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    The other municipalities that make Puerto Rico

    by Gypsystravels Updated Jul 27, 2015

    If you get a chance, have time or want something a little different than what San Juan has to offer, than I would recommend that you venture out to one (or as many as you can) of the other 77 municipalities that comprise Puerto Rico. Many of the towns are steep in history and culture, while many others are great towns to explore enjoying the beaches or outdoor activities.

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    • Beaches
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Bacardi Plant - Catano

    by Gypsystravels Updated Jul 27, 2015

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    Located in Catano, this plant is the largest distiller in the world. Yes, you heard right!! The Bacardi Company is a family owned business in its 7th generation and the Bacardi's are hands on owners. Take the tour which lasts about 45 minutes, interesting the things that you can learn about this company. The Bacardi Rum is a well guarded secret and only about 20 people have the knowledge and are sworn to a lifetime contract with Bacardi. Heavy stuff, huh. Pictures are not allowed inside the buildings during the tour.

    Mom & Kris at the plant
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    El Portal Tropical Forest Center

    by jumpingnorman Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    This place is worth a visit if not just for the building which has won international architectural acclaim. The white building has several pillars and looks very modern and well-suited for the surrounding rainforest. You may think there are holes in the roof (like they forgo it in some parts) but this is actually a part of the design. It did cost about $18 million to build it and it has 10,000 sq ft(929 sq m) of pavilions, exhibits and even a huge gift shop.

    It is open only from 9AM to 5 PM, but also has a movie documentary on Understanding the Forest. $3 admission for adults and $1.50 for kids…but with tours, you might have to ask your guide to see if he can get you in for free. Ours did.

    UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!

    Here is a video of the Jumping Family enjoying the beaches
    and the rainforest of PUERTO RICO
    to the tune of the Flintstones theme song, haha:

    PUERTO RICO RAIN FOREST AND BEACHES

    Twins with our Puerto Rican guide JOSE, El Portal El Portal Tropical Forest Center, Puerto Rico El Portal Tropical Forest Center, Puerto Rico El Portal Tropical Forest Center, Puerto Rico Twins at El Portal Forest Center, Puerto Rico
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    See a Rainforest - El Yunque

    by jumpingnorman Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    June 16, 2009 – Today we had so much fun at the El Yunque Rainforest which is just about a 45 minute drive from the city of San Juan.

    There are three offers at the Marriott concierge for the El Yunque Forest: a half day visit for $53, add the luquillo Beach for $70.20, or Have a hike and swim at La Mina also for $70.20. Naturally, my family chose the one with beach (just about $5 less for the kids I think).

    Since this is the rainforest, expect RAIN. And yes, we did have rain on and off but it was fun and we just bought our raincoats at the forest gift shop. The greenness of the area is just purely amazing --- lots of green and very different from the dryness we have where we live in Arizona. So, the twins had fun walking the single trail…It is just one trail and it is about 1 mile and very easy to follow although it may be slippery in some areas. But if our 5 year old twins can do it, you can too! Wheelchairs may not be wise though…

    The forest has 28,000 acres of wilderness (11, 331 hectares) and is another one of the sites included by Theodore Roosevelt to list of worth-preserving state parks. It was in 1493 when Columbus first saw it, and now it remains much the same except for some additional trees from Asia. They have added lots of bamboo to avoid erosion. Our guide Jose also showed us a tree which was familiar to us in Asia – the Ilang-Ilang. You also see lots of Sierra palms.

    You don’t see tigers, monkeys, apes…and no scary chupacubras as well. But they do have lizards and snails and lots of birds (hawks as well). The green parrot is on the endangered list and used to be a million on the Puerto Rican islands but now it has been decimated to just a few and our guide has never even seen it. You just see pictures of it.

    UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!

    Here is a video of the Jumping Family enjoying the beaches
    and the rainforest of PUERTO RICO
    to the tune of the Flintstones theme song, haha:

    PUERTO RICO RAIN FOREST AND BEACHES

    Son with raincoat in El Yunque, Puerto Rico Rainforest in El Yunque, Puerto Rico Rainforest in El Yunque, Puerto Rico Twins at Rainforest in El Yunque, Puerto Rico Wife at Rainforest in El Yunque, Puerto Rico
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    Free WiFi

    by heitzenrater Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    In a pinch? Need to check your e-mail? San Juan offers free WiFi provided by the Puerto Rico tourism company. As you get near the Tourism Company you will see signs (like the one pictured above) on the light posts. I found that I had to get pretty close to the Tourist Company for it to work. This area is located at the following address

    135 W 50th St # 22
    New York, NY 10020-1201

    It is located by the statue I pictured above, near the start of the El Morro water trail.

