Looking for a getaway that doesn’t require a passport? Consider Puerto Rico, a tropical island in the Caribbean that offers beaches, fine dining, rainforests, and good old-fashioned relaxing!
The road system is as advanced as those you’ll find in the States (nope, the cobblestone roads in Old San Juan are not typical across the island!). Roads are clearly marked, and the main roads that cross the mountains were safe and well maintained. Spanish is the main language, but everyone has English classes in school. Resort employees speak perfect English, and if you wander outside the resorts, the person you are talking to understands you, even if they are too shy to admit it.
This island is pretty big so don’t underestimate how long it takes to get around. There’s a main mountain chain that runs the length of the island, and the drive thru the mountains can add a bit to your drive time.
Standard of living is high compared to most other Caribbean islands, and pretty close to what you’ll find in many US States. Water filtration meets the same US standards. Puerto Ricans are US citizens. Everywhere I went folks were chatty and delightful, and many were well traveled in the States or lived there for a period of time.
You can find some excellent dining venues in Puerto Rico, ranging from regional specialties to international dishes. Everything I tasted was fresh and delicious, and the resorts are all justly proud of their restaurants. At dinner, the pace is slower and more typical of Europe.
If nightlife is important, stick with San Juan. Here you’ll find the trendier clubs, and some of the best chefs. Fusion cuisine is popular (such as Puerto Rican and Asian). Many of the San Juan resorts offer casinos, and most have a trendy club or two onsite.
Renting a car is easy, and is recommended if you’re visiting the southern or western areas of the island, if you’re planning a multi-destination itinerary, or if you’d like to explore the island on your own. The resorts in the San Juan area generally charge for parking. Away from the San Juan area, some resorts can be pretty far from shops, other restaurants, and the sights.
There’s a lot to see and explore on this island. There are numerous golf courses, and diving is well established. There’s the rain forest in the east, and the dry forest in the west, as well as caves and hikes for the more adventurous. In general, it is a fun island to explore and get to know the history, culture, and people.
Beaches in Puerto Rico are pretty, but don’t quite measure up to Negril or Cancun. The north side of the island is the Atlantic, while the south side is the Caribbean. Sand quality ranges from golden to brown to gray. The better beaches are to be found along the east coast, which is actually Atlantic & the Caribbean, and the best beaches are on Puerto Rico’s islands off the east coast (such as Vieques).
The all-inclusive concept hasn’t caught on in Puerto Rico, but you’ll want the flexibility to explore things on your own here. Some resorts offer free breakfast promotions; check with us for current specials.
American Airlines offers daily nonstop service between DFW and San Juan. Most major carriers also offer service from DFW to San Juan with one or more connections
~Cindy Grant, Travel Consultant, ReconnectTravel.com 972-625-6200