A Piece of your Heart

After doing your research looking for the best place to spend an incredible vacation in the Caribbean, you book your ticket to the Island of Enchantment. While you are packing your bag, leaving any warm clothes at home, your excitement grows, assuring you that its magic, romance, adventure, and mystery will meet all your expectations.

Regardless of its size, 110 x 35 mile, this island is the lesser of the Greater Antilles. Its strategic location, compelling history, and astounding geography, distinguish Puerto Rico as one of the most magical and exciting places in the world.

San Felipe Fort at Old San Juan by Ricardo Justino
San Felipe Fort
at Old San Juan
by Ricardo Justino

From the moment you land at Luis Muñoz Marín Airport, a welcoming music impregnates the atmosphere with an upbeat tempo and invites you to move your body to the melody of a song. The rhythmical beats of a conga resonate everywhere putting everybody in a dancing mood.

You head to Old San Juan, the oldest capital city within the US,  founded in 1521. The vibrant town is well-known for its colonial and Spanish architecture. Surrounded by the tranquil and blue Caribbean waters, the ancient forts, San Cristóbal and San Felipe, were built to protect the island from pirate attacks. At night, the soul of San Juan embraces the beauty of such a charming place while the ghosts of famous legends cruise the streets of Old San Juan.

Old San Juan at night
Old San Juan at night

In the northern region, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, you reach the oldest resort town, known as Dorado. (golden) Famous for its serene coastline, white sand,  and palm-fringed beaches, Dorado boasts of its exclusive resorts that provide golf, casinos and a natural sanctuary for a real sense of luxury.

El Yunque Ricardo Justino
El Yunque
Ricardo Justino

In the wild Sierra of Luquillo, as you navigate through the curvy road of 191 that is sheltered by gigantic bamboo trees, and you reach El Yunque Rainforest. You experience the hidden world that resides inside the mysterious woodland; this is the only tropical forest that belongs to the US. Standing at 3543 feet above sea level, it has one of the highest peaks of the island where you see the clouds passing. The coquí, a tiny tree frog that symbolizes the Puerto Rican spirit, composes a symphony with its soothing sound. From legends like the chupacabra, (a bizarre creature that was first seen there in the 1970s), extraterrestrial abductions and UFO’s sightings; the Taínos considered the mystical mountain a spiritual home where Yocahú, their benevolent god lives there.

Kayaking at Glowing Bay in Laguna Grande
Kayaking at Glowing Bay
in Laguna Grande

On a moonless night, about an hour from San Juan, you can drive to a unique wonderland in Laguna Grande, Fajardo. Gliding along in a secluded lagoon protected by a canal of mangrove trees, you paddle in a kayak to a bioluminescent bay where the glowing waters compete with the luminescence of the falling stars.

Arecibo Observatory By Jerry Valentin
Arecibo Observatory
By Jerry Valentin

Founded in 1556, the town of Arecibo hosts the largest radio telescope on planet Earth. Because of its strategic location on the northern coastline, Arecibo  Observatory is well-known to physicists and astronomers around the world, who search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. Just like the Indian Taínos were able to exchange their wisdom with advanced beings, it is evident that Puerto Rico is a hotspot for alien activity.

Known as La Perla del Sur (the Pearl of the South), and on the southern coast, Ponce is the second largest city in Puerto Rico. Distinguished by its neoclassical buildings and facades, Castillo Serrallés (former residence of the producers of Don Q rum), and the Museum of Art — are some of the best highlights of the enchanting town.

View and patio of Castillo Serralles
View and patio of
Castillo Serralles

Heading toward the Western Coastal Valley, Rincón, meaning in Spanish corneris known as the town of the most beautiful sunsets. The charming city hosts some of the best surfing waves in the world; becoming a major resort destination, especially during winter.

On the Northwest coast, the other side of San Juan, the beauty of Aguadilla is captivating. Known as the site upon which Christopher Columbus landed during his second voyage to the New World in 1493, the small and rural town has some of the most exquisite beaches of the island. Surrounded by a bay of transparent waters, its magic rewards the city with the name of  El Jardín del Atlántico. (Atlantic Garden)

Sunset at Crashboat in Aguadilla by Jerry Valentín
Sunset at Crashboat
in Aguadilla
by Jerry Valentín

As you find out that Puerto Rico is an archipelago because of its smaller nearby islands, you decide to visit Vieques Island. For only four dollars round trip, you can take a ferry from Fajardo to Vieques, which is 8 miles east from Puerto Rico. Proud for its glowing waters, Mosquito Bay is the only phosphorescent bay where you can experience your body becoming translucent while you swim.

Because most of its land belonged the US Navy for over six decades,  some areas of Vieques are still undeveloped, giving you the illusion that you are on a secluded island. To add to your adventure, you can go horseback riding along the pristine, white sands and crystal water beaches that are surrounded by native flora.

At the end of your vacation, you realize that the Puerto Rican sun touched you with a golden light, making you feel so good. The fascinating adventure has given you a new insight into your life. Magic is in the air of the Island of Enchantment; and, while you can take a little piece of its magic with you, a piece of your heart will always stay there.

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