Introducing Puerto Rico
The Land of the Great Lords
[fancy_image path="public://Old-San-Juan.jpg" alt="Old San Juan, Puerto Rico" align="left" title="Old San Juan, Puerto Rico" caption="Old San Juan, Puerto Rico - photo © Wei ZhangHudson" image_style="quicktab-normal" lightbox="true"][/fancy_image]
How or when the natives of South America arrive on the island of Puerto Rico is still somewhat of a mystery, but when Columbus found the island in 1493, the Taino people were farming, fishing and enjoying the natural beauty of the island. Thanks to Juan Ponce de Leon, who was a lieutenant on the Columbus voyage, the city of Puerto Rico, or “Rich Port,” became an essential Spanish military outpost in the Caribbean. In 1508, Spain began colonizing the island. In 1513 African slaves were introduced to the island and by 1539 the famous fort, El Morro, was under construction. The coconut tree was introduced to the island in 1542 and ginger replaced sugar as the island’s main export in 1598.
Puerto Rico has the shape of a rectangle and is considered the smallest island in the group of islands called the Greater Antilles. It sits about 1,000 miles off the coast of Miami. It’s 110 miles long and 40 miles wide. Its eastern neighbors are the Dominican Republic and Haiti and it’s almost a stone’s throw away from the Virgin Islands. It has 292 miles of coastline and the capital city, San Juan, is the commercial center, but the cities of Ponce, Mayaquez, Bayamon, Caquas, Carolina, Arecibo, Cayey, Aquadilla, Guaynabo and Fajardo are thriving and densely populated tourist destinations. The island is on Atlantic Standard Time, which is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
About Puerto Rico Today
The natural flavor and charm of Puerto Rico is felt as soon as you arrive on the island. PR is an ultra modern vacation spot with first class hotels and spas spread across the island.
There are over 12,000 hotel rooms on the island and around 50% of them are in San Juan. PR feels more like South America than it does the US, so light and loose clothing during the day is best and a lightweight jacket or sweater is perfect for the cool evenings or a trek into the mountains. Nudism is illegal in PR, so don’t forget your swimsuit. The beaches are sensation regardless of what you’re wearing, so plan to spend a great deal of time enjoying the tropical climate.
Every US retailer has a store on the island and the local vendors carry one-of-a-kind merchandise. If you like shoes, clothing, cigars, and craft shop items, bring some extra money; PR has them and much more. PR has a number of festivals every year; in fact there is one or two a month in different cities around the island.
Puerto Rico in a few words
It’s not just the unending white beaches, turquoise water and endless sun that make Puerto Rico one of the most popular islands in the world. The island has craved a niche for itself thanks to the entertaining, as well as loving people, who call the island home. The gracious Caribbean culture that seeps out of the homes and businesses can only be described as impeccable. One trip to PR leads to another and then you’re hooked. The island becomes a passion and you find yourself dreaming in Spanish and dancing the night away in a salsa rhythm that only the Land of Great Lords can offer you.