Besides chilling on the beaches, here are some recommendations to make your trip to the paradise island of Puerto Rico more memorable.[rpi]
Night kayaking at the bioluminescent bays
What is a bioluminescent bay?
Do you remember the glowing sea at night in the Oscar-winning movie “Life of Pi”? It’s a natural phenomenon when the organisms under the sea light up in a neon blue-green color, giving a star-like reflection to the water in the dark. There are only five bioluminescent bays in the world, and Puerto Rico is home to three of them.
- Mosquito Bay in Vieques: Being recognized in 2006 as the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay by the Guinness World Records, Mosquito Bay is on the southern shore of Vieques island of Puerto Rico.
- Laguna Grande at Fajardo: Located in the east of San Juan – the capital of Puerto Rico, Laguna Grande is the most visited bio bay compared to the other two.
- La Parguera at Lajas: Nestle in the southwestern corner of Puerto Rico, La Parguera is the only bay that allows motorboats to come in and out, besides kayaks. You can take a glass-bottomed boat to admire the organisms that make the bay glows at night.
The Dos and Don’ts
- Minimize the lights around for the best experience. As the darker the water, the more you can witness the glowing organisms.
- Book the tour in advance and check the bay’s brightness the days before
- Wear comfortable clothing to make it easy to paddle
- Avoid a full moon night for the bioluminescent experience. Although the water will still glow, it will be less satisfying.
- Swimming at the bay is not allowed, due to nature conservation purposes.
- No hand creams, bug repellant or any other lotion because they can harm the organisms.
- Motorboats are strictly prohibited, except for the Laguna Grande at Fajardo
- Bringing a camera is unnecessary, as it won’t capture the glow as you see it.
Enjoying a local rum tasting tour
Do you know that 70% of consumed rum in the continental USA today is from Puerto Rico? This popular and ubiquitous Caribbean spirit is distilled in Puerto Rico since the mid-1600s.
So, visit Puerto Rico and have a local rum tasting tour to have a glimpse of the island’s history and craftsmanship of rum, why not? Let’s have a look at the three main distilleries on the island and choose one for your trip.
Producing most of the famous Bacardí rum consumed around the world, this is a must-visited place if you are a rum aficionado.
Located just across the Bay of San Juan, you can get to the distillery by hopping on the Acua Expreso ferry to the town of Cataño. Have a sip with a Welcome cocktail, then you can choose between three tour options: Historic tour to understand the long-lasting rum tradition; Rum tasting tour to sample the one-of-a-kind rum blends; Mixology tour to be guided to make the perfect mojito, daiquiri and Cuba libre.
Hacienda Santa Ana
This is the oldest distillery in Puerto Rico, where you will find the oldest Puerto Rican rum – Ron del Barrilito. This rum is still made in the same place and in the same way since 1880, with a flavor profile similar to bourbon.
It will take you 15 minutes to drive from San Juan to Hacienda Santa Ana. You can drop by the newly opened visitor center nearby to learn more about the history and the taste of Barrilito.
Looking for a unique experience in the Puerto Rico mountain range, go to the PitoRico distillery in the town of Jayuya, which is open for tourists from Tuesday to Saturday.
PitoRico offers a craft and refined version of pitorro, still made by hand but using the latest distillery equipment and technique to make it the premier gourmet pitorro.
Visiting the only tropical rainforest in the U.S National Forest System
Having a very diverse ecosystem with hundreds of unique plant and animal species, including Puerto Rico’s famous coquí frog, El Yunque is one of Puerto Rico’s most beloved natural gems.
Visit the rainforest, you can be immersed in nature by hiking on one of its many trails, bathe in natural pools beneath waterfalls, or relax and enjoy the scenery. Our suggestion is to head over to La Coca trail and hike down to one of several ponds along the route to cool off. If you want to have more fun, try El Angelito trail, where you can have a rope swing to a lagoon after hiking for 4km.
The Dos and Don’ts
- Wear hiking boots, bring your ponchos and an extra set of clothes.
- Pack or wear your bathing suit while you hike to swim later
- Reserve a tour with the hotel or service provider in advance to confirm availability and safety assurance
- Check the difficulty of the trail before the trip
- Make sure to be back by 6.00 PM, before the access control gate is closed
- Avoid venturing off the beaten path because it’s easy to get lost in the rainforest
- Don’t leave your belongings and trash
- Don’t eat any of the vegetation in the forest, there are a number of poisonous plants