Summer is around the corner and the temperatures are heating up. Pools are the best option to just take a dip on a hot day but it will never compare to soaking up rays along the beach followed by a nice dip. I have been dreaming about life in the tropics. The smell of the salty breeze accompanied by the melodic crashing of the waves has been taking over my thoughts lately. Ok, enough about me.
Do you feel the same way? Are you looking for a tropical getaway without having to step so far away from your comfort zone? Look no further and consider Puerto Rico. The enchanting island of the Caribbean is the solution. I have way more reasons than I can count, but we will stick with only 5 today.
Puerto Rico is a territory of the US so you do not need a visa to visit. You are able to fly in and out of the island from the major airports or grab connecting flights from Atlanta or Florida. Most airlines offer reasonable rates so you can book without any hassles. As with any destination costs will be depend on the season you intend to travel. You can feel confident that you will be able to obtain what you need just like at home.
Fun fact : When flying into Puerto Rico you will be on a Domestic flight but when you exit it is considered an International flight. Why is this important? You get to enjoy some purchases at the Duty Free before your take off. I strongly suggest splurging on the local rum. Our best kept secret is Don Q which is locally made and enjoyed by the locals. Don’t worry if you have never heard of it. Just trust me, we export Bacardi for a reason.
Dollar Dollar Bills Yo
The currency is the same as the US. No need for fancy conversions to decipher the right amount of money for your purchases. Feel free to fly in with some cash and use your normal credit cards without any hassles. Enjoy your vacation and don’t worry about understanding what is the local currency. The current tax is 11.5% and also be prepared to pay a little more for some items. This is completely natural considering Puerto Rico is an island and the majority of the items need to be shipped or flown in so merchants need to account for those costs. Aside from that you will be able to find familiar stores and retail chains. Sadly there is no Target but you will be able to find similar stores.
Spanish, English and Spanglish
Spanish is the official language of the Puerto Rico but the many of the citizens can speak English. This will definitely depend on the city you are in. There is city on the west coast that is composed of many expats that have chosen to live life in a more relaxed manner. This town is known for the surfing and harbors many impressive surf spots. The locals that are not fully fluent they will make up for by finding someone who can help translate.
Puerto Ricans are known for their hospitality and will go out of their way to make you feel like home. Spanglish is a very common slang that has been adopted into the island’s vocabulary. You will read and hear folks talking about the Parking, Lighters amongst other popular terms. Check it out for yourself and see how many terms you can pick up.
Take a deep breath of fresh air
Puerto Rico is a tropical island that measures 100 by 35 miles and is surrounded by beaches so you have plenty to choose from. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach or indulge in some water sports you can take your pick. It all depends on what you are in the mood for because there is a beach for that. The options are endless from Stand Up Paddle board, Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga, Kayaking, Kite Surfing, Surfing, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling or more.
If you are into hiking, the luscious Rainforest, El Yunque provides an array of trails to trek upon. No matter how intrigued you are to venture off the trail you should never do that. It is a sure fire way to get lost. Not an extensive amount of terrain to cover but enough to be dangerous. Don’t worry, it is nothing like the Amazon where you can encounter venomous animals.
If you are into Ecotourism then you have reached the ideal island. Puerto Rico boasts the longest zipline in the universe has been certified by Guinness World Records. The Monster, as it has affectionately been named, has a cable that is 2.5km long. If you are wondering how long that is in English you need to picture a football field. Now multiply that football field by 28. Yes, it is as long as 28 football fields. This is definitely for those brave souls but they have some tamer courses if you want to work your way up.
Last but not least is the Food. One of my favorite reasons to visit any destination. I know it is also one of yours is even if you are adventurous or not 🙂 The best way to truly get a sense of any culture is to try their local cuisine. Their blend of spices is what truly sets them apart. Puerto Rico offers a variety of fresh seafood you can enjoy and I strongly suggest you do as long as you are not allergic. If that is not your jam, then you need not worry. You will definitely be able to find dishes you are familiar and that will suit your mood. I recommend you put your comfort zone to rest for a bit and check out the places the locals frequent. Then and only then will you get a real taste of authentic meals.
If you are into fresh fruit and vegetables you are in luck. They are abundant year round but avocados have a peak season. You do not want to miss out on this avocados. Trust me, you will thank me later. Fresh juices are also abundant in Puerto Rico. Local orange, grapefruit and pineapples are another source of delicious goodness. Once you have a tall glass of fresh coconut water you will never be able to go back to the packaged versions.
I could go on and on about Puerto Rico but I am keeping this list at 5. I’m ready to relax on the beach and enjoy the soothing sound of the waves crashing on the shore. I would love to hear about your experience if you have visited Puerto Rico. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest : How ready are you to jump on a plane to Puerto Rico?
I’m putting together some travel guides on how to live like a local and in Puerto Rico.
Stay tuned for those. Join me on my journey!