Puerto Rico Regional Info
Puerto Rico is a fascinating island in the Caribbean offering a spectacularly diverse geography consisting of almost 300 beaches, tropical rainforests, lush mountains, extensive caves, cool rivers and amazing deserts. All of this wonder on an island that is approximately 100 miles long by 35 miles wide. Puerto Rico is located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Repbublic and west of the United States and British Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico known as the "Island of Enchantment" is actually an archipelago that includes Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, Mona and several other smaller islands and cays.
Puerto Rico has a population of about 3.7 million with a unique and rich culture rooted in Taino (Native Indian), Spanish, African and European traditions. From the Spanish Puerto Rico received the Spanish Language, Catholic Religion, music and many cultural and moral values. From Africa they received music, cuisine and spiritual traditions. From the Tainos they received words specific to Puerto Rican culture, special foods and traditions. English and Spanish are the official languages with Spanish being the native language. Many Puerto Ricans speak English particularly in the tourist areas and the language is a required part of the curricular in schools.
Puerto Ricans are a vibrant culturally alive people, always looking for a reason to party and have a good time.
San Juan Metro
San Juan Metro (including Old San Juan) is the heart of Puerto Rico and the center of a vibrant metropolitan area. If you love good food, San Juan offers a vast array of restaurants from local eateries serving traditional Puerto Rican Cuisine to sophisticated establishments offering creations from internationally recognized chefs. Nightlife in San Juan is unparalleled in the region, salsa clubs, bars, discotheques, casinos and music venues abound. Art and music lovers can enjoy the many museums, galleries, music arenas and the largest performing arts center in the Caribbean. Shoppers will find some of the most up-scales stores in the world along Ashford Avenue in the Condado area and the largest indoor shopping mall in the Caribbean Plaza Las Americas. With the addition of the recently opened Mall of San Juan featuring anchor stores like Nordstroms and Lord & Taylor's, Puerto Rico has truly become the shopping mecca of the Caribbean.
And of course the beaches, many of the beachfront hotels in the San Juan Metro area are located in Condado and Isla Verde right in the restaurant, shopping nightlife mix. If your looking for a local beach that is great for sunning, people watching and kitesurfing visit the beach at Ocean Park, a hip neighborhood with many vacation rentals and restaurants.
Porta Atlántico the North Region of Puerto Rico is formed by the municipalities of Arecibo, Barceloneta, Camuy, Dorado, Hatillo, Manatí, Toa Alta, Vega Alta and Vega Baja. This region is located in a karst belt that extends to just east of San Juan, an extremely attractive area of extensive haystack hills, sinkholes, caves and limestone clifs in addition to coastal lowlands. The Río Camuy one of the lagest underground rivers the world has formed one of the most important cave systems in the western hemisphere and is definetly worth a trip. The Dorado area is a golfers dream with several world class courses and the opulent just-opened Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
Porta del Sol
Seventeen towns make up Porta del Sol , the West Region of Puerto Rico. From Isabela's great resorts in the north through the picturesque beach town of Cabo Rojo, the spectacular dry forest of Guánica and historic San Germán in the south this is the area to lay back and enjoy true Caribbean living. Porta del Sol is also the home to Rincón the surfing capital of the Caribbean, this sleepy little town has a vibe all its own, life there revolves around the many world-class surfing beaches, funky bars and quaint eating establishments.
Porta Caribe in the South Region of Puerto Rico is anchored by the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico's second largest city and cultural center for the area. Many attractions warrant a visit to this the Gateway to the Caribbean including the ancient Taino ceremonial center, coffee haciendas, colonial mansions and a world-class art museum. Along the tranquil coast many towns provide opportunities to spend your day on nearly deserted beaches and to dine on some the the freshest seafood in Puerto Rico.
Home to the traditional Jibaros, farmers who worked the land and were instrumental in creating Puerto Rico as we know it today, Porta Cordillera is the mountainous Central Region of Puerto Rico. This region offers travelers the chance to visit many of the plantations that produce some of the best coffee around. For the adventurous the many valleys, canyons, rivers and lakes and one of the longest zip-lines in the world, makes this area an outdoorsman dream. This is also the area of the famous Ruta del Lechón (Roast Pig Route) that will take you on an unforgettable culinary adventure.
Porta Antillas the Eastern Region of Puerto Rico is unique in its diversity both in culture, food and things to do. The area is home to the only subtropical rainforest in the Unites States Forest Service, El Yunque. Many of the 16 towns that make up this region offer a wide range of activities from world-class golf, and luxurious resorts in Río Grande to some of the best sailing, boating and fishing in Fajardo to the "Criollo" Heart of Puerto Rico the city of Caguas.. There is also Luquillo, known for its beautiful beach and food kiosks. For great local delicacies, pulsating music visit Loíza the Capital of Tradition.
Vieques is just of the east coast of Puerto Rico and along with Culebra makes up what is sometimes called the Spanish Virgin Islands. There are two main towns on Vieques the rest is a beach-lovers paradise with many pristine beaches ideal for swimming, snorkeling or just doing nothing. The atmosphere in Vieques is simply laid back (read article). Watch out for the wild horses...
Culebra together with the island of Vieques are known as the 'Spanish Virgin Islands'. You won't find any nightclubs or malls in Culebra; just a friendly laid back island vibe, with lots and lots of beaches. The most popular beach on the island is Flamenco Beach, covered with soft white sand and surrounded by arid tree covered hills, it is truly what the Caribbean is all about... unparalleled beauty!
Please enjoy the video below.
For more detailed information on the differnt regions of Puerto Rico please use the dropdown menu above under Regional Info.
Have a great time during your visit to Puerto Rico!