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Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico travel guide

Puerto Rico is a lot more than sun, sea and sand. Discover rich reefs perfect for snorkelling, a rugged coastline made for hikers, a mish-mash of culture and more

Puerto Rico is a boggling mix of Anglo and Latino, modernity and simple West Indies, busy city and easy island life – and ideal for exploration. Old colonial San Juan has streets of pretty restored buildings, and offers museum and cultural interest by day (this is the oldest corner of the US) and buzzing nightlife.

Then set off, driving (of course – this is the States) to explore. Not far from the city you will find coffee factories, restored Arawak settlements and Arecibo, the largest satellite dish in the world – it sought out quasars and pulsars.

Lastly the beach. Oddly, the finest are actually offshore, a short flight or ferry ride away, on Puerto Rico's tiny islands, Vieques (the fallback home of the Royal Navy in the Second World War) and Culebra, which has good sailing. Both have a small-island air, Latin-style. Vieques boasts a spectacular phosphorescent lagoon.

Take a dip and discover the island's abundant reefs and corals off shore, home to some of the richest seas in the Caribbean.

Wanderlust recommends

Explore Old San Juan The island's capital city is home to one of the grandest colonial towns in the Caribbean. Get lost in a maze of back streets, rainbow-coloured buildings and elegant townhouses.

Sample piña coladas Inventors of the world-famous cocktail, visitors to the island should taste a glass or two on home grown soil. Stop by shacks at the side of the road or chill out in one of San Juan's coolest tearrace bars – the choice is yours.

Turtle watch on Culebra Cruise to neighbouring island Culebra and volunteer to stalk the beach at night looking for egg-laying leatherback turtles. 

Discover El Yunque National Park Trek through Peurto Rico's steamy jungle to experience utter wilderness and – if you can handle the hike – climb the 3,000ft peaks to survey panoramic views of much of the island.

Awe at Bioluminiscent Bay, Vieques Best seen on a pitch black, moonless night from a kayak. Every movement in the water sets off cascades and vortices of glowing bioluminescence.

Wanderlust tips

Although many islanders speak English, it's best to learn a few basics in Spanish as well. Once you leave the cities and larger towns, you'll find less people able to speak English. Plus chatting to a local in their language is more of an experience!

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