Boulevards & Byways

Postcard from Puerto Rico

Island of Adventures

I’ve loved this mesmerizing island for many years. The beaches go on for miles and that shimmering aqua water soothes my soul. But it’s also an island with a swaggering history, a culture rich with pride, and to top it off, an abundance of eco-friendly adventures.

I woke up in New York and by noon I was on the beach. A four-hour flight was all it took, and since PR is a US territory, no passport is required for US citizens! This postcard from Puerto Rico, an island of adventures, highlights my favorite things to do.

One of my favorite things to do is to take a leisurely stroll through Old San Juan. I can never get enough of the candy-colored 16th and 17th century Spanish Colonial buildings.

Culture and history are found throughout the lively streets of Old San Juan.

El Morro and San Cristobal are two historic forts, guarding the city, with stunning views to the expansive ocean. While you won’t find pirates here today, they’re evident through the island’s fascinating history.

Fort El Morro with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Nature and outdoor adventure are plentiful throughout the island. I ventured into the northwest hills to the town of Arecibo and explored the Window Cavea, better known as Cueva Ventana. After a 20-minute hike, I discovered the cave gave witness to an exhilarating and breathtaking panoramic view of the countryside and beyond.

View from La Cueva Ventana is spectacular!

If that’s not enough, the Arecibo Observatory, the world’s largest radar/radio telescope, nestled in the tropical mountains of northern Puerto Rico was another site I visited nearby.

Visiting Arecibo Radio Telescope is a fascinating experience.

This 1,000-foot diameter dish keeps us safe from asteroids, has beamed a three-minute pictorial message 23,000 light-years away, and assisted in numerous notable discoveries. Exploring the Arecibo Observatory was one of my favorite activities and should be on your list too when visiting the island.

Cooling waterfall and swimming hole of El Yunque is a refreshing treat.

El Yunque National Forest, in Rio Grande, is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System. It was a misty day, and the fog parted to reveal the tops of the majestic mountains. One path, the foliage covered with verdant cascading blooms, and dainty flowers, led to a cooling pool, as the waterfall gushed from the steep mountaintop. My body and soul, awash with peacefulness.

Then there are the Bio Bays -glow-in-the-dark bioluminescent bays – only five in the world, and Puerto Rico has three of them each explorable by a kayak tour.

Accommodations in Puerto Rico are varied and plentiful. High-end resorts on the beach in Condado and Isla Verde offer every amenity imaginable, mid-priced hotels in the heart of Old San Juan offer convenience to history and culture, while quaint guest houses in the smaller towns like Luquillo offer a more local flavor.

Responsible and eco-friendly tourism continues to support the island which is why I’m embarking on a snorkeling adventure with Pirate Snorkeling Shack later today and taking a surfing lesson tomorrow.… I’ll fill you in on my next adventure the next time I write.

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