Taking a trip to a tropical paradise is the dream of many. The lure of clear blue water, sandy beaches and laid back lifestyle is a huge attraction. While Pacific Islands and beaches in Asia lure many, there is a closer option. The islands in the Caribbean are closer for North American travelers and one island overlooked by many is Puerto Rico. Since Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, US citizens do not need a passport to travel to the Caribbean island and although Spanish is spoken on the island, so is English. Puerto Rico has a rich heritage, friendly people and the great beaches and atmosphere you would expect from a tropical getaway. Here is our list of the top places to visit in Puerto Rico.
Located just outside San Juan is the archaeological remains of the first Puerto Ricans. The Tainos people lived on the island until the 15th century when the Spanish arrived and they died off from disease and subjugation. What remains is a glimpse into how these people lived. You can see petroglyphs etched in granite, artifacts uncovered during archaeological excavations and see the ceremonial plazas used by the Tainos. While the large central plaza was probably used for ceremonial events there are several smaller plazas where the game of batos was played. Batos was a team sport similar to modern day soccer. The park also has a museum where you can view some of the items unearthed on the site and learn about the Tainos culture. The park and museum are open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm daily except on major holidays.
While many people love their Starbucks in the morning Puerto Rico was one of the world’s leading coffee exporters once. Today Puerto Rico can’t even meet the demands of the island so very little 100 percent Puerto Rican coffee ever makes it off the island. In the 19th century, Puerto Rican coffee was considered some of the best and exported to European palaces to be enjoyed by royalty and even the Vatican. Today a lot of coffee beans are imported into Puerto Rica to be mixed with the local beans. For the coffee lover a trip to visit one of the coffee plantations to witness how the beans are harvested, roasted and turned into a great cup of joe is an enjoyable experience. There are several Plantations or Haciendas as they are known and some are free while others charge a small fee. Sandra Farms, run by Sandra and Israel Gonzalez offer tours and coffee tasting for $15 per adult.
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