Puerto Rico, Isla del Encanto

Puerto Rico Isla del Encanto flag ipg
Puerto RIco Isla del Encanto. Puerto RIco's flag

Article written with the collaboration of Gabriela del Mar Ortiz Nieves

Photos by Gabriela del Mar Ortiz Nieves and Miriam Arizmendi

Follow Gabriela on Instagram: @gabrieladelmar90

Puerto Rico, Isla del Encanto

 

The enchanted island is the translation for Puerto Rico, Isla del Encanto. Nestled east of the Dominican Republic, west of United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico is called "Isla del Encanto" because of it's enchanted beauty.

 

This island was discovered in 1943 by Christopher Columbus. He baptized the island with the name of San Juan Bautista. Later on, the name was changed to Puerto Rico (rich port)because of the gold the Spanish found in it. It is the name up to the present time. In contrast to what is believed, Columbus was not the first one to have discovered the island.  Inhabited by Indians, named Tainos before been discovered by Columbus. The Tainos came from South America establishing their home in Puerto Rico and therefore becoming the first inhabitants.

 

Heritage

 

Defining the heritage of the Puerto Ricans:  The race and culture are for the most part comprised of three major races: Indians, Spanish, and Africans. But throughout the history of the island, from the time of its discovery, additional races have been eventually added.  Among those included are the Dutch, English and the Germans. Then later came the Americans.  All the races have added to the makeup of the island and to the Puerto Rican race, traits, and customs. This race is therefore pretty unique.

 

Puerto Rico was a  province of Spain until the Spanish-American war when U.S. forces invaded the island. Consequently, in 1898 and under the Treaty of Paris, Spain gave up the island of Puerto Rico (along with Cuba, the Philippines, and Guam) to the U.S., As a result, the island became a colony of the United States.

 

The citizens of Puerto Rico were awarded U.S. citizenship in 1917.  Later on, in 1952, Puerto Rico became a U.S. Commonwealth. Spanish and English are the official languages and the currency is the U.S. Dollar.

 

Today, Puerto Rico is a leading tourist destination. The island has developed into a major manufacturing center and as a result, produces high-tech equipment and many major American pharmaceuticals manufacture their products in the island. Check this site for more on the island history.

Travel Destination

The island of Puerto Rico is a beautiful destination for a Caribbean vacation. For the United States citizens is an easy ride from major airports. A great factor for american tourists: it does not require any special documents or money exchange to travel to the island, therefore this makes the trip more attractive.

 

What places do you want to visit when in Puerto Rico? There are many. Additionally from the beaches, spas- hotels, historic sites and cities you have plenty to do, see and enjoy. Here are a few favorites.

 

Places to visit

 

East of the island

  • Bahía Bioluminescent - Fluorescent Bay - Located in Fajardo. This natural wonder is created through the Ecosystem. The Plankton is a living organism. Its light is produced by a series of oxidation reactions set off by a catalyst called luciferase. This organism releases energy in the form of a neon green light when the water is shaken. Illuminates everything it gets in contact with.  Although this kind of fluorescent lagoon wonder exist in other parts of the world, there are three in Puerto Rico. Two more are located: one in the Southwest of the island in La Parguera. Another one is in Vieques - small island belonging to Puerto Rico. A tour like no other,  you do not want to miss this unique rarity.  Keep these destinations in mind in the event that you visit the island.

 

Puerto Rico Fluorescent Bay in Fajardo at night
Puerto Rico Fluorescent Bay in Fajardo at day
Hotel El Conquistador, Fajardo Puerto RIco image
Hotel EL CONQUISTADOR
Tours Boat East of the island Fajardo
Tours East Coast
  • Hotel El Conquistador - Beautiful hotel located on a cliff East of the island in the town of Fajardo. The hotel was restored to a magnificent splendor a few years ago by  the Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts. It has one of the biggest and most luxurious spas of the Caribbean. This beautiful hotel offers the best of the east side of the island: aquatic park, 20 different restaurants, private villas. It is located 17km from the Rain Forest and the famous Seven Seas is 2km from the hotel. You can also sail away and sightsee the East side of the island.

 

  • Other areas to visit East of the island:
    • Las Croabas - located in Fajardo
    • The East side of Puerto Rico is home to the "Yunque" rainforest, located in Luquillo. A beautiful green paradise with waterfalls and amazing exotic plants.
El Yunque Luquillo Puerto Rico jpg
Las Croabas in Fajardo waterfall image jpg
Rainforest exotic plant, Luquillo Puerto RIco

More to see and more to do in "La Isla Del Encanto"

Best Restaurants by Fajardo, Las Croabas, and the East side:

 

  1. Las Vistas Cafe - American, Caribbean, European and vegetarian dishes, seafood and Puerto Rican cuisine.
  2. Di Yukas Caribena - Contemporary, Puerto Rican, Latin and Sushi (amazing)
  3. Rest. El Calizo - Spanish, Latin, Caribbean and seafood
  4. El Verdadero - Seaside Grill
  5. Las Brisas

 

From the metro area to the old city

 

Metropolitan Area:

If you are staying in San Juan, the capital of the island, there is plenty to do and places to visit. The major historic landmarks are also found in San Juan and its surroundings.

 

Condado - a Principal area of hotels, big known retailers, casinos, and nightlife.

 

Old San Juan - Capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan and the city of Old San Juan are the places to go shopping and find history. Art galleries, high-end jewelry,  Spanish time architecture.   Historic places like El Morro, La Fortaleza, where the Governor of the island lives. Here you will also visit the second oldest cathedral in America The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista.

There are plenty of high-end restaurants in the area with all the exotic cuisines and flavors to please the most demanding gourmand. Some to try:

  1. 1919
  2. Marmalade
  3. Patio del Nispero
  4. Cafe Manolin
  5. La Bombonera

Last, but not least, if you are a coffee lover, Puerto Rico has one of the best coffees ever tasted. Coffee connoisseurs will attest to the smooth and sweet flavor of the island's coffee.

 

 

Old San Juan

side of El Castillo del Morro Puerto Rico
cobblestone street Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Old San Juan street with restaurants Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Capitol building image
Puerto Rico Capitol building
Sports Hall Of Fame Museum jpg
Sports Hall Of Fame Museum
Historic site castillo El Morro Old San Juan jpg
Historic site castillo El Morro Old San Juan
Old San Juan Spanish style architecture jpg
Old San Juan, Spanish architecture

Other sites around the island - West and South

From Aguadilla to Ponce

Farms around the center and south of the island jpg
Farms around the center and south of the island
Caves in Puerto Rico jpg
Caves
beautiful image of beaches around island Puerto Rico jpg
Beautiful beaches from North to South, East to West
South of the island Ponce bay look jpg
South of the island Ponce
Guancha, South of the island
Guancha, South of the island
Coastal view south of the island Puerto Rico jpg
Coastal view south of the island

End of the tour

 

When visiting "La Isla del Encanto" do not forget to try the typical dishes: Mofongo (you can have it with anything: lobster, chicken, pork, shrimp, fish, squid...). Other plates and side dishes to try:

  • Tostones - mash and fried green plantains
  • Asopao - Chicken stew - prepared in a special latin tradition
  • Surullitos - Corn sticks
  •  Pastelon - Sweet Plantain with ground meat and marinara sauce
  • Empanadillas - pastry filled with pizza sauce, pepperoni, and cheese, or with meat, chicken, cheese or seafood and either fried or baked.

Planning a visit to the Caribbean? Puerto Rico? The Virgin Islands? Check out our affiliates, plan your trip, get all of your needs and have a great time!

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Until next,

 

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