Here’s a few uber-cool spots I’ve had the chance to explore in recent years:
So what’s the latest? The year-end was capped with an 8-day journey through the “Isla Del Encanto”. Puerto Rico is one of those places that I had put off traveling to for so long, and regretfully so. Being a U.S. Commonwealth and territory, I always imagined it to be a tropical buffet of American-influenced side dishes and all-to-familiar desserts with the steady beat of reggaeton pumping out of the kitchen. While that’s partially true – the Caribbean “ritmo” does beat steadily and you will see multiple Burger King and Wendy’s restaurants in every city around the island (especially Wendy’s…there hasn’t been a more popular redhead on an island since the days when Ginger was flirting with the men of the S.S. Minnow) – it is also true that there is soooo much “authentic Puerto Rico” still to be found if you take the time to explore beyond the souvenir-studded streets of San Juan and its backdrop of luxury cruise liners. Though I really did enjoy the island’s capital, I like to think of San Juan as sort of like being in Level One of The Legend of Zelda. There are some nice gems to be found here, but if you never pass level one (leave San Juan) you’ll never discover where all the true riches exist on the island. Beyond the capital’s tourist gridlock and the colorfully-coated stucco and charm of the Old Town, there is an entire island that offers up all of the exotic fruits and traveler fantasies that a tropical island is typically known to bear. To sample a few of my personal favorites, please click here: http://damianjames.zenfolio.com/puertorico
With nearly 300 beaches along 272 miles of coastline, Puerto Rico has got what many come to see. Among the highlights of the country are the stunningly serene offshore islands of Vieques and Culebra, the Cordillera Central (the island’s spine of verdant vistas and irenic villages spanning the entire length of its mountainous interior), a diversly-designed nature’s web of waterfalls, caves, rivers, forests and colonial treasures, and a super-friendly local people who are always eager to chat it up over a cold Medalla Light and a basket of tostones. Did I mention the rum drinks? Yeah, they’re pretty darn good too! I’m so glad I finally decided to take the hop over to our Commonwealth turf in the Caribbean and see for myself what this island is all about. My doubts were answered and my expectations were exceeded, as they usually are when I go somewhere with an open-mind and adventurous spirit. As I always say: question your doubts, feed your curiosity, believe your eyes and follow your hearts. The Isla Del Encanto (“Land of Enchantment) sure earned a piece of “mi corazón” during my visit, and I am now happy to say that the island of Puerto Rico is truly as advertised.