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Puerto Rico, a Tropical Caribbean Escape!

Puerto Rico, a Tropical Caribbean Escape

Puerto Rico, a Tropical Caribbean Escape!

Puerto Rico, a Tropical Caribbean Escape!

Puerto Rico is a tropical Caribbean escape where no passport is required for US Citizens.  It does not matter the reason for your trip, Puerto Rico has the answer waiting for you.  Family trip?  No problem, looking for a romantic getaway? They have a place.  Need a weekend trip for guy or girls? Come on down!  It does not matter if you come on a day on a cruise ship or by plane for a weekend, a week, for a celebration, or vacation you are sure to have a good time.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States with roughly 3.5 million people.  That is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. The island is 1,150 miles from Florida, just past the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico has beautiful beaches, a rain forest in addition to thriving manufacturing, pharmaceutical companies, textiles, petrochemicals, and electronics industries.  The Capital, San Juan, is a financial services hub with several major finance and insurance companies all calling it home. Puerto Rico ranks very high in tourism.  Because it is a US territory a passport is not required to visit the island.  You can fly to Puerto Rico just like flying to Chicago.  The port of San Juan is one of the busier cruise ports in the world.  

Puerto Ricans are US Citizens
United States and Puerto Rican Flags

The United States and Puerto Rican Flags

Puerto Ricans are US Citizens.  In 1917, the U.S. Congress passed the Jones Act, that granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship.  This was actually controversial as the Puerto Rican House of Delegates, voted unanimously against it citizenship.  They believed that the US imposed citizenship to draft Puerto Rican men into the army as America entered into World War I.  Puerto Ricans cannot vote for President of the United States although they do participate in the nomination process of the 2 political parties.  Only Puerto Ricans with a voting residence in one of the 50 states or in the District of Columbia can vote for President.

Puerto Ricans Pay Taxes
Puerto Rican Capitol Building

Puerto Rican Capitol Building

Puerto Ricans do however pay US federal taxes, with the major exception being that most residents do not have to pay the federal personal income tax. If you are a U.S. citizen (or resident alien) and a resident of Puerto Rico, you file a U.S. tax return reporting income from worldwide sources but excluding Puerto Rico source income.  Meaning you do not pay US federal tax on income earned from a job in Puerto Rico.

 

The Island

Puerto Rico from the air!

The Island of Culebra from the air!

 

Puerto Rico is made up of the large island of Puerto Rico along with the additional smaller islands of Mona, Culebra, Vieques, plus some cays and islets.  The capital and most populous city is San Juan with over 395,326 souls.  To put that into perspective based on the 2010 census Puerto Rico is larger than New Orleans, Tampa and Pittsburgh together.  The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has an area of 5,320 square miles.  The island is 110 miles long, and 40 miles wide.  Puerto Rico is the 3rd largest Caribbean island behind Cuba and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic & Haiti) and it is larger than Jamaica.

The Rainforest in Puerto Rico

Waterfall in the Rainforest

Waterfall in the Rainforest

A view from the top of the Rainforest

A view from the top of the Rainforest

 

El Yunque National Forest part of the U.S. Forest Service.  El Yunque Peak is one of the highest with an elevation of 3,494 feet.  Due to its high humidity, the peak is nearly always covered in a mist. Often a quick shower develops during the afternoons.  The area has plush green plants with tall trees and vegetation as well as animals unique to the area.  The highlight of the rainforest is the waterfalls.  People flock to take pictures of the waterfalls and themselves in or in front of the waterfalls.

Bacardi Rum
Bacardi Rum Distillery

Bacardi Rum Distillery

Bacardi moved its operation from Cuba to Puerto Rico due to the Cuban Revolution.  The facility was built in 1958.  It is approximately 127-acres. This is the largest premium rum distillery in the world. Bacardí Corporation offers 3 different tours that include tasting and is the second most visited venue in Puerto Rico.  This is something you will want to see in Puerto Rico

Beaches
The Beach at La Concha in Puerto Rico

The Beach at La Concha in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a beach lover’s dream with hundreds of beaches.  The island has beaches in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.  There are literally over 300 beaches that can be enjoyed year-round.  That is because the average temperature is 82.4 degrees throughout the year.  The city of San Juan has two beach destinations, Condado and Ocean Park. Outside the city is where the true jewels are.

Old San Juan
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Another popular spot is Old San Juan.  Simply put it is the oldest settlement on the island and the rest of the Island grew out from there.  It is full of rich history, colorful buildings, cobblestone roads and some great balconies.  Several Churches can be found in this section.  Restaurants, cafes, and parks line the streets.  The anchors of the Old San Juan area are San Felipe del Morro Fortress and Fort San Cristobal.

San Felipe del Morro Fortress

San Felipe del Morro Fortress

Puerto Rico is a tropical Caribbean escape.  US Citizens do not need a passport to go.  Visit the island by plane, cruise ship or private boat. Come for a day on a cruise ship or by plane for a weekend, a week, for a celebration, vacation or no reason at all.  The answer will be waiting for you on the island and it won’t matter the reason.  Puerto Rico has sun, fun, attractions, restaurants, and lodging all waiting for your to arrival.

Read  All about Cuban Beaches – related article
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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 28 different Countries mainly concentrated in the Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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