Now that travel is officially back in full force, Caribbean nations have once again come to the forefront of international attention for their natural allure and rich cultural heritage.
Lately, though, there’s been one particular island whose tourism has been growing at record rates, outpacing even America’s no.1 international hotspot, Mexico.
During the first nine months of 2023, this country’s passenger traffic increased by a remarkable 24.1%.
A Haven of Natural Beauty
At the core of Puerto Rico’s allure lies its exceptional natural beauty.
The island is a haven for beach enthusiasts, boasting a coastline adorned with powdery white sands and glistening turquoise waters.
If you’re ever in Puerto Rico, you’ll want to visit at least one of the world-class beaches in the area – Flamenco Beach and Playa Buyé are both excellent options.
However, beachgoers aren’t the only ones who can appreciate the diverse, awe-inspiring landscapes scattered all across the country.
Here, you’ll also find El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System, which makes for the experience of a lifetime on its own.
Hike through the thrilling trails that lead to hidden waterfalls and breathtaking peaks.
Don’t forget to stop every once in a while, though, to enjoy the enchanting songs of the exotic birds in the area, many of which are endemic to El Yunque.
If you’re looking for something that’s more thrill-inducing, explore the Rio Camuy Cave Park, an expansive network of limestone caves that’ll leave adventurers a little short of breath.
Make sure to plan one last sightseeing expedition to Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world that’ll have you undergoing an out-of-body experience.
The warm tropical climate that the country enjoys year-round is just the icing on the gorgeous cake that is Puerto Rico’s scenery.
Average yearly temperatures in Puerto Rico hover around 73.3 °F (23.0 °C), creating the perfect setting for travelers to enjoy the warm getaway of their dreams, especially during these colder seasons.
Abundant Cultural Attractions
Puerto Rico’s cultural heritage is as vibrant as its landscapes.
The island’s history is a vibrant mosaic that features Taíno, African, and Spanish influences, offering visitors one of the most unique cultural experiences they’ll ever get to enjoy in their lifetime.
There are few things Puerto Ricans enjoy more than their music, so immerse yourself in the rhythm of plena, bomba, cha-cha, and mambo.
I’d highly recommend timing your visit strategically so you get to experience at least one of the festivals that take place year-round in Puerto Rico.
There, you can appreciate the local music in its truest, most enjoyable form while also getting to explore multiple other facets of Puerto Rican culture.
If that’s not possible, make it a point to visit the historic district of Old San Juan, which stands as a testament to Puerto Rico’s rich colonial history.
You’ll want to set an entire day aside to walk through the cobblestone streets admiring the unique pastel-colored buildings.
Don’t forget to add El Morro and San Cristobal to your itinerary – there’s a reason why they’re both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Plenty To Do
Puerto Rico is much more than just a haven for sightseers and history buffs; it’s a lively country that offers tourists, especially thrill-seekers, a lot to see and do.
Zip-line through the lush canopies of the country’s iconic forests, scuba dive in Culebra (if you’re a beginner) or Mona Island (if you’re a diving expert), kayak through the gorgeous bioluminescent bays or surf in the 7-feet (2-meter) high waves of Aguadilla.
Accessibility and Warm Hospitality
While there’s no shortage of Caribbean islands that boast the same types of idyllic white-sanded beaches that Puerto Rico is famous for, few provide travelers with the same level of accessibility and warm hospitality.
Since the island nation is a U.S. territory, you won’t need a passport to enter its borders – just make sure to have a valid driver’s license or state ID with you.
In the same vein, you don’t need to worry about currency exchanges since the entire country uses the U.S. dollar.
However, what really makes Puerto Rico stand out as one of the most charming travel destinations in all of the Caribbean is the warmth and generosity of the locals.
Puerto Ricans are known for their hospitality, making travelers feel like they’re finally in their long-lost home.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com