San Juan Puerto Rico

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Since the 1950s, Puerto Rico has developed exponentially, as witnessed in the urban sprawl, burgeoning traffic, and growing population (estimated at nearly 4 million); yet, en la isla (on the island) a strong Latin sense of community and family prevails. Puertorriqueños are fiercely proud of their unique blend of heritages.

Music is another source of Puerto Rican pride. Like wildflowers, vellonera (jukeboxes) pop up almost everywhere, and when one is playing, somebody will be either singing or dancing along — or both. Cars often vibrate with reggaetón, a hard, monotonous beat with lyrics that express social malaise. Salsa, a fusion of West African percussion, jazz, and other Latin beats, is the trademark dance. Although it may look difficult to master, it’s all achieved by just loosening your hips. You may choose to let your inhibitions go by doing some clubbing a la vida loca espoused by pop star Ricky Martin. Nightlife options are of the variety available in any metropolitan environment — and then some.

By day you can take in the culture of the Old World; one of the richest visual experiences in Puerto Rico is Old San Juan. Originally built as a fortress by the Spaniards in the early 1500s, the old city has myriad attractions that include restored 16th-century buildings and 200-year-old houses with balustraded balconies of filigreed wrought iron that overlook narrow cobblestone streets. Spanish traditions are also apparent in the countryside festivals celebrated in honor of small-town patron saints.

For quiet relaxation or more adventures travel off the beaten track, visit coffee plantations, colonial towns, or outlying islets where nightlife is virtually nonexistent. And of course you don’t come to a Caribbean island without taking in some of the glorious sunshine and natural wonders. In the coastal areas, the sun mildly toasts your body, and you’re immediately healed by soft waves and cool breezes. In the misty mountains, you can wonder at the flickering night flies and the star-studded sky while the coquís (local tiny frogs) sing their legendary sweet lullaby.


Categories: Abacos, Puerto Rico, San Juan

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