Saturday, September 25, 2010

Top Five Reasons To Visit Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

  • Attractions:

    There are many places to visit and things to do in Puerto Rico.  Compared to other islands in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico has a lot to offer.  From the majestic forts of  Old San Juan, to the El Yunque Rain Forest, a vacation in Puerto Rico is not just about taking in the sun and relaxing at the beach.  When planning your trip, make sure to give yourself enough time to explore beyond San Juan, to other towns in Puerto Rico, and the islands off the coast of Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques

  • Culture:

    Puerto Rico has a rich culture that centers around music.  Music is very important to the island, from typical music like Bomba y Plena, to Salsa and Merengue music.  Puerto Ricans are always ready for a party and music and dancing play a big part in their daily lives.  The Coqui, a small frog, is the unofficial animal of Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rican cuisine was influenced by the Spanish, African and Indian inhabitants of the island.  Puerto Rican dishes are seasoned with a combination of spices.

  • Beaches:

    Puerto Rico has many beaches.  From secluded to popular beaches, visitors can have their choice of beaches facing the Atlantic or the Caribbean.  The beaches of the town of Rincon, are known worldwide for its surfing, and Flamenco Beach in Culebra, is considered one of the World's top beaches.  If your idea of a vacation is the sun and beach, Puerto Rico is the place for you.

  • Weather:

    Puerto Rico is in the tropics and the weather is always nice.  Even when it rains, it is warm.  The temperature averages  80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Many visitors come to the island to escape the cold weather back home and chase the sunshine in Puerto Rico. 

  • No passport required:

    Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States and all Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.  There is no passport required for visitors who are U.S. citizens, however visitors continuing their journey to other parts of the Caribbean will need their U.S. passports. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Garita, El Morro, Puerto Rico

Garita at fort San Felipe del Morro at sunset.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Visiting The City Of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Five places to visit while in San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Fox News link shows: Exploring the ancient forts, walking among the waterfalls, exploring outdoor squares in Old San Juan, and visiting the beaches.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Trip To El Yunque Rain Forest In Puerto Rico

El Yunque Rain Forest, Puerto Rico

El Yunque Rain Forest, Puerto Rico
I decided to travel from San Juan to visit El Yunque Rain Forest in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.  Upon arrival, I stopped at the El Portal Exhibit Hall to get maps of the area and view a multimedia display.  It was sunny, but I noticed that it was raining at the top of the mountain.  Of course, El Yunque is a rain forest, with an average of over 100 inches of rainfall a year.  Even though I knew there are plenty of shelters located throughout the park, I was prepared.  I took along my rain gear, water, and wore good walking shoes.

Looking at El Yunque from a distance, there appears to be a shape on the mountaintop which, according to folklore, was believed to be the deity Yuquiyu sleeping.  According to legend, the good spirit "Yuquiyu" reigned on his mighty mountain-top throne, protecting the Taino people.

El Yunque is part of the Luquillo mountain range and is divided into four different forests: Tabonuco, Palo Colorado, Palma Sierra and En Las Nubes, which is often shrouded in fog and a remarkably beautiful part of El Yunque Forest with its twisted, stunted trunks and giant ferns.

In El Yunque Rain Forest there are 8 types of lizards, 13 types of Coquis(Puerto Rican tree frogs that sing), 50 types of birds, including the native Puerto Rican Parrot, which is an endangered species.  There are 11 types of bats, the only one type of mammal natural to El Yunque.  Also found, but very rare, are nonpoisonous snakes.  Among them, the Puerto Rican Boa can reach a length of 90 inches.

El Yunque also has abundant flora including: 240 native tree species, 23 of them found only in El Yunque, 88 rare tree species, 50 native orchids, and 150 types of ferns.

I walked along the paved forest paths down to the most beautiful waterfall.  On the way I could see native ferns and wild orchids, while listening to the birds and of course, the one and only Coqui.  I also walked down the steps below the Palo Colorado Ranger Station to the little gazebos below, which have roofs, picnic tables and BBQ grills. I took one of the gazebos next to a calming, rushing stream and enjoyed a picnic lunch.

The tranquility experienced during my visit to El Yunque Rain Forest was nourishing to my soul, and will long be remembered.

El Yunque Rain Forest, Puerto Rico

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trump Residences in Puerto Rico

Trump International Golf Club & Residences in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, is the first development in Puerto Rico to combine, residences world class golf and a beach resort in one location.  Covering 1,000 acres on the Atlantic Ocean, the property is located on a private penninsula, between beautiful beaches and the El Yunque National Forest.

All residents will have memberships to two 18 hole PGA Tournament level golf courses, designed by Tom Kite and access to the Trump clubhouse.

For more detailed information about the residences, here is their site:  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Hotels On The Horizon For Puerto Rico

New hotels are being developed in Puerto Rico:

The St. Regis Resort, JW Marriott Hotel, The Regent Palmas del Mar, and  The Ritz Carlton Dorado Beach.  At this time, this is the information available for these future hotels.

  • The St. Regis Resort

    The opening is scheduled for November 2010.  The resort will be part of the 483- acre Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club, in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.  The 139- room resort will feature a Trent Jones Jr. golf course, residential complexes, a 10,000-square-foot Remede spa, and Jean-Georges, one of the top 10 restaurants in the world. 

