Dreaming of a tropical getaway, but don’t know where to go? Want to bask on beautiful beaches, but don’t want to cross several times zones to get there? Puerto Rico, just a quick 2-½ hour flight from Miami, is as close as it gets to an island paradise. Temperatures year-round hover between a perfect 75 to 85 degrees. If that doesn’t convince you, here are 5 more reasons to visit Puerto Rico.
1. No Passport Required
Forgot to renew your passport? Don’t worry; you can still take a trip to Puerto Rico. While this exotic isle may seem like a world away with its rich Spanish culture and exotic beaches, it’s still part of the US making it a no-passport-required vacation. One less thing to (forget to) pack.
2. Glow-in-the-Dark Sea Creatures
Don’t let the name Mosquito Bay scare you – it is not the world’s most mosquito-infested bay. Also known as Bioluminescent Bay, this lagoon in Vieques is home to tiny glowing creatures that light up the bay at night in trails of blue phosphorescence. Rent a kayak on a moonless night for the best viewing of this amazing glow-in-the-dark phenomenon.
3. “If You Like Pina Coladas…”
Then you’ll love Puerto Rico. This popular rum, coconut and pineapple concoction has been the official drink of Puerto Rico since 1978. If you want to taste the original recipe, Barrachina restaurant, located in Old San Juan, claims to be the official birthplace of pina coladas. Or if you prefer your rum straight up, you can always get a distillery tour at the Bacardi factory.
4. Rainforest Trekking
If you’re looking for more than a lazy day lounging on the beach, hike through Puerto Rico’s El Yunque Forest, a 28,000-acre rainforest. After a long hike through 25 miles of winding trails, cool off in your own private, secluded and nature-made pool … right under a hidden waterfall. No bathing suit required.
5. Unspoiled Beaches
While Vieques is a popular island escape off Puerto Rico’s mainland with its Bioluminescent Bay and wildlife refuge, its smaller sibling, Culebra Island offers equally stunning beaches and even less infrastructure. This undeveloped island, once an old pirate hideout, is home to one of the world’s best beaches, Flamenco Beach. But if you’re looking for a truly hidden beach, head to Culebra’s Punta Soldado, a secluded stretch with great snorkeling.