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Puerto Rico - Holidays, Flights and Hotels

Puerto Rico and the Caribbean

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Puerto Rico consists of a main island of Puerto Rico and various smaller islands, including Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Desecheo, and Caja de Muertos. Of the latter five, only Culebra and Vieques are inhabited year-round. Mona is uninhabited through large parts of the year except for employees of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources.

The mainland measures some 105 miles by 35 miles (170 km by 60 km). It is mostly mountainous with large coastal areas in the north and south regions of the island. Some beautiful beaches on the north-west side of the island are Jobos Beach, Maria's Beach, Domes Beach and Sandy Beach. The main mountainous range is called "La Cordillera Central" (The Central Range). The highest elevation point of Puerto Rico, Cerro de Punta (4,390 ft; 1,338 m), is located in this range. Another important peak is El Yunque, located in the Caribbean National Forest, with a maximum elevation of 3,494 feet (1,065 m). The capital city, San Juan, is located on the main island's north coast.

Puerto Rico has 17 lakes (none of them natural) [8] and more than 50 rivers. Most of these rivers are born in the "Cordillera Central." The rivers in the northern region of the island are bigger and with higher flow capacity than those of the south region. The south is thus drier and hotter than the north region.

Brief History of Puerto Rico

The history of the island of Puerto Rico prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus is not well understood. What is known today comes from archeological findings and from the writings of oral accounts of the Spaniards. The first comprehensive book on the history of Puerto Rico was written by Fray Iñigo Abbad y Lasierra in 1776, 283 years after the first Spaniards arrived on the island.

Information provided by Wikipedia

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More down-to-earth pleasures await visitors to Vieques island, whose Navio Beach was suitably isolated and panoramic enough for it to feature as a location for the final scenes of the 60s classic 'Lord of The Flies'. And if you've never swum in the unearthly glow of phosphorescence, then a whole new experience awaits you in Mosquito Bay, to the north of the island.


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Getting Around In Puerto Rico

Public transportation in Puerto Rico is fairly bad: outside San Juan, there are no scheduled buses or trains. Most travellers choose to rent their own cars, but intrepid budget travellers can also explore the shared cab (público) system.

By car
If you are planning to explore outside of San Juan, renting a car is by far the most convenient way to get around. Rentals are available from the airport as well as larger hotels.

Parking in the Old Town of San Juan is virtually non-existent and traffic in all major cities is bad during rush hour (8-10am, 4-6pm), so give yourself plenty of time coming and going.

Road signs are Spanish language versions of their U.S. counterparts, so you shouldn't have trouble figuring them out. However, note that distances are in kilometers, while speed limits are in miles. Gas is also sold by the liter, not by the gallon, but prices are roughly equivalent to the continental US.

In additional to the regular free highway (carretera) network, there are three toll roads (autopista) on Puerto Rico. They're much faster and less congested than the highways, and it's worth using them if in any kind of hurry. Tolls for a 2-axle car range from $0.70 and $1.50. The lanes on the left are reserved for people with RFID toll passes, which you probably won't have on your rental car. If you need change, head for the lanes marked with a "C", usually the furthest to the right.

Off the main highways, roads in Puerto Rico quickly become narrow, twisty and turny, especially up in the mountains. Roads that are only one-and-a-half lanes wide are common, so do like the locals do and beep before driving into blind curves. Signage is often minimal, although intersections do almost always show the road numbers, so a detailed highway map will come in handy.

Police cars are easy to spot, as by local regulation, they must keep their blue light bar continuously illuminated any time they are in motion. Avoid getting a speeding ticket: fines start at $50 + $5 for each mile above the speed limit.

By público
A público is a shared taxi service and is much cheaper than taking a taxi around the island, and depending on your travel aspirations, might be cheaper than renting a car. Públicos can be identified by their yellow license plates with the word "PUBLICO" written on top of the license plate. The "main" público station is in Río Piedras, a suburb of San Juan. They're also known as colectivos and pisicorres.

There are two ways of getting on a público. The easier way is to call the local público stand the day before and ask them to pick you up at an agreed time. (Your hotel or guesthouse can probably arrange this, and unlike you, they probably know which of the multitude of companies is going your way.) This is convenient, but it'll cost a few bucks extra and you'll be in for a wait as the car collects all the other departing passengers. The cheaper way is to just show up at the público terminal (or, in smaller towns, the town square) as early as you can (6-7 AM is normal) and wait for others to show up; as soon as enough have collected, which may take minutes or hours, you're off. Públicos taper off in the afternoon and stop running entirely before dark.

Públicos can make frequent stops to pick up or drop of passengers and may take a while to get to their destination terminal, but you can also request to be dropped off elsewhere if it's along the way or you pay a little extra. Prices vary depending on the size of the público and the distance being travelled. As an example, a small público that can seat three or four passengers from Ponce to San Juan will cost roughly $15, while a 15 passenger público that is traveling between San Juan and Fajardo will cost about $5 each person.

By ferry
Ferries depart from San Juan and Fajardo.