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Island Adventures In Puerto Rico

A short day trip to Old San Juan will prove to be an interesting tour through the island’s history. Strolling along Paseo de la Princesa, the Old City’s main boulevard, is a great guide to all the historic sites. This includes El Morro, an imposing fortress bordering the ocean, and Casa Blanca, the former home of Ponce de Leon. Spanish colonial architecture lines the cobblestone streets and a massive, stone wall surrounds the majority of the city.

Outside the city, you can visit many different spots that exemplify the real beauty of the island. El Yunque, the 28,000-acre Caribbean National Forest, is one of the natural wonders that attract many visitors. You can see 250 different species of flora and fauna and the four distinct landscapes include a summit of nearly 2,500 feet above sea level. The view of the island and the azure waters below is spectacular.

A not-to-be-missed adventure is the Rio Camuy Cave Park, a series of crater-like sinkholes, caves and one of the world’s largest underground rivers. Visitors can tour Cueva Clara, a 170-foot cave with amazing stalagmites and stalactites.

Stop off at the nearby Arecibo Observatory, the home of the world’s largest radar/radio telescope. Be sure to wish on a shooting star because chances are it will come true on this island of paradise.

Puerto Rico’s best diving is on the southern, eastern, and western shores of the island. A few miles off the southern shore is a 20-mile long wall where the continental shelf drops off. However, most of the resorts are located on the northern coast, so a tour of the island is suggested to cover the incredible scenery offshore.

Venture to the neighboring islands of Culebra or Vieques for beautiful beaches and good diving and snorkeling. About 40 percent of the land on Culebra is a park or national reserve including many beaches. The Culebra National Wildlife Refuge is made up of 23 offshore islands and four parcels of land on Culebra, which protect large colonies of birds and sea turtles.

Culebra has beautiful beaches, turquoise water and a magnificent coral reef. Flamenco Beach is one and a half kilometers long with white sand and turquoise water. It is almost uninhabited except in the summer months when the locals pack the beach on the weekends.

Vieques harbors one of the two luminescent bays famous for their glow-in-the-dark creatures. These microscopic wonders are best seen on a boat ride under a moonless sky.

Puerto Rico is infamous for its golf courses, so be sure to practice your swing on 21 different courses 12 of which are championship links.

The Fort San Felipe del Morro is a six story wonder. Sitting high above San Juan Bay, this historical structure was at the fore front of defending Puerto Rico. The tower has even been attacked by Great Britain’s Sir Francis Drake and American ships during the Spanish-American war. The tour even has hidden passage ways and cannons that still stand guard on the tower. Tours are available daily.

Nothing says a Caribbean trip than sampling some rum. In Puerto Rico, sample it at the largest rum distillery in the world at the Bacardi Rum Distillery. Once a year, the distillery hosts the Bacardi Arts and Crafts Fair which includes artisans and music. Tours are also given daily.

Take in some true island adventure river rafting on the Tanama River. The river takes rafters on an exciting journey through limestone hills and caverns.