La Isla del Encanto has way more to offer than just white sand beaches in touristy San Juan. Here are some more off-the-beaten-track gems in and around the Island (and a special discount offer just for Latina readers!).
1. Puerto Rico Treasures: Vieques
Because of the U.S. military’s occupation of this island (bombing exercises and everything), it has remained relatively undeveloped, making for a perfect getaway to enjoy the pristine beauty of this hideaway.
For more info: www.viequestourism.com/getthere.htm to find out how to get to the Island
TRAVEL DEAL! Experience Vieques the luxe way, and stay at the W Retreat and Spa. The hotel’s relaxed Bohemian-chic vibe mixes well with Vieques’s natural Caribbean charm. Relax on its private beaches, go horse back riding, dine well at the property’s 5-star restaurant, or chill out at night by the outdoor fire pits.
Latina.com and the W Vieques are offering our readers an exclusive special, which includes:
- Overnight accommodations for a minimum of 3 nights in a Wonderful Room
- Daily breakfast for two at miX on the beach
- Tasting dinner for two at miX on the beach
- Sunset champagne ritual for two
- Bioluminescent Bay tour for two
- $100 spa credit per room
Price: $419/night per room
Book by: December 17, 2010
For more information or to book, please visit W Retreat & Spa, www.wvieques.com/latina, or call 800-946-8357 with the code LATINA.
2. Puerto Rico Treasures: Rio Camuy
Río Camuy Cave Park
This 268-acre park is the 3rd largest cave system in the world—but it’s the only one that has a tropical underground river winding through its vast network of caves and sinkholes. Walk across bridges and trams to Cueva Clara, and then make your way to the breathtaking Cathedral cave, which houses ancient Taíno petroglyphs etched on the walls.
For more info: 787-898-3100 Open for tours from Wed. to Sun. 8am–4pm
3. Puerto Rico Treasures: Parguera
La Parguera Bioluminescent Bay
There is no better place in Puerto Rico to go diving and snorkeling than in Bahía La Parguera. On a moonless night, you can charter a boat out into the blackness of the Bay and go snorkeling to see sparkling lights. The phosphorescence is actually bioluminescence generated by microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates, in the water.
For more info: 787-899-1660
How to get there: From San Juan take Road 52 to Ponce and then Road 2 towards San Germán. Exit onto Road 116 to La Parguera
4. Puerto Rico Treasures: Arecibo
The observatory is the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope.
Owned by Cornell University, it's powerful enough to receive signals transmitted by a comparable telescope located 1,000 light-years away. Once there, you can see how the colossal structure is used to study radio emissions from distant galaxies, quasars, pulsars and many other cosmic sources. The exhibits are interactive and contain extensive information on astronomy and atmospheric science.
For more info: Open to the public Wed. to Fri., noon–4pm, Sat. and Sun, 9am–4pm, 787-878-2612
How to get there: From San Juan take Road 22 to Arecibo. In Arecibo, take Road 129 to 134, then Road 635 to 625, which ends at the observatory.
5. Puerto Rico Treasures: Ponce
Art and Music in Ponce
The Ponce Museum of Art, designed by Edward Durrell Stone (who also designed the MoMa), houses the most extensive collection of European and Puerto Rican art in Puerto Rico.
For more info: Open daily 10am–5pm. Admission: Adults $4, children $2; 787-848-0511 or 787-848-0505; museoarteponce.org
At the Museum of Puerto Rican Music, you can trace the rich musical history of the island through memorabilia of famous musicians and displays of Indian, Spanish and African musical instruments.
For more info: Open Wed. to Sun 9am–noon and 1pm-5:30pm; free admission, 787-844-9722