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There’s never been a better time to visit Puerto Rico

It’s been one year since Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico. US travelers hesitant to go there fall into one of two camps: people who vaguely believe that half the island is still underwater, and people who worry that they’d be an unwelcome resource drain on a fragile economy. It can absolutely in no way be overstated that neither of these things are true.

“The first three months after Hurricane Maria, no one came,” says Carla Berrios, a violin teacher who lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “But now tourists are starting to come back.”

You aren’t burdening Puerto Ricans with your beach vacation: On the contrary, when you visit Puerto Rico, you’re putting money in the pockets of Puerto Ricans directly, immediately, which is more than can be said of pretty much any major relief organization.

The vast majority of the island has reopened for business. Hotels are open. Restaurants are open. Also, flights are mad cheap right now. Also also, there are tons of things to do and it’s fun, and you are a person who enjoys fun. Puerto Rico is extraordinary, as I found out from the four days I just spent in and around San Juan. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit.

The beaches are ready and waiting…

Companies like East Island Excursions will set up your day-trip to Culebra, a smaller island where you can bask in the sunshine of Playa Flamenco — one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico. Arrive thirsty, because this day will involve drinking (I mean, if you want it to). Also a lot of eating. You will begin to sense a theme. A 50-cent ferry will get you to the Bacardi Distillery, though rum tasting isn’t quite drinking, more like limbering up for the actual drinking to come. (Also, if you’re looking for the most classic, beloved Puerto Rican rum, you’re looking for Ron del Barrilito.)

Even if it’s raining, you’ll probably see at least a few people kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding around the San Juan Bay. If you’re the daring type, jump off the stone bridge that separates Laguna el Condado to the east from Caño de San Antonio to the west; the attitude toward this is something like, “It’s illegal, but people have always done it.”

There’s also plenty to do on dry land

To get around, you can and should rent a bicycle, but there’s also a free trolley that will take you around San Juan, and to the national parks as well. Rincón, on the island’s western coast, is the top place for whale watching, but between December and March you can spot whales from San Juan’s Playa Escambron. In addition to being a good diving and snorkeling site, Escambron has a rather lovely trail running alongside for when you rent that bicycle.

Save an afternoon for aimlessly roaming around the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, where the houses are painted in different pastel shades. Cathedral de San Juan Bautista is the oldest church in America, having survived from the year 1540. You’ll find a mind-boggling number of structures from the 16th century — our country’s oldest Christian settlement is here. “This looks like New Orleans,” notes my driver at one point, “but we are older than New Orleans. So New Orleans looks like us.”

Source by Kastalia Medrano

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We are an experience and adventure community blog. Let's go out and explore Puerto Rico together.

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