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Puerto Rico - a definitive guide to the regions of the island

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In the northwest of the Caribbean, sandwiched between the Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands lies the quaint yet enthralling island of Puerto Rico; a tropical paradise with more than just sun, sea and sand to its name. With residents speaking a combination of Spanish and English and the official currency being the US dollar, it’s an easy holiday spot for many tourists. Despite being only small, the island has 78 municipalities and a collection of three large adjacent islands all worth a visit. 

Alfredo Hannibal

My Destination local expert on

Puerto Rico

Area Metro

 

The metropolitan region, or ‘area metro’ as it is more affectionately known, comprises San Juan, Toa Baja, Carolina, Guaynabo, Bayamón and Cantaño, although most tourists tend to stay in San Juan, the cultural and historical center of Puerto Rico. The walled city of Old San Juan has a majestic fortress and a hive of cultural attractions, ideal for any traveler. However, this is juxtaposed with high-end boutique shops, a plethora of restaurants, relaxing beaches and a sizzling hot nightlife with clubs, casinos and bars to keep you up until sunrise.

 

North Coast

 

Also known as Port Atlántico, the north coast is one of Puerto Rico’s fastest growing regions. As well as top resorts and luxury golf courses, the natural topography lends itself to caving, climbing and plenty of outdoor recreation so provides for all types of tourists.

 

East Coast

 

Teeming with marine life, the coastline of the east of Puerto Rico is the ideal location for everything water based. Whether you’re looking to spend the day luxuriating on a catamaran cruise, catching something for a fresh fish supper, or getting to know the underwater world in a snorkelling or scuba diving extravaganza, there’s something for everyone.

 

South Coast

 

Also known as Porta Caribe or Gateway to the Caribbean, the south coast is just that; a collection of coastal towns, calm beaches and colonially inspired communities and the ideal tourist spot for outdoors enthusiasts, culture vultures and eco-adventurers.

 

West Coast

 

The west is synonymous with the ever trendy beach bum and has some of the island’s best beaches. As the reputable surfing capital, the vibey surfing town of Ricón is where all the surfers hang out and hit the waves and is often host to some of the world championship surfing competitions.

 

The islands of Culebra and Vieques

 

Vieques is a rustic island just seven miles from Puerto Rico; a pleasing combination of swampy mangroves, lush rainforest and beautiful beaches. At only 21 miles long and five miles wide you won’t be rushing around to see the sites, you’ll simply adapt to the relaxing pace of life. A further nine miles north of Vieques, the island of Culebra is equally peaceful and home to Flamenco Beach, unequivocally one of the best beaches in the world and the nesting spot for the islands turtles; some of the ocean’s oldest residents.

 

So, if you’re a surfer dude looking for the perfect wave, a culture vulture desperate to learn the island’s history, or a budding sailor itching to hit the open ocean, Puerto Rico is the ideal holiday destination for you.

 

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