A beach holiday with a little jungle thrown in


What’s not to love? San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico and a trip here is a trip into a different world. A US protectorate it may be, but you’ve never seen history, beaches and jungle like this unless Costa Rica is on your bus route home.
Let’s start with San Juan. It was here that the first shots by US forces were fired in World War 1 (by officers chasing an armed German supply boat out of the harbor). San Juan was a central point in the Spanish-American war and also in the French Revolutionary wars of the 18th century and even earlier in the 15th and 16th century battles for New World domination.

A peaceful place now, the history of San Juan is decidedly warlike and that means a series of forts and battle locations for you to visit. Among the most notable are the city’s former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristóbal, and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas. San Juan is a in a prominent position in the Caribbean so a network of fortifications was built to protect the transports of gold and silver from the New World to Europe. Because of the rich cargoes, San Juan was central to the fight against piracy in the 16th and 17th centuries and a target for the naval nations of the era.

All of this means a fascinating glimpse of life as it was way back when and old San Juan is a maze of narrow, cobble-stoned streets punctuated by historic mansions, government buildings and churches.

Moving outside San Juan is a choice between beaches and jungle. Located in the northern foothills of the Sierra de Luquillo (Luquillo mountains), a Zipline adventure is Tarzan for tourists! Essentially you rappel through the forest canopy – pretty exciting stuff and you get to see rainforest up close.

If it’s beach you’re after, Luquillo Beach (near El Yunque) is a real locals’ haunt where you’ll find long stretches of sand, water sports equipment rentals and a great selection of food stands. You can stay nearby and it’s all tropical paradise, cocktails at night and lazing the day away.

Check it out – you’ll love San Juan!

One Response

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