stunning beaches, uncompromising luxury, adventurous outdoor activities and flavourfull nightlife. Puerto Rico also boasts 23 golf courses, many championship-level, countless tennis courts, horseback riding outfitters, deep-sea fishing opportunities, watersports of all types, and 17 spas.
The beach at Isla Verde, which fronts the Atlantic Ocean, is just a five-minute cab ride from San Juan airport, and boasts a line of major hotels, a beautiful powder-white beach, crystal waters and easy access to Old San Juan and other cultural, dining, shopping and dancing attractions. Another popular destination is Condado Beach, with a natural rock barrier protecting Condado Lagoon. The 21 x 4 mile island of Vieques is no longer a proving ground for the US military, and the underdeveloped islet now offers postcard-perfect strands of sand, winding roads through forests chock full of tropical birds – and wild horses, quaint inns, a major resort and a laidback pace.
San Juan, founded by the Spanish in 1521, is the oldest city in the United States, but Old San Juan is even more ancient. The remains of Juan Ponce de León, who founded the original settlement, rest in the San Juan Cathedral, a 1540 structure of Gothic architecture. Old San Juan comprises seven square blocks of cobbled streets and colonial architecture – ideal for walking. Highlights are El Morro and San Cristóbal, huge stone fortresses that guarded the city from attack by enemy nations and pirates. Some of the best museum can be found here; the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture; La Casa del Libro; and the Las Américas Museum.
San Juan offers a stylish shopping, dining and nightlife scene, while on the southwest coast is the city of Ponce and the seaside town of La Parguera, famous for its bioluminescent bay. Porta Del Sol, on the west coast, is known for its low-key ambience and Rincón is a charming city popular with windsurfers. A zoo enchants visitors of all ages in Mayagüez. El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and combines three types of forests (rain, montane and dwarf). The area boasts two waterfalls and 50 varieties of ferns, 20 types of orchids, and dozens of species of birds and frogs.