PUERTO RICO

I visited in 2010 with my mother. We went to San Juan, Caguas, along the coast a bit and to El Yunque National Forest. Puerto Rico is a relatively affordable island destination from the Eastern part of the US. Costs are similar to the Gulf Coast of Florida for hotels and dining (to compare another popular beach destination) and San Juan is mostly walkable with city buses easy to use (driving NOT recommended in the city). The convenience of not needing a passport is a plus for many USAians. English is spoken moderately widely but Spanish will take you a lot farther and enhance your travels by allowing you to see more cultural sights and move around with ease.

Various buildings in Old San Juan (left, above, below)

Caguas city square, left and above. Caguas is an easy day trip from San Juan by rental car, if you can brave the urban traffic which is some of the highest density of vehicles in the world. Caguas has a number of museums around the town square and all within walking distance, with such varied themes as jazz music and tobacco production. Most exhibits are only in Spanish.

Carolina Beach (Balneario de Carolina) is a public beach with a small fee to access. It is close to San Juan and has good facilities like restrooms and changing rooms along with food and drink sales. There were lifeguards there when I visited also.

A old and elaborate cemetery between the city wall in Old San Juan and the sea.

El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the national forest system. It is easy to reach by either rental car or by tour bus from San Juan.

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El Yunque

El Yunque

El Yunque

Old San Juan has two Spanish era forts which are part of the national park system and open to explore on your own or with guided ranger led tours. The 16th-century Fort San Felipe del Morro and the 17th-century Fort San Cristóbal, a single day or weeklong ticket gives access to both and tours are in Spanish OR English (different times)