Has the initial burst of cold air from the north got you feeling down? You would normally book a flight to somewhere warm like you usually do, but lo and behold, you just realized that your passport just expired.
Don’t despair though – you live in America! The island nation of Puerto Rico is an official territory of the United States, meaning you can board a flight to this exotic destination with little more than a piece of government-issued photo identification.
What unique attractions await you in Puerto Rico? Below, we’ll give you a taste of a place that will soon become your new favorite getaway.
Old San Juan: the former heart of the Spanish Caribbean
Begin your time in Puerto Rico by exploring the cobblestoned streets of Old San Juan. One of the Spanish Empire’s most important ports in the colonial era, it consists of an old town with Spanish Colonial architecture and a series of fortifications.
This includes the likes of Fort San Cristóbal, which was the largest of its kind built by the Spanish in the New World.
After admiring the views of the Caribbean and the city from its walls, head into town to enjoy its many shops, restaurants, and bars.
Playa Flamenco: one of the most critically acclaimed beaches in the world
There are many beaches in Puerto Rico where you can enjoy a relaxing holiday, but none of them are as stunning as Playa Flamenco.
Situated on the island of Culebra just off the northeast coast of mainland Puerto Rico, Playa Flamenco has made it onto numerous lists in the international travel media for being one of the most visually stunning beaches on the planet.
In February, The Guardian named it to its list of the 50 best beaches in the world , and Tripadvisor honored it as the #3 beach in the world in its Traveler’s Choice Awards in 2014.
Its waters are kept calm by a reef that sits a quarter mile off shore, making it safe for families and a great place to go snorkeling.
El Yunque: the only tropical rainforest in the National Forest system
If you have a love for tropical flora and fauna, then make room in your itinerary for El Yunque National Forest.
This park has the distinction of being the only tropical rainforest under the care of the United States Forest Service, making it a unique box to tick off for those looking to visit every protected area in the USA.
With plentiful rainfall throughout the year, the foliage in the park is lush, and refreshing waterfalls can be found in abundance.
Be sure to keep your eyes open for the coquí, a frog endemic to Puerto Rico, and the elfin woods warbler, which is also only found in this U.S. territory.
Golfing, SCUBA diving, fishing: whatever your interest, Puerto Rico has you covered
If you are a traveler that always needs to be doing something active, Puerto Rico has something that will interest and occupy you during your time here.
The Royal Isabela is a new course that has brought the links concept to the tropics (where it isn’t often found), making it worth your consideration even if you are a bit of a scratch golfer.
Divers will want to descend into the depths off Mona Island, a spot 50 miles off Puerto Rico. Known by experienced divers as the place where the Caribbean meets the waters of the Atlantic, the mixing of these two bodies creates an environment that is conducive to a plethora of marine life.
Finally, those looking to hook into the big one will have lots of choice throughout the year. Depending on when you come, you’ll have a chance to snag a marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tuna, or many other exotic tropical deep water fish that ply the waters off Puerto Rico.