  • JW Marriott Hotel & Resort

    The JW is Marriott's most luxurious brand and the new Puerto Rico property will be located near the Trump Residences & Golf Club, in Coco Beach in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.  The 427-room hotel will have 11 restaurants and over 10,000 square feet of meeting space.   The JW Marriott is scheduled to open in 2011.

  • The Regent Palmas Del Mar

    The 150-room property will include 96 guest rooms, 52 condo- hotel suites, and five spa suites.  The Regent will be part of Palmas Del Mar in Humacao, Puerto Rico, and will include 153 Regent-branded residences.  The amenities include a 16,000-square- foot  lakeside spa, three restaurants, and three pools.  It is scheduled to be completed December 2011.

  • The Ritz Carlton Dorado Beach

    This will be a $1.5 billion mixed-use hospitality and residential project within the Dorado Beach resort in Dorado, Puerto Rico.  It will include 18 golf villas, 93 beachfront residences, and up to 40 estate homes.  Amenities include: The Watermill, a $10 million aquatic adventure experience, 16 miles of Rockefeller trails, and an environmental education center.  The Ritz Carlton Dorado Beach is slated for completion in late 2012.

    These new additions to the island, will continue to give Puerto Rico the status, as a prime tourist destination in the Caribbean.   



Friday, September 10, 2010

Depp and Cruz Filming in Puerto Rico

Actor Johnny Depp and actress Penelope Cruz, are currently filming the fourth installment of Pirates of  the Caribbean in Puerto Rico.  A "set"  was created at Castillo San Cristobal in San Juan, Puerto Rico and a production unit is in Palominito, Fajardo, getting ready to film some scenes with both, Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz.  

During the filming Friday in Palominito, Fajardo, Depp and Cruz got a unique visitor, a dolphin!  Some technicians in the production unit jumped in the water to take a closer look at the mammal.

The Hollywood stars, arrived together Wednesday at the Luis Munoz Marin airport in Isla Verde in a private jet.  The two actors came from Los Angeles, California, where they had been filming other scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  From Puerto Rico, the production will move to London to film other scenes at the Pinewood Studios.

Here is a video that shows some of the shooting taking place at the Fort San Cristobal in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides:  

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Puerto Rico, Patillas Vacation

Patillas, Puerto Rico

Lake Carite, Patillas, Puerto Rico

Church in the Plaza of Patillas, Puerto Rico

Most people who visit Puerto Rico, don't explore beyond  the San Juan area, but there is plenty to see.

Recently, a friend invited me to visit the town of Patillas, also known as "The Emerald of the South".  I wanted to get out to the countryside, so I accepted.

We traveled from San Juan to San Lorenzo, where we took the mountain road to Patillas.  The road was barely two lanes with many, many curves, so it was an exciting drive.  We passed lush verdant green mountains and a beautiful lake.  We found a good spot in the shade and stopped to have a bit of food and enjoy the view, before we continued on to the town.

"The Emerald of the South", Patillas, Puerto Rico is located on the southeastern coast of the island and stretches north to the southernmost tip of the Carite Forest.  The Carite Forest has many hiking trails, and one such trail, located in Patillas, leads directly to Charco Azul (Blue Pool).  The pool is fed by a small creek that runs from high in the mountains of the "Cordillera Central".  The pool gets its name of "Charco Azul" from the bluish tint of the water, but maybe is just the reflection of the blue sky.  Patillas, Puerto Rico has lakes, rivers, and sandy beaches, in addition to lovely green mountains.  It takes only a short drive to go from the mountains to the ocean and back again.

The town of Patillas was founded in 1811.  Patillas is the indigenous name of a native type of watermelon which grew abundantly in the area.  In 1821 a royal decree allowed the development of a port to stimulate trade.  The Immaculate Heart of Mary Church was built in 1845.  It was rebuilt in 1930, after Hurricane San Felipe in 1928, completely destroyed it.  This beautiful church faces the the lovely town plaza which has a water fountain and shade trees.

Patillas, Puerto Rico celebrates two festivals, the Patron Saint festival, held in March and the Emerald of the South Carnival, held in May.  Both are popular with the residents, there are many food stands, lots of music and everyone enjoys the festivities.  Next time you are in the island of Puerto Rico, don't forget to put the town of Patillas on the places to visit.   

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Puerto Rico Not In Danger From Tropical Storm Gaston

Tropical Storm Gaston has broken up and does not pose a danger to the island of Puerto Rico.  This is very good news! Gaston was expected to become a hurricane in the Caribbean by next Tuesday, but it fell apart. Hopefully it wont reorganize.

All eyes are on Hurricane Earl, which is headed to the East Coast.  Good luck to everyone there!

Tropical Storm Fiona Not A Threat To Puerto Rico

It appears tropical storm Fiona will not reach hurricane status.  Although heavy rains and winds are expected for the island of Puerto Rico.  New tropical storm Gaston however, may become a threat to Puerto Rico.  Gaston is a major interest in the Caribbean, as it is expected to strengthen.  Forecast for Gaston, is to become a category 3 by next week in the Caribbean.

Hang on folks...hurricane season appears to be very active this year.