You have a long weekend coming up. You want to use that time to take in a different culture and see a new part of the world you’ve never been to. The problem is, your passport isn’t current and you need a destination you can visit within days, not weeks or months. That means places like Mexico, France or Australia are off the table.
Even with that, you have a lot of interesting options. One such option is a trip to the beautiful and bustling islands of Puerto Rico. Because it is a U.S. territory, you do not have to have a passport as a U.S. citizen traveling to or from Puerto Rico. Here are some of the many attractions it offers for you to choose from.
- Golf Where the Pros Do
If a peaceful game of golf is a core feature you crave during vacations, Puerto Rico offers one of the best fairways. The Coco Beach Golf Resort in Rio Grande has hosted the Puerto Rican Open — an official event of the PGA Tour — every year it has been held since the Open’s inception in 2008. Play the same course as some of the greats, with pristine grass cutting like a rolling velvet wave and water lapping at the nearby ocean shores.
- Hike in El Yunque National Rainforest
For another way to enjoy the outdoors, perhaps with a bit more rugged appeal, visit El Yunque National Rainforest. It is a tropical rainforest, and the only one the U.S. National Forest System manages. Hike miles of recreational trails, or up to the Mount Britton Observation Tower to take in all you can see.
- Surf and Sightsee at Rincon
This beautiful seaside town offers an array of fun activities to choose from. Watch the whales, surf the waves or shop the handcrafted items made by local residents. Rincon is gorgeous enough that it has even claimed a high rank among lovebirds looking for a Caribbean wedding.
- Trek Through El Morro
Along the outskirts of Old San Juan towers a coastal fortress overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Officially named Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, but colloquially known as El Morro, this impressive fort was erected to protect San Juan from attacks that arise by sea. Remarkably, that purpose has been fulfilled: El Morro has never been taken by sea. In the present day, El Morro’s defensive capabilities have been put to rest and it serves as a public attraction.
- Tour Castillo San Cristóbal
Like El Morro, Castillo San Cristóbal was built along the edges of Old San Juan to defend against attacks, though in this case by land. While perhaps less famous than its sea-shielding neighbor, Castillo San Cristóbal is no less impressive. Construction began on it in 1634 as an answer to the 1625 battle of San Juan when Dutch forces took control for a brief period of time.
The long, rich history of Castillo San Cristóbal’s defense has made it a fascination for tourists to rival the surrounding intrigue of Old San Juan. In fact, in recognition of the area’s value, UNESCO added Castillo San Cristóbal, El Morro and the whole of Old San Juan to the roster of World Heritage Sites in 1983.
- Take in the City of Ponce
If you’re interested in architectural beauty and historical significance, Ponce is a wonderful place to visit. There you will find a long list of attractions. You may enjoy seeing Parque de Bombas, Ponce’s first fire station and a unique vision that easily stands out even in contrast to the array of unusual architecture across Puerto Rico. Stop by Museo de la Historia de Ponce if you are interested in learning about the city’s heritage. Look out over the city in the Cruceta del Vigía, a 100-foot tower in the shape of a cross, featuring panoramic views of the city.
These are but a few of the scenic, often stunning settings Puerto Rico offers its visitors. You may find that your long weekend isn’t nearly enough time to see all you want to, so plan on returning again soon!