Puerto Rico is located east of the Dominican Republic and west of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea. The capital of Puerto Rico is San Juan. Besides the main island, Puerto Rico has 143 additional islands, cays and atolls. The majority are uninhabited with the exception of Vieques and Clebra. Caja de Muertos is an island that has a nature reserve located within its boundaries. Descheo Island contains a National Wildlife Refuge. Both Descheo and Caja de Muertos are uninhabited. There are over 15 protected reserves and forests in Puerto Rico. The largest national park in Puerto Rico is the El Yunque National Forest which is located in the eastern section of the island and covers 28,000 acres of the last remaining rainforest on the island. There are 3 bioluminescent bays located in Puerto Rico; Laguna Grande in Fajardo, Mosquito Bay on Vieques, and La Parguera on the main island. La Parguera is a village located on the southwestern coast and has a very extensive coral reef ecosystem.

Puerto Rico Vacation Rentals and Boutique Hotels

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Hotel Perichi's
Hotel Sleeps 216
Rates 85 - 108 USD
Casa De La Playa Cerro Gordo
Vacation Home Sleeps 100
Rates 120 - 400 USD
Mamacitas Guest House
Hotel Sleeps 40
Rates 89 - 89 USD
ESJ Towers Vacation Rentals
Condo Sleeps 6
Rates 115 - 135 USD
Fajardo Oceanfront Penthouse
Condo Sleeps 8
Rates 149 - 247 USD
Maravilla
B&B Sleeps 8
Rates 90 - 200 USD
Malibu Condos
Condo Sleeps 6
Rates 115 - 175 USD
The Fajardo Inn
Hotel Sleeps 224
Rates 85 - 125 USD
Lazy Parrot
B&B Sleeps 30
Rates 99 - 165 USD
Casa Tamara
Villa Sleeps 7
Rates 250 - 300 USD
Casa Serena Beachfront Home
Villa Sleeps 4
Rates 200 - 250 USD
Playa Almirante
Apartment Sleeps 6
Rates 215 - 235 USD
Lemontree
Hotel Sleeps 18
Rates 115 - 265 USD
Casa Isla Nena
Apartment Sleeps 15
Rates 550 - 1500 USD
Villa Nirvana
Villa Sleeps 6
Rates 325 - 475 USD
Enchanted Garden Inn
Apartment Sleeps 14
Rates 95 - 500 USD

Puerto Rico Vacations: Things to see while on vacation in US Caribbean

The wonderful island of Puerto Rico, it is truly a place that you need to experience at least once in your life. As an American, you can enjoy a tropical island paradise without even having a passport, as Puerto Rico is a protectorate of the United States. This truly amazing island is home to some of the best food, sports, culture and naturally some amazing history that spans centuries. Now is the time to head down to the island, and enjoy its laid-back culture, and amazing beaches. Make sure to bring the sunscreen, as we take you through the history, its culture, its geography and lastly some great spots you need to check out while under the Puerto Rican sun.

Puerto Rico Geography

The almost rectangular island, Puerto Rico is one of the smallest islands in the Greater Antilles. Stretching 100 miles long by 35 miles wide, the island is the most eastern island in the Greater Antilles as well. The main island of Puerto Rico is surrounded by a few other smaller islands which include Vieques, Culebra, Culebrita, Palomino (otherwise known as the Spanish Virgin Islands) as well as Mona and Monito. The coasts of the island measure almost 360 miles, and although small, the island is the third largest in the United States.
The island is very mountainous, and in fact, the interior mountains account for over 60% of its landmass. The regional coastal area is home to rain forest, deserts, beaches, caves and vast rivers. The island has three regions, the mountainous, the coastal lowlands and the karst. The mountainous interior which is dominated by the Cordillera Central mountain chain, the two largest peaks are Cerro La Punta 1338 m and Rosas 1267 m. The coastal lowlands extend between 2-12 miles inland and are home to smaller mountains, and a number of gorgeous valleys. Finally, the Karst region is home to limestone and a lot of it. There are extensive mogotes, sinkholes, caves and limestone features that have captivated photographers for years!

Puerto Rico History / Culture

The island has been inhabited since the early times of humanity in the America’s. First settled by nomadic Arawak peoples in 300 AD, the island has been a luxurious home to a number of first nation groups. The Tainos called Puerto Rico and Hispaniola home, and the group had 250,000 people on Peutro Rico alone. However, in 1493, the island would truly be changed forever, when the first Spanish explorers discovered this tropical paradise.

The Spanish quickly colonized the island and enslaved the local population. By 1508, Puerto Rico was under Spanish control, and Ponce De Leon was named the first governor of the island. The Tainos population was eradicated under the Spanish partly due to the harsh treatment by the newly established colony, and partly due to European diseases killing off large numbers of their population. As the Tainos were dying off, West African slaves replaced them in the mines and forest camps that dotted the island. The island quickly became a stronghold for the Spanish and would remain so until the Spanish-American War in 1898, where Puerto Rico would find itself under United States control.

The island then would start to become more autonomous, with the election of their own House of Representatives, their own Governor, and then given full U.S. citizenship. Today, the island is on the verge of becoming the 51st state, or full independence, but only time will tell the political future of this truly amazing island.

Puerto Rico has a rich cultural history from its predecessors. The island has its West African roots to thank for the great music that you can hear from the various beaches and clubs that dot the island. From the Spanish, the amazing cuisine and the islands love of dance. Finally, from the Americans, the great governance structure, and love of baseball. The island is truly a mecca for those who love to experience a melting pot like no other. No matter if you are one to enjoy dance, food or even music, the Puerto Rican atmosphere will eat you up. Now make sure to enjoy some amazing jazz or even some latin beats, and enjoy the sun, surf and most of all the culture in the gem of the Caribbean!

Puerto Rico Landmarks

San Juan
Home to dozens of hotels and resorts, the capital city is the center for entertainment and sights to see. El Morro is a national historic site and is otherwise known as Fort de San Felipe del Morro. This fortress was home to the Spanish for many years and fended off more than a dozen attacks over its life time. Plus, it offers one of the best views of the city and ocean below. Palacio de Santa Catalina was originally designed as a military fortress upon its construction in 1520, but would soon become the Governors residence. It still is today, and functions as both a tourist attraction and active home for the Governor of the island.

Ponce
The second largest city on the island is sometimes referred to as the Pearl of the South due to its stunning neoclassical architecture that dots the landscape. You will need to make sure you visit the tree lined Plaza de Las Delicias as well as the Ponce Firehouse for some amazing views. If you are one to love the water, the La Guancha Paseo Tablado is a lovely board walk down by the water filled with various vendors and great food. For those divers in your group, it is a few steps away from the start of the underwater marked path to Caja de Muertos a favorite among divers internationally.

Coffee
If you are looking for a truly Puerto Rican coffee experience, you will need to head north of Ponce to Hacienda Bueno Vista. This working coffee plantation will allow you to dive back into history as well as experience a fresh cup of Puerto Rican coffee right off the tree. Plus, the dive back into 19th-century life will let you experience the island like a true visitor.