Puerto Rico Travel Guide
Puerto Rico is a charming gateway to the Caribbean. Puerto Rico’s tropical beaches and interesting cities make the island one of the most attractive resorts in the Caribbean. Read Rantapallo’s destination guide and plan your own holiday.
Palm beaches and fascinating history
The island of Puerto Rico is located in the Caribbean Sea and is the easternmost island of the Greater Antilles archipelago. A resort of the same name can also be found in Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, but this destination guide covers Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico’s tourist attractions include a lush tropical climate, fascinating history and great diving and snorkelling opportunities. Puerto Rico’s greatest strengths can be found on its coastline. The shimmering white sand beaches pampered by the turquoise waves of the Caribbean Sea provide an ideal habitat for the beach lion.
The endless activities of the beach also counterbalance lounging in the hammock. You can take a surfboard or jet ski, for example. The underwater world can be explored with the help of snorkels or oxygen cylinders, and boat trips can take place to either admire the scenery or mock the fish of the Caribbean.
Its status as a U.S. autonomous region makes Puerto Rico an easy travel destination. Connections to the island, both directly from Europe and through the United States, are surprisingly smooth for the length of the trip. The capital, San Juan, is a typical Caribbean cruise stop and, with several cruises, the start or end port of the trip, making it easy to arrange a few days of extra stay on the island for your cruise vacation.
San Juan’s colorful Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Puerto Rico is a year-round resort
The climate in Puerto Rico is quite flat all year round. The temperature stays constantly between 20 and 30 degrees, so you don’t have to suffer from colds here. The busiest tourist seasons are the winter months from mid-December to mid-April. In summer, especially July brings a lot of tourists to the island.
The quietest in Puerto Rico is during the hurricane season in late summer and fall. The storm risk is greatest in October-November. In winter, there is no danger of hurricanes. Puerto Rico can safely be trusted to be a safe destination for the weather most of the year.
The legacy of multicultural history
Puerto Rico has been an official part of the United States since the late 19th century. Today, the island is an autonomous region of the United States with solid autonomy in its internal affairs.
The journey to this point has been a long one. Prior to the arrival of Europeans on the New Continent, the population of Puerto Rico consisted predominantly of the Taino Indians. However, the arrival of Columbus in America was devastating for the Indian people. From the time of Columbus, Puerto Rico belonged to the Spanish colonial empire, although Britain also sought the island for itself. African culture, on the other hand, landed on the island in the same way as elsewhere in America: through African slaves.
As early as the 19th century, the rise of the United States put pressure on Spanish colonial culture. Finally, in the aftermath of the war between Spain and the United States at the end of the century, the island came under the control of the latter.
A mix of cultures is constantly present in Puerto Rico. It can be tasted in food, seen in the facial features of the locals and its rhythm can be immersed to the accompaniment of Puerto Rican music.
Why is Puerto Rico not a state?
Puerto Rico is not a state, although joining as such occasionally comes up in discussions. Puerto Rico passed from Spain to the United States under the Paris Peace Treaty in 1898 at the same time as Cuba .
Puerto Rico and Cuba are often said to have siblings. There are many historical and cultural similarities between the islands, but politically, the paths between the two have, in years, gone in quite opposite directions.
Puerto Rico’s current status as a U.S. autonomous region dates back to the 1952 constitution. In internal affairs, Puerto Rico has extensive sovereignty and the island has its own parliament. Foreign policy is the responsibility of the US administration. There have been four referendums on joining the state, but so far in each of them, maintaining the status quo has remained the position of the majority.
Many practical things roll in Puerto Rico in exactly the same way as in the United States. The currency is the dollar, the units of measure are American fahrenheit and inches, the cars have American-style plates, the electrical equipment works with Yankee plugs. The exception is road signs, where distances are stated in kilometers, contrary to the American way.
The official language in Puerto Rico is Spanish, but virtually everyone also speaks English at least helpfully. Many Puerto Rican people are completely bilingual.
Shopping and nightlife
In Puerto Rico, the relaxation section of the trip can actually be performed in every corner of the island. Instead, for those looking for shopping and nightlife, head to San Juan, the island’s capital.
Of course, shopping malls can be found elsewhere on the island, but the old town of San Juan with its small boutiques in particular has an excellent offer. The selection includes small, local fashion creations as well as internationally recognized brands.
The same goes for nightlife as it does for shopping. Even smaller places do well, but in San Juan, different aspects of Puerto Rican celebration culture can be experienced overnight if they wish. The rhythm of salsa attracts tourists, but of course there are other types of trips, from rock bars to techno clubs and more intense lounge-style restaurants.