GET TO KNOW PUERTO RICO FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE:EXPLORE OUR ISLAND, GET AN UP-CLOSE LOOK AT BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS THAT WILL MAKE YOU SIGH IN AMAZEMENT, AND ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE CARRIED AWAY, ASSURED THAT YOU WILL FIND NEW WONDERS THAT WILL BECOME YOUR FAVORITE.

By ¡Qué Pasa! Staff

Plan a trip whose purpose is to live a pleasant experience, either with your partner or with your family or friends. The ambiance is relaxed and brimming with the certainty that you will find perfect places to make this one of the best vacations of your life. If you add the fact that you will be in direct contact with the locals, good and helpful people waiting for you with open arms, the experience becomes even better.

Take as a starting point the privileged location of the family-run inns that are part of the Paradores Puertorriqueños (country inns) program. Consider staying in one of them to enjoy a great location with a family-friendly atmosphere and affordable prices. At the end of this story, you will see the list of participating hotels as well as their contact information.

Diversified North

How about we begin the journey along the north coast? Parador El Buen Café in Hatillo is close to the Río Camuy Cave Park as well as the Arecibo Observatory—featuring the world’s second-largest radio telescope—the Arecibo Lighthouse, and the imposing statue of Christopher Columbus. Cueva Ventana is also located nearby, as are Sardinera Beach, Cueva del Indio, and the historic Stone Church built in 1912 in the town of Camuy.

Western Countryside and Coastal Area

As you head to the Guajataca area, you’ll discover impressive views of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as an old railroad tunnel and the San Antonio de Padua hermitage. We also recommend a visit to the Guajataca Forest as it is a subtropical rainforest in which unique flora and fauna coexist. La Cueva del Viento (Cave of the Wind) is another natural site to consider.

Great attractions will be much closer if you choose to stay at Parador Villas del Mar Hau in Isabela. This municipality has beautiful sand beaches—including Middles and Jobos, two world-known surfing sites. Visitors should be cautious since the surf is sometimes strong. In the area, you can enjoy delectable food, as well as fried fish and local seafood dishes.

From Isabela go to Aguadilla, where Parador El Faro awaits you. Make it your home base to enjoy superb beaches such as Crashboat, Wilderness, and Surfer Beach, perfect for watersports. Nearby, you’ll find Paseo Real Marina, Aguadilla Iceskating Arena, and Las Cascadas Water Park. The gastronomic choices have grown in this part of the island, so it will be easy to satisfy your demanding palate.

Head on to the town of Rincón, a mecca for surfers and the home of Parador Villa Antonio. If you want to watch a beautiful sunset, you can do so at the Rincón Lighthouse Park. Snorkel at Tres Palmas Marine Reserve or enjoy scuba diving on Desecheo Island. There are different certified operators who will gladly take you there. Find them on the Having Fun / Scuba Diving section.

Cabo Rojo is the town where Parador Boquemar and Parador Combate Beach are located, very close to internationally acclaimed attractions. The eateries located in the Boquerón area will give you a better idea of just how tasty the local seafood really is. The Caribbean Sea amazes great visitors with beautiful beaches such as Joyuda, Buyé, La Playuela, and Isla Ratones. The salt marshes and Los Morrillos Lighthouse are must-see sites due to their surroundings of indescribable beauty.

Access to this part of the island is easy since there are direct flights to Aguadilla from some U.S. destinations. Therefore, the western region is an excellent option to begin your stay in Puerto Rico.

The Southwest and Head to the Central Region

In the island’s southwestern region, you will find the attractions of La Parguera, home to a world-acclaimed bioluminescent bay, the beautiful Caracoles and Mata La Gata cays, and Parador Turtle Bay Inn, which is ready to welcome you. La Pared Beach is a highly recommended diving destination. Playita Rosada, which boasts a Blue Flag distinction, is also highly recommended, as is touring the lovely mangrove canals.

Just a few minutes away, you will find the town of Guánica and Parador Guánica 1929. Take advantage of your stay and visit the nearby attractions: the Guánica Dry Forest, the ruins of the Ensenada sugar mill, Hammock Bridge, the Fort Capron ruins, and Gilligan’s Island, one of the area’s most frequented beaches.

Once you get to the center of the island, visiting the town of Adjuntas will allow you to appreciate another side of Puerto Rico: its beautiful rural setting. Parador Villas de Sotomayor could become your home-away-from-home while exploring Las Garzas waterfall and reservoir, El Ataúd natural pool, Guilarte Forest, and Cerro Guilarte peak.

Spectacular East

Have we mentioned that Puerto Rico’s eastern region will captivate you with its spectacular cliffs, dream spots, and seductive beaches? Take note when planning your visit!

To explore El Yunque rainforest at a leisurely pace, consider staying at the nearby Parador Yunquemar. Continue your journey in Puerto Rico’s eastern region by visiting the town of Yabucoa, whose peaceful surroundings will disconnect you from the everyday hustle and bustle. Parador Palmas de Lucía is located on the beach bearing the same name, while Parador Costa del Mar offers panoramic views and is close to places of interest such as the Wildlife Park and the Inés María Mendoza Reserve, among others.

The cliff near the Maunabo Lighthouse is a spectacle of nature that must be witnessed. Maunabo’s Bohíos Beach is favored by locals and tourists looking to capture images of impeccable beauty. If you want to hike, the place to visit with a certified guide is the majestic Sierra de Guardarraya. Bring your day of adventures to an end by resting peacefully at Parador MaunaCaribe.

