TRAVEL GUIDE TO PUERTO RICO by Gabriel M.
Gabriel M. is an avid Global Explorer, Fellow Foodie, and Music Lover. His favorite artists are Bad Bunny and Ricky Martin. On the weekends, you can find him hiking through El Yunque or a remote beach with his friends. If you’re interested in going on an island adventure in the Caribbean, his travel diary will help you find the best places to stay, eat, hang out, and play. Enjoy!
Puerto Rico is popularly known in Spanish as "la Isla del encanto," which translates to "the island of enchantment." Puerto Rico's vibrancy comes from more than 500 years of rich history and the consequent blending of various cultures.
This fusion stretches to almost every aspect of the island's identity. From the interweaving of the Taíno, African, and Spanish traditions emerged the Puerto Rican, a new identity made of traits from all three groups.
Puerto Rico is full of "buena gente" — boricua slang for kind and friendly people. Here, you'll feel like you are “familia” instead of just a visitor. Around every corner, you'll find a celebration of life, a deep cultural experience, food for the soul, and a captivating rhythm.
A few facts about Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is not a country but behaves like a country
U.S. citizens don’t need a passport to visit. If you're a United States citizen, you do NOT need a passport to go to Puerto Rico. Since Puerto Rico is a US territory, all you need is the same identification you use to fly anywhere else in the country. It's one of the many reasons traveling to Puerto Rico is so easy.
El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System. El Yunque National Forest is known for having the highest quality waters in Puerto Rico and lovely water vistas. Because it is a mountainous rain forest, there are plenty of streams, creeks, and rivers crossing the forest.
Puerto Rico used to have the second largest single-dish radio telescope in the world. “It figured in the James Bond action film, GoldenEye. It also was a central player in [the] 1997 science-fiction movie, Contact.”
Two of the oldest churches in the Americas are in Old San Juan
More than 70% of the rum sold in the U.S. comes from Puerto Rico Puerto has over 270 miles of beaches
Brush up on your Spanish — it'll get in you locals' good graces and help you get around.
Temperatures throughout the year are warm to hot, averaging near 85 °F (29 °C) in lower elevations and 70 °F (21 °C) in the mountains.
The legal drinking age is 18.
Traffic jams are serious time sucks! Prepare accordingly.
Always prepare for the unexpected. Consider getting travel insurance.
Where to stay
Where to eat
Kabanas: There’s so much I could say about Kabanas, but I will summarize it by saying that it is possibly one of the best breakfast places in Condado. They also have one of the best crunchy cheese tacos in the area. I give this restaurant a 4 /5. Highly recommend!
Casita Miramar: If you’re looking for authentic Puertorican food, Casita Miramar is the right place. From mofongo to stuffed avocado dishes, this restaurant is a must-try! I give Casita Miramar a 4.5/5.
Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar: Marmalade is considered to be the best restaurant in Puerto Rico, and for a good reason! It serves tasting menus that guests get to pick and choose, thus creating their own individualized tasting experience. I give this restaurant a 4.5/5.
Kasalta: Do you have a sweet tooth? Kasalta offers delicious baked goods like Narilla and tembleque. Both custard-type desserts—tembleque being coconut-flavored. Kasalta also offers amazing Spanish tortillas and other breakfast foods. You can’t go wrong here, any time of the day. I give Kasalta a 4 /5.
Señor Paleta: There really isn’t much to say about Senor Pelata other than there’s nothing better on a hot day than a cold popsicle. Perfect for those long walks around Old San Juan. I give Señor Paleta a 4.5/5.
El Morro Castle: Few landmarks represent Puerto Rico’s history within the Caribbean and the Americas better than El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, or El Morro for short. Built in 1539, El Morro was used as a military outpost for Spain. Thanks to El Morro, the Spaniards were able to defend Puerto Rico from invasions by the British, Dutch, and even pirates.
El Yunque National Rainforest: El Yunque is an excellent destination for those who want to fully immerse themselves in nature. You can hike trails, swim in natural pools with waterfalls, or relax and enjoy the scenery.
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico: Perhaps Puerto Rico's most famous museum, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico is known for its street art and community of creatives. Opened in 2000, the museum exhibits artwork from some of Puerto Rico's most accomplished artists.
El Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park: I have two words to describe El Toro: ‘The Monster.’ It’s a 2.5-kilometer zip line, which is one of the longest and highest ziplines in the world. If you’re an adrenaline junkie and you find yourself in Puerto Rico, this zipline experience is for you.
Bioluminescent bays: Puerto Rico has three official bioluminescent bays: Mosquito Bay in Vieques, Laguna Grande in Fajardo, and La Parguera in Lajas. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend taking the time to visit one of these rare ecosystems. There are only five places in the world where this phenomenon occurs — you don’t want to skip this.
Rich history and culture, exceptional food, pristine beaches, majestic mountains, relaxation, adventure — all packed into one sun-kissed Caribbean paradise.
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