The Scoop on Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is an ideal vacation destination for eco-tourists (people who enjoy vacationing in nature and participating in outdoor activities). Among the island's most popular tourist attractions are the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque), the Rio Camuy Cave Park (one of the largest underground cave networks in the world), and the island's bioluminescent bays, where the water literally lights up, thanks to the bioluminescent organisms living near the water's surface.
Puerto Rico offers plenty of water sports and more than 300 pristine, white sandy beaches. In fact, you'll find over 270 miles of sandy beaches surrounding the island. Scuba diving, parasailing, snorkeling, Jet Skiing, sailing, windsurfing, surfing, and a wide range of other sports are readily available at or near many of Puerto Rico's resorts.
For golfers, Puerto Rico also offers more than two dozen eighteen-hole championship golf courses, some of which offer spectacular ocean views, while others are situated within lush tropical landscaping. Greens fees start at about $35 per round and go up considerably from there.
For adults who just want to relax, many of the higher-end resorts features world-class day spas that offer a wide range of massages, facials, and body treatments for both men and women. You'll find these upscale spas at resorts, such as the Caribe Hilton, Wyndham El Conquistador, Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino, El San Juan Hotel & Casino, Hyatt Regency Cerromar Beach, Doral Resort at Palmas del Mar in Humacao, and Ritz-Carlton.
For the kids, many of the popular resorts offer evening movies or organized activities, but these tend to end at around 10:00 P.M. Plan on going to sleep early and waking up early every morning to hit the beach or participate in activities.
JUST FOR PARENTS
The majority of activities offered in San Juan happen during the day. At night, plan on enjoying lengthy dinners, visiting the casinos, or participating in the few nighttime activities at your resort. For adults, Puerto Rico offers a wide range of nightclubs and bars, some of which feature live music and dancing nightly. In-room baby-sitting services are available (for a fee) at many resorts and hotels.
Three other popular activities for tourists visiting Puerto Rico include shopping, visiting the tourist attractions (historical sights and museums, for example), and casino gambling.
Because it's part of the United States, Puerto Rico is not a duty-free island. However, you don't have to pay any sales tax or customs duties. In addition to souvenirs, Puerto Rico offers an excellent selection of locally made art and jewelry. Some of the more upscale shopping areas and malls feature designer fashions, boutiques, and galleries as well.
In addition to cash and all major credit cards, traveler's checks are widely accepted. Most U.S. banks offer traveler's checks for a small fee. American Express (800-221-7782) offers traveler's check in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000, which can be ordered by phone, obtained at some banks, or purchased from American Express Travel Services offices worldwide. The benefit to traveler's checks is that they're easily replaceable if they get lost or stolen.
Stores are typically open Monday through Saturday, between 9:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M., and on Sundays between 11:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., with extended hours during peak holiday seasons. All major U.S. credit cards and traveler's checks are accepted virtually everywhere. Local currency is the U.S. dollar.
Puerto Rico uses standard, 110-volt electrical power, the same as in the rest of the United States. Virtually all of the driving laws are also the same, so Americans will have little trouble finding their way around, even though the majority of the traffic signs are displayed in Spanish.
Puerto Rico goes by Atlantic Standard Time, which is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Puerto Rico does not observe Daylight Saving Time.