Have you been dreaming of leaving all of it behind and jetting off to the Caribbean however preserve laying aside that passport renewal? Luckily, Americans can expertise the wonder and allure of the Caribbean with out a passport!
In reality, Americans can expertise the very best of the Caribbean with out a passport, with out exchanging cash, with out a long-haul flight, and with out coping with the effort of worldwide cell service limitations.
Take It From Me, Puerto Rico Is The Most Accessible Caribbean Destination
When the chance to journey to Puerto Rico this fall offered itself, I jumped on it instantly. Having lived elsewhere within the Caribbean since July, I used to be to see how various things had been in San Juan. As an American, I knew I might journey to Puerto Rico with out a passport. However, it didn’t register how actually straightforward it was to go to till I flew to San Juan.
The flight was a breeze! A beautiful 2.5 hours from Miami with beautiful climate, so the view from above turned the world beneath right into a portray.
Having by no means been to Puerto Rico, I nonetheless felt like I used to be touring to a different nation outdoors of the States. With Puerto Rico being a U.S. territory nevertheless, flying into San Juan was like some other home flight. When I landed and took my cellphone off airplane mode, I had improbable cell service. Once deplaned, a small a part of me felt like I wanted to undergo customs.
Instead, I used to be outdoors the airport and ready for my floor transport in about 5 minutes! The drive to my resort, The Sheraton, was clean and brief, which felt out of the norm for the Caribbean. If you’ve frequented a lot of the Caribbean, you in all probability understand how tough the roads can get!
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Not The Puerto Rico I Was Expecting
As everyone knows, the media typically tends to magnify. As my departure date inched nearer, I watched two hurricanes make landfall in Puerto Rico. First Fiona, after which Ian. Friends and household saved asking me if I deliberate to cancel my journey. I by no means had any intention of doing so, however did surprise what issues could be like once I arrived.
By no means am I discounting the affect Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Ian had on residents of Puerto Rico, significantly these within the south. Still, whereas exploring San Juan, I noticed no proof of storm injury and no areas with out energy, save the occasional visitors gentle. Everything gave the impression to be working enterprise as common.
Speaking with my driver on the way in which to the resort, he recounted his experiences all through varied hurricanes. He informed me how a lot his life modified throughout Hurricane Maria, one of many worst to ever hit the island. Fiona and Ian had been no comparability, at the very least for him.
Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, later knowledgeable us at a press convention that Hurricane Fiona barely impacted vacationers’ plans to return to the island for trip. Less than 10% canceled their journey, and in Dean’s phrases, Hurricane Fiona was “a setback, not a reset.” Indeed, most of Puerto Rico was and nonetheless is totally open and secure for journey.
One Of The Best Ways To Give Back
It could seem counterintuitive, however probably the greatest methods to assist the native financial system of Puerto Rico, even after a hurricane, is thru journey and tourism. Even one thing so simple as grabbing a fast chunk at a neighborhood brewery provides up and helps the locals who work there.
During my keep, I had the pleasure of speaking to quite a few locals working within the tourism sector. Each of them echoed this sentiment, touring to Puerto Rico and having fun with native actions is among the greatest methods you possibly can assist.
An Immense Cultural Experience
Since it was my first time in Puerto Rico, I didn’t know what to anticipate. My typical go-to locations are principally European, and I’ve a deep-rooted love for the previous. Marveling at the great thing about St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, strolling amongst historic Viking burial mounds in Mølen, and exploring Blarney fort in Ireland are recollections solidified in my mind. Not due to their visible enchantment, however due to the connection I felt to the historical past and tradition of these experiences.
Puerto Rico now has a spot amongst this particular set of recollections, and I can’t wait to return. Walking by way of the historic district of Old San Juan confirmed me that Americans don’t need to journey far to see a singular mix of historical past. Old San Juan is the oldest metropolis within the U.S. and its territories. Visitors can see beautiful buildings displaying Baroque, Neoclassical, Gothic, and Spanish Colonial structure — all inside strolling distance of one another. On the western aspect of Old San Juan, some buildings date again to the 1500s — the historical past lover in me felt proper at dwelling.
