Puerto Rico is the ‘sweet spot’ of the Caribbean to vacation or live. Rich in commerce and tourism, this lovely island offers near perfect weather and one of the highest standards of living in the Western hemisphere. A U.S. territory, Puerto Rican citizens hold U.S. citizenship status. As a Commonwealth they control their own political future with free elections.
The islands stormy past includes extreme poverty and Spanish control until 1897 when Spain ceded it to the United States during the Spanish American War. U.S. citizenship was granted by the 1917 Jones Act. The impoverished country gradually began to prosper after the 1830’s introduction of sugar cane, tobacco and coffee.
Agricultural crops now include pineapples, bananas, livestock and poultry as well as traditional crops. The tourism industry, where nearly 80% of the islands labor force is employed, gives the island's economy a huge boost as does the apparel, electronics and pharmaceuticals industries.
Favored by cruise lines and with easy access by air Puerto Rico is a top vacation destination for tourists of all nationalities. Visitors immerse themselves in the islands past with a tour through the historic Old San Juan district. Museums, exhibits and displays show the islands diverse past and tiny native run shops offer uniquely Puerto Rican souvenirs and keepsakes.
Puerto Rico’s must see attractions include the largest rum distillery in the world, the Bicardi Rum Plant. Touring the huge distillery and bottling plant by trolley is free and visitor’s are treated to a free rum cocktail.
The island offers a wide diversity of attractions. With the most significant archaeological sediment in the entire Antilles, the Caguana Indian Ceremonial Park is like none other. Over 800 years old, it renders visitors speechless as they gaze at petroglyph decorated stone monoliths.
San Juan’s ancient fortified defense, the 16th century Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal, built 200 years later are absolute must see sites. The two forts, now National Historic Sites, built with walls up to 18 ft. thick, are riddled with old tunnels and still have dungeons.
Accommodations are plentiful all across the island and vary from simple hotel rooms to luxury resorts. The Hacienda Santa Isabella, in the southern part of the island is a plantation style bed and breakfast inn. With only 16 rooms and rates of less than $100.00 it is a favorite for budget minded vacationers and is typical of B & B’s sprinkled across the island.
The capitol’s Inter-Continental San Juan Resort, Spa & Casino is the ultimate in luxury services and accommodations. It boasts two miles of beachfront and the coveted AAA 4 Diamond status. Visitors can feast on sumptuous meals at the resorts upscale restaurant, enjoy nightlife at the casino and indulge themselves at the resorts world famous spa.
Puerto Rico’s 4 million inhabitants use the U.S dollar as currency and most speak both English and Spanish. With a literacy rate of 95% Puerto Rico is among the most literate of island countries. It is a vacationers dream destination.