    IF YOU LIKE MY POST PLEASE GIVE POSITIVE FEEDBACK, THANKS

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    Banco Popular

    by Dabs Updated Feb 1, 2011

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    I found the Banco Popular building listed in an article in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of Budget Travel 20 Best-Kept Secrets of San Juan, Puerto Rico so as we were on our way back to pick up our luggage from storage we popped in and we were told to go up to the museum on the 3rd floor, the Sala de Exhibiciones Rafael Carrión Pacheco. The article said that the museum showcases "island-centric exhibits, such as an exploration of area coffee plantations and a 38-foot scalemodel of the old city" but what we think we were looking at (all of the exhibits were in Spanish) was the scalemodel of the old city with the proposed light rail system for Old San Juan.

    The 11 story art deco buidling is located at Calle Tetuán 206. The museum is open from Tues.–Sun. from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and is free to visit. Be sure to have a look at the outside of the building as well as have a look into the lobby from the 3rd floor viewing area.

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    El Yunque - The Caribbean National Forest

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 21, 2010

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    El Yunque is unique in the Caribbean and in the National Park/Forest system of the US. You should stop at the Visitor's Center first to find out about the park.

    I wanted to see the flowers, foliage and animals. I didn't get to see the endangered parrot. I did get to see some of the land snails. You can hike and swim in the pools at the bottom of waterfalls. (Get a map of the hiking trails at the visitor's center.) Go to the Caribbean National Forest page on VT for the narrative of our visit.

    We saw a breadfruit tree. There were hibiscus and ginger flowers (photo 3), and traveler's palms. Marian told us there were more than 75 species of ferns.

    Unfortunately it is really hard to get there. You either have to rent a car or take a tour. There is also a lot of traffic on the roads.

    This is from the National Forest website.

    How to get there from San Juan

    Take the Airport Expressway, Hwy. 26 (Baldorioty de Castro Ave.) and follow the signs directing you east to Carolina; once you are on the expressway, follow it to the end (approximately 22.5 kilometers/14 miles). At the final exit (Carolina) stay in the left hand lane until you merge with PR Road # 3. Continue on PR # 3 for approximately 20.9 kilometers/13 miles until you see the signs for "Palmer-El Yunque." Turn right at the traffic signal and follow the road through the village of Palmer until you see the sign for PR Road # 191. (Hint: there is a restaurant called "Noname", painted a bright-turquoise on the corner!) Turn left on PR # 191 and follow it for approximately 4 kilometers/2 miles until you see the El Yunque National Forest sign (photo 4). The entrance to the El Portal Rain Forest Center is on your right-hand side just after you enter the forest.

    Rain forest mountain Foliage and plants Ginger flower Seeds that the endangered parrot likes to eat Mountain side
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    The site of the Dupont Plaza fire

    by Jefie Updated Feb 20, 2010

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    I've been debating whether or not I should write this tip but as it might be of interest to some people, I thought I'd post it anyways. The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino was originally built in 1964 and in the 1970s, it became known as the very luxurious Dupont Plaza Hotel. On New Year's Eve 1986, three employees who were involved in a labour dispute set fire to the hotel, hoping that the news would keep tourists away and cause trouble to the owners. However, the fire caught quickly and soon spread to the hotel's lobby and casino. Most of the spectacular rescue operation was caught on tape and televised later on. Unfortunately, 97 people died in the fire that is still described today as one of Puerto Rico's most tragic events.

    The building was completely restored from 1990 to 1995, when it reopened as the San Juan Marriott Resort. It has regained all of its former glory and today it is still one of the most popular and prestigious hotels in the Condado area.

    San Juan Marriott Resort in the Condado area
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    Fort San Geronimo

    by Jefie Written Feb 20, 2010

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    Built in the 17th century, Fort San Geronimo was originally part of San Juan's line of defense, along with El Morro and Castillo San Cristobal. It is located at the entrance of the Condado Lagoon, next to the Caribe Hilton Hotel and in front of the Condado Plaza. It was attacked several times, including during one decisive battle against the British troops of Admiral Henry Harvey and Sir Ralph Abercromby in 1797. The little fort was heavily damaged during the 2-week battle but it proved to be so instrumental in defeating the British troops that it was quickly repaired by the Spanish forces. Today, Fort San Geronimo is owned by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, but it is at present too damaged to be visited. Different projects are currently on the table to restore and secure the building to make it accessible to the public.

    Fort San Geronimo, next to the Caribe Hilton Hotel
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    Parque Luis Muñoz Rivera

    by Jefie Written Feb 20, 2010

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    The Luis Muñoz Rivera park is located in an area called "Punta de Tierra", stretching between the Condado area and Old San Juan. Created in 1929, it is the oldest urban park in all of Puerto Rico. It was named in honour of Puerto Rican poet, journalist and politician Luis Muñoz Rivera (the father of Luis Muñoz Marin), who is to this day remembered for the important role he played in securing political autonomy for Puerto Rico. Since on most days we chose to walk from our hotel located in the Condado area to the historic district, it was very pleasant to walk under the shade of the park's big leafy trees. It was fairly quiet on weekdays, except for when they were hosting an event at the park's huge pavilion. I wouldn't say it's necessarily worth going out of your way to see the park, but if you happen to be walking in the area it's definitely worth checking it out.

