When traveling, combining a foodie and active vacation is high on my list. The option of running and relaxing on beautiful beaches never hurts either! A few years ago, a dear friend and I took a quick trip to Puerto Rico to celebrate our graduation from law school. We stayed in San Juan at a beachfront hotel and explored nearby Old San Juan to soak in the beautiful culture. It was perfect for a long weekend trip with a quick flight out of Chicago and no passport needed. Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S. located in the northeast Caribbean. As a U.S. territory, you do not go through customs or transfer money to a different currency. As a result, it's easy to jump on a plane and go - Puerto Rico is a 5-star vacation destination for a relaxing getaway any time of the year!
With the freezing weather in Chicago these past few weeks, let's dream about a tropical vacation today - what would be on your "Must Do" list in Puerto Rico? My list includes:
Experiencing historical charm.
Puerto Rico is influenced by African, Spanish, and Taino cultures. I would love to go back to Old San Juan and explore the charming streets. Other top spots for my "must see" list include visiting the Caguas Botanical and Cultural Garden, the sulfur water springs at Banos de Coamo, and touring the mansion of the family that started Don Q run, at Castillo Serralles in Ponce.
With warm weather year-round and the fact that Puerto Rico is home to the only rainforest in the U.S. National Park service, there is plenty of opportunity to be active and adventurous while on vacation. Horseback riding, zip-lining, and running the San-Blas Half-Marathon are at the top of my list.
There are endless gorgeous beaches in Puerto Rico, which has 270 miles of coastline. Puerto Rico has been featured in the "Top 10" beaches from Travel Channel. Flamenco Beach in Culebra is even cited as one of the best in the world. Lounging at the beach is obviously a top reason to visit, but surfing, snorkeling, and diving to see exotic marine life and reefs are also possibilities.
Fueling with local cuisine.
With all of the activities and adventure Puerto Rico offers, the destination is also known for its delicious cuisine using international flavors. Puerto Rico is famous for plantains, offered in many different ways - both savory and sweet. Puerto Rican coffee and rum are also well-known products of the region. The volcanic soil and mountainous climate is perfect to create rich, delicious coffee beans. Puerto Rico is also famous for its rums, with four distilleries and a tradition that goes all the way back to the 1600's!
Live your own 5-star vacation story in Puerto Rico. For more information on Puerto Rico, visit seepuertorico.com; follow @PRTourismCo on Twitter; and like SeePuertoRico.com on Facebook.
If you were on vacation in Puerto Rico, what would be at the top of your "Must Do" list?