Information and Tourism
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico lies on the north-easterly side of the Caribbean Sea, with the Virgin Islands being to the east of the island and the Dominican Republic to the west. Puerto Rico may be relatively small, but the main island is certainly big when it comes to culture, architecture, personality and appeal.
The beaches of Puerto Rico vary tremendously, with some being constantly crowded and others quite secluded, peaceful and overlooked, with soft white sand and waves for surfing. Some of the best beaches include the Playa Flamenco, the Playa Luquillo and Tres Palmas, while the Ocean Park Beach comes with tall condos and popular tourism resorts, including Isla Verde.
Christopher Columbus stepped foot on the main island in 1493, when Puerto Rico was inhabited by Taino people (Arawaks). Soon after, the Spanish arrived in large numbers, enslaving the natives and colonizing the island. However, the indigenous Taino culture of the island is still very much present, being accompanied by an interesting and more recent European heritage.
Tourists holidaying on Puerto Rico can choose between turtle watching on the Isla Culebra, hiking in the El Yunque National Forest, scuba diving off La Parguera, and exploring one or two of the many coffee haciendas. San Juan is the capital city and the largest on the main island, followed by Bayamon, Carolina, Ponce, Caguas and Guaynabo. The Caribbean islands of Culebra, Mona and Vieques are also considered to be a part of the nation.
WORLD GUIDES TO PUERTO RICO
World Guide to Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Generally considered to be an integrated suburb of sprawling San Juan, Bayamon is nevertheless Puerto Rico's second-biggest city. The shopping centres of Bayamon are quite exceptional, although major traffic congestion is frequently a problem here.
World Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico
As the Puerto Rican capital, San Juan comes with plenty of sights to see. A walk around the colonial architecture of the historic Old City is a must, where cobblestone streets will lead you in the direction of the coastline and beaches.
Puerto Rico Information and Fast Facts
- Country: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (north-east Caribbean Sea)
- Population: approximately 3.8 million
- Capital city: San Juan (population 450,000)
- Language: Spanish and English
- Main exports: clothing, electronics, medical products, pharmaceuticals, rum and tuna
- Ethnicity: mostly Spanish in origin, also African, Asian and Amerindian
- Area: 3,500 square miles / 9,065 square kilometres
- Currency: United States Dollar (USD)
- Time zone: AST (UTC - 4)
- Country dialling code: +1 787 / +1 939
- Religion: mostly Roman Catholic
Map of Puerto Rico