From the main island, to its offshore jewels, Vieques and Culebra, every part of Puerto Rico has its own identity yet shares the same roots. Crystal clear blue watered beaches, jaw-dropping mountain ranges, 500-year old forts and five-star hotels are just a few reasons vacationing on this island is an experience far from the ordinary.
Just a three-hour direct flight from Atlanta brings you to San Juan, the heart of Puerto Rico with hip restaurants, glamorous hotels and a cosmopolitan vibe. Travel between Puerto Rico and the U.S. requires no passport for U.S. citizens. Spanish is the official language, although most islanders speak English. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, so the U.S. dollar is the official currency.
Puerto Rico is Spanish for “rich port”#, although it wasn”t its original name. From 1493 to 1508, Puerto Rico was called San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist. Locals call it “Isla del Encanto”# which of course means Island of Enchantment. The first inhabitants date back to 2000 BC and remnants of their culture are still alive in the everyday language and the many indigenous ceremonial parks still in existence.
For such a small island, Puerto Rico has a lot of history. Epic battles were fought at land and sea between massive armadas in an attempt to steal Puerto Rico from the Spanish. Kings and Queens from all over the world visited the island just to catch a glimpse of its beauty and many explorers voyaged in hopes of bringing knowledge and riches back to their home countries. Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory following the Spanish American War in the late 1800s.
After you”ve shopped until you drop in San Juan – or partied all night at the city”s many clubs – wander through the streets of Old San Juan and get lost in the myriad of historic buildings and streets of this colorful historic city. Then recharge your batteries under a palm tree in a hammock on the beach.