A Unique Take On History
I explored Old San Juan in a singular method that I extremely suggest to anybody visiting the world. Rather than merely strolling round and exploring independently, I went on the Old San Juan Walk & Taste Tour with The Spoon Experience. This tour wasn’t only a guided stroll amongst lovely buildings and experiencing native meals and drinks. While that was actually a part of it, what made the tour unforgettable was the huge quantity of historical past eloquently expressed by our unimaginable information.
In just some hours, I sampled essentially the most genuine native meals obtainable whereas studying every meal’s historic and cultural significance. In between our meals stops, our information talked about Old San Juan’s wealthy historical past. From the plain particulars like its strategically defensible place, to the not-so-obvious incontrovertible fact that the countless shade provided by San Juan’s structure solely exists on account of a poor compass studying in the course of the metropolis’s planning. There was a lot unimaginable historical past shared, and I can’t wait to return and do it once more to study extra!
Top 6 Reasons I’ll Be Going Back To Puerto Rico
- It’s So Easy – Visiting Puerto Rico was like taking all the things nice concerning the Caribbean and packaging it with straightforward home flying. My flight from Miami was solely 2.5 hours, and getting by way of the airport and to my resort was a breeze. If I lived in Miami, I’d go to Puerto Rico on each obtainable lengthy weekend.
- For More Of Old San Juan – I fell in love with Old San Juan the second I noticed it. The structure, the charming little retailers, and the immense cultural expertise have cemented this lovely metropolis in my thoughts.
- For The Adventure – My journey was spent in San Juan, however subsequent time I head to Puerto Rico, I plan to take a look at extra off-the-beaten-path sights. Some that I take into consideration embody El Yunque National Forest and Laguna Grande, a bio bay the place guests can expertise the great thing about bioluminescence within the water.
- For More Beach Time – I didn’t spend a lot time on the seashores, however positively will sooner or later! From the beautiful El Escambrón in San Juan to the gorgeous Pelícano Beach in Ponce, I’ll be scoping out Puerto Rico’s seashores throughout my future journeys.
- For The Art – I had the pleasure of participating in a strolling artwork tour in Santurce, a municipality in San Juan recognized for its vibrant artwork scene and thrilling nightlife. Just just like the culinary tour, it was a historical past lesson in disguise. I discovered extra about Puerto Rico and its individuals in the course of the tour than I ever had at school. This was totally on account of our unimaginable information from theartwalkpr.
- For The Food – The meals, I miss it a lot! Aside from the Old San Juan Walk & Taste tour, I had the pleasure of taking a cooking class with Mesa Redonda on the pretty Cocina Abierta. My group was chargeable for making the Sofrito, a staple base for a lot of Puerto Rican dishes. Everything was unimaginable, and I left satisfied that each meal ought to begin with Alcapurrias and finish with Tembleque.
Best Times To Visit Puerto Rico
I’m of the opinion that anytime is the very best time to go to. However, relying in your preferences, there are months of the yr that will greatest fit your wants.
- To keep away from crowds, stick with the shoulder seasons of September to mid-December and mid-April to May.
- To get monetary savings, June by way of September is mostly extra reasonably priced, as it’s hurricane season. Just regulate the climate and you should definitely buy appropriate travel insurance, and also you’ll be all set.
- To keep away from wet days, shoot for February, because it is among the driest months of the yr.
How To Get There
While you might cease and see Old San Juan for a day throughout a cruise, if you wish to keep in Puerto Rico for some time, you’ll need to fly. This is the place Puerto Rico shines when in comparison with many different Caribbean locations. San Juan has over 25 direct routes from the U.S. mainland, and flying in is extremely straightforward.
Americans won’t want a passport, and there’s no prolonged customs line ready for you upon touchdown. Not solely that, it’s sometimes fairly reasonably priced. For occasion, a direct flight from New York City to San Juan could be discovered for round $300 with JetBlue this November, carry-on included. Puerto Rico is undoubtedly probably the most accessible locations within the Caribbean.
The Number One Reason I’ll Be Back
I arrived in Puerto Rico not understanding what to anticipate. I left with a newfound love and respect for the tradition and people who made this island come alive. While the experiences themselves had been unimaginable, the individuals behind them had been the true magic. And they, greater than the rest, are the explanation I’ll be coming again.
**Travel Off Path was a visitor of Discover Puerto Rico who helped with the creation of this itinerary by internet hosting a few of our lodging and sights. Our opinions, suggestions, and solutions stay our personal.**
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This article initially appeared on TravelOffPath.com