September 07, 2008

Puerto Rico - Isla del Encanto

I went on a weeklong vacation to the island of Puerto Rico with my parents. Situated in the Caribbean, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a semi-autonomous territory of the United States of America. Its capital and largest city is San Juan. Originally, this city was known as Puerto Rico ("rich port") and the island was San Juan (named after John the Baptist), but the nomenclature was swapped somewhere in its history, perhaps due to a cartographic error. Almost rectangular in shape, the coastline of the small island is dotted with beaches while the interior is composed of dense jungles and hilly terrain.

 Renting a car is the best way to see all that Puerto Rico  has to offer. The driving skills of the Puerto Ricans match their grasp of the English language, making it relatively easy to both communicate and commute across the island. We used the oceanfront community of Condado in San Juan as our base, and made road trips across Puerto Rico. Our itenarary was packed:

Day 1 - Arrive in San Juan
Day 2 - Northwestern Puerto Rico - Arecibo Observatory and Rio Camuy
Day 3 - Northeastern Puerto Rico - El Yunque, Loquillo, and Palmas del Mar
Day 4 - Old San Juan
Day 5 - Southeastern Purto Rico - Rincon and San German 
Day 6 - Southern Puerto Rico - Ponce and Tibes
Day 7 - Depart San Juan 

As the local license plates boast, Puerto Rico is "La Isla Del Encanto" - the Island of Enchantment.