    That's me, at the Luis Mu��oz Rivera park I really liked the coqui mosaics on the sidewalks Here's another coqui mosaic

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    Bioluminescent Bay Kayak Tour

    by DGPoohBear Written Dec 6, 2009

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    Take a field trip to Fajardo to see Laguna Grande. The 2 hour guided tour takes you through magrove channels into a bioluminescent bay. The bay is filled with thousands of Pyrodinium bahmense organisms that glow when you touch the water. The tour was well worth the money, guides were knowledgeable and friendly. One note, the kayak portion through the mangrove channel is completed in near-darkness. If you are claustrophobic or afraid of the dark this tour is not for you.

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    • Kayaking

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    2-4 hour Hiking Trails: El Yunque

    by jumpingnorman Written Jun 16, 2009

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    Since hiking is popular at the Yunque forest, they have good info offered at the El Yunque Catalina Field Office near the Palmer Village at the forest’s northern edge (787-888-1880).

    The famous 2 hour trails include the La Mina (where you can also swim) and the Big Tree trail. The La Mina is conveniently paved, and the Big Tree trail is known for the towering trees of Tabonuco Forest.

    But for the more daring and I plan to do this with kids when they’re older – do the El Yunque Trail which is 4 hours roundtrip. Panoramic vies are through the peaks of Roca Marcas, Yunque Rock, and Los Picachos.

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    making the right turns

    by rowdy_rod2 Written Apr 15, 2009

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    Callejon de la Capilla

    Callejon translate to alley, and this is certainly what it appears to be. Although, it has to be the nicest alley I have ever seen. It is located in Old San Juan off of Calle de la Fortaleza just west of Plaza del Colon. It is a colorful passage and I believe sometime in the afternoon chairs and tables appear and local patrons come to have a cold drinks on a hot day. When you approach the crowd you will only see a door and a room big enough for maybe 8 people (standing) inside with a bar and bathrooms. The charm is the street is the mingling spot not the tiny room. It had a nice atmosphere, and the best part…the beer was only $1.50. Nice find I should say. Across from this hole in the wall was what appeared to be a restaurant. I didn’t make it in, but they did advertise Flamenca dancing the next evening. Another reason to make it back to Old San Juan. Salud!

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    The Guavate Experience

    by gdilieto Updated Dec 19, 2008

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    Every Puerto Rican will object to a weekend day-trip from San Juan to Guavate being an "Off the beaten path" experience, being Guavate probably the most-popular weekend destinations for Puerto Ricans. True, but as a matter of fact for tourists and travelers it might be a very unexpected destination. Like for me, that ended up in Guavate on a Sunday afternoon almost by chance.

    The "Guavate Recreational Area" - usually referred to as simply "Guavate" - is the place in the Central Mountains where Puerto Ricans gather on weekend days to enjoy traditional food, Caribbean music and the mountain. It is properly a few-mile-long area packed with family-style eateries serving roasted whole pig along with other delicacies from Puerto Rican traditional cuisine. While the roasted pig gets slowly roasted, salsa and reggaetón flow and time concentrates on having fun.

    The road up and through Guavate is lined with those lechoneras (eateries so called because they serve lechón asado) and there is plenty of choices of places to eat and have some good time. I don't have a specific place to recommend, I just stopped by one which was crowded enough to make me comfortable it was a place of choice of the locals. Other than lechón asado you will find on the menus other local specialties such as arroz con grandules (rice with peageon peas), pasteles (tamal-like savory cakes in banana leaves), morcilla (pork blood sausage stuffed with rice), mofongo (mashed fried plantain) and other things. All the eateries are very down-to-earth places with the food served at the counter in cardboard plates and where you will have to find yourself, clean and at the end of the meal clear your table.

    Note the traffic can be jammed and the line at the eateries long, so set yourself at a slow pace and allow plenty of time. Guavate is alive in the weekend and holiday days from the morning through the late afternoon/early evening, when the crowd gets on their way back home.

    Lech��n Asado at Guavate On the Road to Guavate Lechoneras in Guavate Traffic jam in Guavate Guavate
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    Hiking to La Mina Falls - El Yunque Rainforest

    by wilocrek Updated May 15, 2008

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    Hiking to La Mina Falls in the El Yunque Rainforest is a worthwhile trek through the dense, lush jungle with the rewards of a stunning waterfall at the end. The La Mina trail is 0.7 miles (1.2 km) long, descending from 2,132 feet (650 meters) to 1,640 feet (500 meters). Hiking time is approximately 30 to 45 minutes, one-way. This trail is rated as challenging in difficulty. It has several sets of winding concrete stairs that can make the return trip somewhat arduous. However it is all well worth it as you will feel as though you have been transported into a different world. Plus it kind of looks like Jurassic Park without the dinosaurs!

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San Juan Hotels

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Latest San Juan Hotel Reviews

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San Juan Off The Beaten Path

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