Puerto Rico has long been high on my list of places I want to visit. It just hasn't been in the cards yet.
Last weekend, my cousin Cynthia had the pleasure of attending Saborea Puerto Rico: A Culinary Extravaganza and sent back the most tantalizing images.
Puerto Rico has so much to offer as a 5-star tourist destination. For sun-worshippers - 270 miles of coastline including Flamenco Beach in Culebra which has been called one of the best beaches in the world. The Travel Channel has featured Puerto Rico in it's Top 10 Beaches. If you love adventure, you can learn to kiteboard or explore the 268 acre Río Camuy Cave Park by hiking, caving, even ziplining! The old world charm of San Juan, the second oldest city in the New World, will appeal to history buffs who can explore forts and museums. The capital city is also called the Metropolis of the Caribbean offering world class shopping, 5-star dining, and a spicy night-life. Another reason it is so enticing is that it is so easy to get there. A short flight from the US Mainland, no passports required, no money exchange to figure out (they use US dollars) - just hop on a plane and go!
When To Go
Puerto Rico boasts year round summer temperatures, with an average annual temp of 80°F/26°C so it's a great destination any time of the year. It gets busy Dec-April when tourists are trying to get away from cold weather in the rest of the states. It has also become a popular spring break destination.
Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay in Vieques at night - kayak in to visit the beach that glows in the dark thanks to a super high concentration of bioluminescent dinoflagellates that live in the water. Visitors report that this is one of their favorite experiences.
El Yunque National Forest - the only tropical rain forest in the US National Forest system. Park at the La Coca Falls and hike up to the Yohaku Observation Tower or at the Palo Colorado Visitor's Center where you can hike up to La Mina Falls. If you go in the evening, remember to listen for Puerto Rico's coqui tree frogs, yeah you probably remember that sound from Dora the Explorer!
Bring your headlamps to check out Cueva Ventana in Arecibo in the Karst Region. It's a short, but slippery hike from the parking area to a cave with stalactites and stalagmites, and a breathtaking view out the "window". These are bat caves, but don't be alarmed, they will be sleeping during your visit.
Gastronomic Capital of the Caribbean
Puerto Rican cuisine has been a simmering fusion of Taíno, Spanish and African cultures and ingredients for centuries, but in recent years local chefs have been incorporating flavors from around the world and internationally known chefs have opened restaurants on the island. For a long time, high end restaurants featured food by chefs trained in Europe, but the new guard of talented home grown chefs are proudly incorporating local flavors and farm-to-table fresh ingredients into their menus. At Saborea, Cynthia was able to enjoy food prepared by some extraordinary chefs and have a tour of Bacardi's Distillery. The following dishes were prepared by the amazing Chef Joel Rodriguez.
Photo Credit: All photos provided by Cynthia Vega.
Be sure to visit See Puerto Rico's website so you can start planning to Live your own 5-star vacation story in Puerto Rico.