This came about because in 1960 Fidel Castro virtually turned Cuba and the neighbouring islands into "no-go" areas. Things have changed since then but for the international traveller the attraction to Puerto Rico has not diminished.
Puerto Rico enjoys average temperatures of 80 degrees F and has its peak tourist season between December and April, hence the best time to travel is between May and November. It is now a commonwealth of the USA, which means that it uses the US dollar as currency and all major credit cards are accepted. To visit this island in the Caribbean for non-USA citizens requires a US Visa for even a temporary stay whether flying in or coming by yacht. Airports in Puerto Rico are subject to security inspections similar to those in the US, so this means the security checks are strict at check-in.
The major town, San Juan, is situated on the North side of the island and has a harbour reported to be the 4th busiest in the Western Hemisphere. Annually more than a million passengers visit the island in cruise ships and luxury motor and sailing yachts
arriving at the ports of San Juan, Aguadilla, Arecibo, Playa de Ponce and others. In the San Juan area public transport has been much improved by the Metropolitan Bus Authority that now serves eight cities. A tourism taxi service has also assured that trips to the airport and tourist attractions in the area.
An astonishing number of hotels and restaurants all Old Spanish in style are located in the old city of San Juan whilst the Caribe Carlton Hotel which has a 5-star rating, is complete with four restaurants and live entertainment on a daily basis. Top of the list for visiting is the Bahia Beach Plantation golf course. It has an 18- hole course with dramatic views of the neighbouring El Yunque rain forest and the most beautiful beaches in the area. San Juan also offers facilities for jogging, baseball, tennis and horse riding at the Centro Ecuestre Dolce Sueno.
On the South side of the island we have the two smaller towns of Ponce and Humacao separated by what is commonly known as "Millionaires Playground". As in San Juan there has been the construction of beautiful golf courses, which have the rain forest as their background also have the black beaches down to the Caribbean Sea providing a playground. These black beaches are characteristic of southern Puerto Rico.
There are also many good tennis courts and athletic tracks which often are used for international championships. The fishing is good too, as is the diving and snorkelling. Equipment is readily obtained from the local dive shops of Ponce and Humacao. Ponce is easily visited by chartered yachts and has the oldest Indian cemetery in the island. Its discovery pre-dates Columbus and indicates that the Igneri Indians lived here in about 700 A.D.
San Juan on the North side of the island has a vaste number of smaller hotels to choose from. If an overnight stay is required such as when enjoying the major Street Festival, which takes place along San Sebastian Street in the old part of San Juan where hotel choice is good.
Similarly from 20th February to 13th March 2010 the "Casals Music Festival" takes place. This has an attraction for all Spanish guitar lovers. Throughout the winter months it is possible to see some good baseball (beisbol) matches featuring many rising professionals. Not surprisingly, Puerto Rico hosted the 2009 World Baseball Classic with some top-notch league players from Cuba, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
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