In July 2017 we visited two pearls of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
We flew first to San Juan because we wanted to visit the Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico, and of course, we also wanted to see the Land of the brave leader (that is how the original inhabitants, the Taínos called the island).
For our stay, we booked the Condado Plaza Hilton in San Juan. The hotel is little dated but it offers views of the Atlantic Ocean and Condado Lagoon. It is located on the Condado Strip, a great location for doing the tourist thing.
The guests can enjoy a small private beach, pool area, and bar. Breakfast was good but pricy, but there are many restaurants within walking distance if you are up to eating somewhere outside the hotel.
The Arecibo Radio Telescope is one of the most famous radio telescopes in the world, mainly due to its enormous size. The main dish has a diameter of 305 meters and is built in a hollow in the terrain created by karst, a limestone collapse. It was the largest curved dish on Earth until September 2016.
In Arecibo, we were not only impressed by the telescope but also the surrounding nature. That was the moment when we decided to visit the El Yunque Rain Forest.
El Yunque Rain Forest
On the way to the El Yunque, we stopped at a beautiful beach to have a quick swim.
As we approached the rain forest the weather changed, clouds started to gather and more and more vapor was generated in the air.
El Yunque is a true gem, an excellent destination if you want to be immersed in nature. Due to the average rainfall a year, El Yunque has a very diverse ecosystem, hosting hundreds of unique plant and animal species. While we were there every 5-10 minutes there was a shower and thunderstorm.
In the rainforest, you can choose from many hiking trails, or visit one of the many waterfalls and jump into a natural spa below.
Old San Juan
The other day we went to visit old San Juan, which was a 1,5 km walk from our hotel through the Park Luis Muñoz Rivera, and after that, we took Route 25R.
Puerto Rico still exudes its colonial culture what you can see it also on the buildings.
The best way to get a taste of the atmosphere by eating or drinking in an eatery like the locals.
The “old city” is a maze of old cobbled streets with colorful facades.
And of course, if you are in Porto Rico then you can not miss the Bacardi tour in the Casa Bacardi. Casa Bacardi is one of the top attractions near San Juan. You can choose from various interesting tours.