Adventure guide to Puerto Rico

Kurt Pitzer & Tara Stevens

Hunter Publishing, Inc.

dventure Guide to

4th Edition

Kurt Pitzer & Tara Stevens

HUNTER

HUNTER PUBLISHING, INC. 130 Campus Drive Edison, NJ 08818-7816 s 732-225-1900 / 800-255-0343 / fax 732-417-1744 www.hunterpublishing.com E-mail [email protected]

IN CANADA: Ulysses Travel Publications 4176 Saint-Denis, Montréal, Québec Canada H2W 2M5 s 514-843-9882 ext. 2232 / fax 514-843-9448

IN THE UNITED KINGDOM: Windsor Books International The Boundary, Wheatley Road, Garsington Oxford, OX44 9EJ England s 01865-361122 / fax 01865-361133

ISBN 1-58843-116-9 © 2001 Hunter Publishing, Inc.

This and other Hunter travel guides are also available as e-books in a variety of digital formats through our online partners, including Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and eBooks.com.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher.

This guide focuses on recreational activities. As all such activities contain elements of risk, the publisher, author, affiliated individuals and companies disclaim any responsibility for any injury, harm, or illness that may occur to anyone through, or by use of, the information in this book. Every effort was made to insure the accuracy of information in this book, but the publisher and author do not assume, and hereby disclaim, any liability for loss or damage caused by errors, omissions, misleading information or potential travel problems caused by this guide, even if such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause.

Cover: Beach in Puerto Rico, © Wendell Metzen / IndexStock

Interior photographs provided by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), unless otherwise indicated

Maps by Lissa K. Dailey and Kim André, © 2001 Hunter Publishing, Inc.

Indexed by Nancy Wolff

CONTENTS

Introduction 1

The Land 1

History 3

Government 11

The Economy 13

Climate 14

Flora & Fauna 15

The People 22

Language 24

Religion 25

Music & Dance 28

Art & Culture 31

Food: A Taste of Puerto Rico 34

Festivals & Events 37

Getting Here 40

Getting Around 42

Where To Stay 44

Where To Eat 49

Adventures 50

Eco-Travel 59

Shopping 59

Travel Information 62

Travel Directory 70

San Juan & Environs 73

History 74

Getting Here 77

Getting Around 78

Mail & Communications 81

Touring & Sightseeing 82

Adventures 97

Eco-Travel 104

Where To Stay 105

Where To Eat 111

Entertainment & Nightlife 121

Leisure & Shopping 127

North Coast 131

Getting Here & Getting Around 131

Touring & Sightseeing 133

Adventures 143

Eco-Travel 153

Where To Stay 156

Where To Eat 160

iv I Adventure Guide to Puerto Rico

West Coast 165

Getting Here & Getting Around 165

Mail & Communications 168

Touring & Sightseeing 168

Adventures 182

Eco-Travel 197

Isla Mona 198

Where To Stay 204

Where To Eat 210

Nightlife 214

South Coast 215

Getting Here & Getting Around 215

Communications & Information Sources 216

Touring & Sightseeing 218

Adventures 237

Eco-Travel 250

Where To Stay 255

Where To Eat 261

Nightlife 266

Central Mountains 269

Getting Here & Getting Around 269

Communications 270

Touring & Sightseeing 270

Adventures 280

Where To Stay 288

Where To Eat 294

East Coast 299

Getting Here & Getting Around 299

Communications 302

Touring & Sightseeing 302

Adventures 312

Eco-Travel 324

Where To Stay 335

Where To Eat 339

Vieques Island & Culebra Island 345

Overview 345

Vieques 346

History 347

Getting Here 349

Getting Around 351

Communications & Information 352

Touring & Sightseeing 354

Adventures 358

Where To Stay 365

Where To Eat 368

Nightlife 371

Culebra

371

History

373

Flora & Fauna

375

Getting Here

376

Getting Around

378

Communications & Information

379

Touring & Sightseeing

380

Adventures

385

Eco-Travel

392

Where To Stay

393

Where To Eat

396

Spanish Phrases

399

Bibliography

409

Index

The Caribbean

viii

Puerto Rico

2

San Juan Metro Area

72

Old San Juan

83

Condado

92

The North Coast

132

The West Coast

164

Rincón

172

Rincón Surf Beaches

193

Isla Mona

199

The South Coast

217

Ponce

227

Guanica Trails

239

The Central Mountains

268

Toro Negro Hiking Trails

283

The East Coast

298

El Yunque

328

El Yunque Hiking Trails

332

Vieques

350

Isabel Segunda

355

Esperanza

357

Culebra

372

Dewey

The level of detail in this book would have been nearly impossible to achieve without the help of countless residents of Puerto Rico who took interest in our work, shared their knowledge and help and became our friends as we explored the island. We would especially like to single out a few people for thanks: Shane Dennis, for his unceasing hospitality; Yvonne Torres and Annette Blasini, who shared, among other things, their unique views on island life; Alexandra Encarnación; Tom Darby; Hilda Quiñones; Mark and Lenora Turney; Bill and T. Conner; Omar Torres; Steve-o and Lenny, who provided many insights and good times between the rigors ofresearch; Roberto Bonilla, for his knowledge ofTaino lore; Amanda Robles, for her expertise on island cuisine and restaurants; Oscar and Sylvia Blasini, for their helpful tips; Rebecca Toser for her priceless insight into Puerto Rican slang; and Richard Druitt, a valuable resource for all sorts of adventure. Abig shout out and many thanks to the boys at Taino Divers - Carson, Jari, Bundy and Matt - for teaching us the underwater magic of scuba and other adventures in floating and submersion. We would also like to thank Ada Santos and Ana Marie Fournier at the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and Carlos Weber Lopez and Debbie Molina Ramos at the San Juan Dept. of Tourism for their professional advice and help.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Tara Stevens' nearly insatiable appetite for travel began at age 17 when she took up residence in a tent on the Pembrokeshire coastal path of her native Wales. Among other adventures, she has hitchhiked through Turkey, ridden buses from India to Nepal, navigated the Río Magdalena in northern Colombia and played poker with the elderly women who live in the Peruvian sand dunes of Huacachina. In Ecuador, she worked as travel editor on the Quito-based publication Q. She has served as sub-editor for the Copenhagen-based design magazine CPH Living, contributes regularly to PR Week in London, and consults for several global brands in Denmark.

Kurt Pitzer has worked as a correspondent for newspapers and magazines such as The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and People for the past decade. He has covered stories ranging in topic from Balkan conflict to city politics. His travels and reporting have taken him on extensive journeys throughout Western, Eastern and Central Europe and the Americas. His adventures include building a bamboo hut and living with the Karen people in the northern Thai mountains, teaching journalism in Elsinore, Denmark, and commercial long-line fishing in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific waters. He lives in Spain.

\ DOMINICAN RICO REPUBLIC

\ DOMINICAN RICO REPUBLIC

Curacao

VENEZUELA

Caribbean Islands

PUERTO Virgin Islands Anguilla

St Kitts & Nevis

PUERTO Virgin Islands Anguilla

Barbuda Antigua Guadeloupe Dominica Martinique

St. Lucia St Vincent Grenada

Tortuga MarSarita Trinidad & Tobago

Curacao t

Barbados

VENEZUELA

GUYANA

NOT TO SCALE

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