" Estas son las cosas que si yo no vuelvo nunca a Puerto Rico haré que me cuenten y me recuenten...Cuando me muera...yo bajaré a mi
        Puerto Rico, en ese vagabundeo arrastrado de niebla de las cinco de la mañana, que hacen los muertos."
      -Gabriela Mistral en Los Esplendores de Puerto Rico
           
        "The island" in the parlance of Puerto Ricans refers to the part of the island outside of San Juan..."la isla" has been transformed in the course of the century...In 1900 over 80% of the population was rural; now 80% live in its cities and towns. The cities and towns outside the Capital's area has seen an explosive population growth, doubling or tripling in the past few decades.

        But for all the modernism and the attraction of San Juan, the soul of the Puerto Rican lies in the campo, the rural setting that gave birth to the jíbaro, the man of the soil who remains the symbolic precursor of today's Puerto Rico.... The highways enable the Boricuas to escape the urban environment and every weekend people head to beachside or mountain retreats or perhaps go to see family or friends in Aguadilla, Lares or Comerío or wherever "home" may be....out on la isla....where the heart is....

        You wouldn't expect that in so small an island, 100 by 35 miles, an hour would take you from deeply forrested mountains to desertlike areas where strange cacti grow man-high, nor that from a traffic jammed, noisy highway bounded by treeless urbanizations you can pass in a few minutes to a tranquil scene where a river winds through a meadow and there's hardly a house in sight..But such is the case in Puerto Rico...as the tourism ads say..this is the "continent of Puerto Rico"..out on the island...where Puerto Rico metamorphoses into a gret diversity of landscapes. Sunny beaches and 272 miles of coastline give way to upland rain forests; crammed urban highways intersect with roads that soon wind under leafy canopies. Year-old highrises share the island with 300 year-old towns and 1,000-year-old trees...an abundance of natural wonders and diverse tropical topography: rocky shores, tranquil beaches, rugged mountains and tropical rain forest...Along the way, you would encounter a wide variety of tropical blossoms and colorful, mostly friendly creatures who make this island their home. Since pre-Columbian times the island has changed in many ways. Agriculture has been intense; today less than one percent of the island is virgin forest. Coffee and bananas grow in the mountains; sugar cane and pineapples along the coast Modern urban areas now exist in Ponce, Mayaguez, Caguas and Arecibo yet most of the 78 towns still cluster around traditional Spanish plazas and native trees flower throughout the year.

        Essential to the founding itself of each town was its Catholic church and to this day the church on the main plaza is the architectural pride and joy of many a town. One of the island's most popular yearly events is the celebration in each town of the FiestasPatronales in honor of the area's patron saint. Catholic in their beginnings, the festivities have adopted many elements of African and local origin. The fiestas usually take place in the main plaza and include religious processions, games, regional food plus much music and dance.The ten days of festivities include the patron saint day and are held evenings onweekdays and daytime and evenings on the weekends.

        It is Summer in Puerto Rico !! You don't think we have seasons in the Tropics? Well, there are these ever so subtle changes ...nothing dramatic like leafless trees--but there are less flowers on our trees. The ocean is just as blue, the trade winds just as breezy, the people just as friendly as they are when you have snow on the ground and ice in your ears..It is cooler, maybe into the upper 60's in the costal regions and down to the 50's in the Mountains at night...Winter is a very nice season to visit the island.... You can still bathe in our beautiful beaches.!!!
         

Tourist Routes
Mona Island | Luquillo Beach

Arecibo Observatory --listening to the stars from Puerto Rico...
 Rio Camuy Caves Park
Las Cabezas de San Juan | Serrallés Castle
Bosque de los Tres Picachos
San Cristobal Canyon
Mirador Piedra Degetau | Vieques Bioluminescent Bay
Las Croabas