Puerto Rico may be the smallest island out of the Caribbean’s Great Antilles, yet it doesn’t stop the 100×35 mi island from having an abundance of different environments and ecosystems. Aside from breathtaking beaches, you can also find a rainforest, a dry forest, a deep sea trench, several bioluminescent bays, and the list goes on. If you’re looking to travel to some tropical place and want to get the full Caribbean experience, consider traveling to Puerto Rico, also known as the Enchanted Island. So forget the resort experience and start packing for one extreme adventure.
1. First stop: Rincón
Book your flight so you arrive at the northwest airport in Aguadilla. Then you’re just a drive away from a small town called Rincón, which literally means the corner of the island. Because of the town’s location, you will be able to snorkel and scuba dive through a thriving underwater world found in the Puerto Rico trench, the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean. Rincón is also known for its surfing, humpback whale watching, and for being a natural habitat for leatherback turtles.
2. Second stop: Lajas
From Rincón, drive south to a town called Lajas. Take a break from all the extreme activity and chill in picturesque fishing town called La Parguera. There, you can enjoy swimming in shallow reefs (if you’re lucky enough, you may just swim next to a manatee). You can visit a mangrove island off La Parguera called Caracoles. In the evening, don’t forget to swim in one of the three well-preserved bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico. Get ready to swim in glow-in-the-dark water!
3. Third stop: Cabo Rojo
Move away from the water and enter a desert in the middle of this tropical island. Right next to Lajas, you will find a town called Cabo Rojo. Cabo Rojo is one of the towns where you can enjoy Puerto Rico’s dry forest. Strap on your hiking boots and explore through the dry forest’s unique flora, salt flats, and wildlife refuge.
4. Fourth stop: Río Grande
From Cabo Rojo, which is in the southwest past of the island, you will embark in a road trip across the island and head to the northeast town of Río Grande. Aside from enjoying a varied and panoramic view of countless Puerto Rican municipalities, you will end up in Puerto Rico’s rainforest El Yunque, also known as the island’s lungs. El Yunque is the polar opposite of Cabo Rojo’s dry forest. Here you will find lush greens, sky-high mountains, and refreshing waterfalls.
5. Last stop: San Juan
Before leaving the island from the main airport, Luis Muñoz Marín, take a day to visit what’s know as Puerto Rico’s metropolitan area. Make sure to walk through the historic cobblestone streets of Old San Juan. Then visit Santurce, an emerging cultural hub where you will find beautiful murals painted by international renown street artists who over time have fallen in love with the island.