A stay in Puerto Rico will satisfy wilderness enthusiasts who are ready to hike, raft or to go spelunking. Travel through lots of postcard landscapes that ivite you to dive, surf, fish and discover extraordinary animals. Despite its intense tourist traffic, the island has remained the wild land once discovered by Christopher Columbus: a mantle of tropical forest bordered by heavenly beaches.
Puerto Rico remains today this wild land, at the border of the Arawak and Caribbean worlds, dotted in its center with mountains covered with tropical rain forests. The island has especially kept its divine beaches of clear and fine sand like flour, often planted with coconut trees, and its warm waters ideal for swimming.
In memory of the Hispanic past, Old San Juan, one of the most beautiful jewels of Hispanic colonial architecture (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), is adorned with fortresses and old churches. Fortifications and paved alleys create a setting worthy of a Caribbean pirate film.
Ponce, in the center of the south coast, is the second largest city on the island with more than 200,000 inhabitants. It is rich in beautiful neoclassical architecture and several museums, including its colorful striped fire station, a true emblem of the city.
La Puerta del Sol collects enchanting diving spots and sublime beaches with the islets of Mona and Desecheo offshore. Mona is known as the Galapagos of the Caribbean because of its giant iguanas, some of which reach a whopping six feet in length. Sea turtles, seabirds and humpback whales also live in this area. Coral reefs, mangroves, cliffs nearly 230 feet high, huge underwater caves and sparkling beaches make up a morning scenery of the world, barely awakened by the fires of an old 1900 lighthouse.
Rincon, just north of Mayaguez, is a popular surfing spot. The island's contours can be discovered by kayaking, while its forest is explored by hiking. Extraordinary tracts of tropical forest have been preserved, such as El Yunque, which is irrigated by 20 feet of annual rainfall! Not to mention the Río Camuy Cave Park, an inextricable labyrinth of underground caves considered the third largest in the world by its size and the length of its galleries.
In the West, visit the Arecibo astronomical observatory, whose giant radio telescope, lost in the jungle, is the scene of the final scenes of "GoldenEye", the first James Bond with Pierce Brosnan.
The 165 miles of the Ruta Panoramica from Maunabo in the east to the charming Mayaguez in the west, passing through the Cordillera Central, offer breathtaking panoramas, even if its curves are not always easy to tame... The show is dazzling, with 360° views linking the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea.