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Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is technically considered part of the US, but it is also a Caribbean country. Therefore, visitors from the US do not need a passport and the currency is the US dollar. Some of the resorts will take Canadian currency as well.

A visit to Puerto Rico can only be described as a dream vacation. There are literally hundreds of beaches and so much to do that there is no possibility of being bored. Just about any watersport you can mention is available, as well as numerous golf courses and casinos. The greatest historical attraction is Old San Juan, with San Juan, itself, being the major city on the island. You are never more than a few hours away from any part of Puerto Rico, so you can use San Juan as your base for touring the rest of the island.

Rent a car or use the public transportation when you want to move about. In Old San Juan, the best way to see everything, though, is on foot. If you don?t want to drive to the other end of the island there are two airports here, so you can take a flight.

With coffee plantations that are several hundred years old, a tropical rainforests, caves and petroglyphs carved on huge boulders by the ancient Taino peoples there is plenty to see and do.


Historic Attractions

Old San Juan is the historic center of Puerto Rico. The European presence here dates back to the exploration by Christopher Columbus and his presence is still felt in the many statues about the town. There are many historic churches, such as the Capilla de Cristo, built in return for a miracle and the Catedral de San Juan, originally begun in 1540. See the circular staircase, the beautiful stained glass windows and the wax-covered mummy of Padre Pio.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a fort standing at the entrance to San Juan Bay. Even today, you can still see the many turrets and towers of this fort, with its intricate labyrinth of dungeons, barracks and other rooms. Fort San Cristobel is one of the largest Spanish forts ever built in the New World. It dates back to 1634 and its walls rise more than 150 feet above sea level.

Other important sites within the town include the city walls, San Juan Gate, Casa Blanca - the home of Ponce de Leon, and the oldest mansion ? La Fortaleza.  There are also many museums where you can see artefacts of the Taino peoples and the history of Puerto Rico.

Outside the main center, in the towns all over the island, there is also a wealth of history. In Ponce, a must see is the Iglesia Porta Coeli (the Gateway to Heaven), the oldest church in the New World. Casa Morales ? a house built in Edwardian style, is also located in this town. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadelupe and the Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center with over 180 skeletons.


Accommodations and Dining

Accommodations in Puerto Rico range from the very expensive to inexpensive. It really depends on whether you want to rent a villa, stay in a small inn or on a posh resort. Everything you want is available and only depends on your taste and budget. The same range of prices exists in restaurants with facilities for fine dining as well as take out. Since this island is part of the US, you will find such places a Burger King and MacDonald?s if you would rather stick to the tried and true.


Nightlife

With the many casinos and nightclubs, you will not be bored when the sun goes down. Dance until dawn to the sounds of reggae, calypso or a DJ with the latest hits. San Juan is the major nightspot with such an array of nightly entertainment that you will have to sit back and consider where you want to go.

Of course, you don?t always have to go to nightclubs either. There are many art exhibits, performing arts and theatre for you to enjoy. The Teatro Tapia, the oldest theatre in the Western Hemisphere has many cultural and musical events at various times of the year.


Shopping

Puerto Rico is the destination of choice for those who enjoy shopping. Local handicrafts, such as carved wooden figurines of the saints are always in demand. There are malls and markets galore where you can virtually buy anything you need, whether it is designer clothing or small souvenirs.

 

 

 

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