As you can see, Puerto Rico could very well be described as a wonderland, thanks to its charming natural resources, its hotels that provide impeccable service, and its people who can’t wait to shower visitors with friendly assistance.

See our list of Paradores in the Lodging/ Paradores section.

 

In every corner of the island, you will find something to do with your family, particularly with the kids. When planning your itinerary, take into account that our pleasant warm climate and the obviously festive atmosphere will be your best allies. And you can certainly enjoy beautiful, sunny beach days. What more could you ask for!

Indoor Entertainment

Easy-to-reach places with safe and accessible parking fall into this category that includes the following items. Go enjoy them right now!

Museums

Fun combined with education is the main purpose of these facilities that feature very interesting attractions.
Museo del Niño, Carolina (787-257-0261) Its more than 100 exhibits are housed in a two-level building that is full of fun, educational items, and more. The exterior has a go-cart track and a real plane that children can climb on and explore.
Luis A. Ferré Science Park, Bayamón (787-740-6868) It is an educational and recreational attraction that makes it possible for visitors to learn more about various branches of science in an interactive manner.
Wildlife Museum, San Juan (787-480-5440) It has about 200 species of animals from different parts of the world exhibited in exact replicas of their respective habitats.
Maritime Museum, Old San Juan (787-977-4461) It features a collection of objects related to the merchant marine and the sea.
Center for Caribbean Science and Technology (C3Tec) (787-653-6391) This is an exciting interactive attraction where adults and children will find the most exciting aspects of science at their fingertips. Regardless of age, everyone can actively participate in the exhibits, programs, and innovative events designed to provide simply sensational experiences.

Ice Skating

Did you know that in Puerto Rico—right smack in the tropics—you are able to go ice skating? If this is one of the activities in which you usually engage during the holidays back home, you can do it here as well! While in the area, make sure you also visit one of the nearby beaches.
Aguadilla Ice Skating, Aguadilla (787-819-5555)

Outdoor Enjoyment

Puerto Rico encourages you to enjoy its magnificent sites and places of interest. And if you do it as a family, then much better! Explore some of these options that are sure to captivate everyone.

Gardens

While adults will bask in the beautiful greenery, kids will be able to interact with nature. These attractions offer entertainment for children as well as beautiful spots that adults will enjoy immensely. Plus, you’ll have tons of opportunities to take great photos and videos!
Caguas Botanical and Cultural Garden (787-653-8990) The extensive variety of tropical plants happily coexist with works of art. The site also has a small lake, stream, lagoon where you can pedal boats, and a replica of a local farm.
Río Piedras Botanical Garden, San Juan (787-758-9957) Its more than 289 cuerdas of land are home to over 30,000 plants. Visitors will admire the lakes, waterfalls, trails, sculptures, native species, and endangered species on-site.
San Patricio Forest, San Juan (787-273-0722) Its trails full of vegetation are ideal for hiking, riding a bicycle, and skating.

Theme Parks

The great thing about these parks is that they feature a great variety of entertainment alternatives for everyone. Visitors will find everything from learning about the history of Puerto Rican sports and playing in water attractions to exploring trails.
Germán Rieckehoff Olympic Village, Salinas (787-824-2200)
Aquaventura, Coamo (787-424-5500)
Monte Frío, Bayamón (787-740-4005)
Surf’N Fun Water Park, San Germán (787-659-7440)
Ramey’s Skate & Splash Park, Aguadilla (787-890-7277)
Juliá de Burgos Park, Carolina (787-257-4635, 787-257-4388)
Parque Familiar, Jayuya (787-232-1731)
Arecibo Lighthouse & Historical Park, Arecibo (787-880-7540)
We suggest you call in advance to check out each site’s schedule.

Miniature Golf

Does any family member, especially the kids, have a penchant for golf? This could be the beginning of a great adventure.
Aguadilla Bowling Center & Mini Golf, Aguadilla (787-891-3495)
Fajardo Inn Resort, Fajardo (787-860-6000)
Fantasy Island Mini Golf (Rincón Inn), Rincón (787-823-7070)
Parque Familiar, Jayuya (787-232-1731)
Taíno Mini Golf & Café, Aguadilla (787-658-6480)

Bike Riding and Roller-Skating

Admiring nature from a bicycle or while roller-skating allows you to appreciate it from a different perspective. Wearing safety gear is highly recommended.
Piñones State Forest, Carolina (787-791-7750)
Juliá de Burgos Park, Carolina (787-257-4635, 787-257-4388)
Paseo Lineal del Río Bayamón, Bayamón (787-288-0562)
Julio Enrique Monagas Park, Bayamón (787-721-2800)
Muñoz Rivera Park, San Juan (787-721-2800)
Luis Muñoz Marín Park, San Juan (787-480-7777)

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Adventures

Perfect for those who enjoy riskier rides—but always complying with all safety rules—here are several options:
Frontier Adventures, Carolina (787-974-6717)
Carabalí Rainforest Park, Luquillo (787-889-5820)
Campo Rico Adventures, Carolina (787-629-0222)

Did Someone Say `Beach’?

A visit to Puerto Rico would be incomplete without going to one of our beautiful beaches—especially during this period of pleasant temperatures and bright sunny days! In our “Attractions” section, you will find beaches featuring Blue Flag certification by region. Enjoy your vacation!

AFTER A LIFETIME OF WORK, IT IS TIME TO REWARD ALL YOUR SACRIFICES WITH A TRIP TO A DESTINATION THAT OFFERS BREATHTAKING NATURAL BEAUTY, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE, MOUNTAIN TOURS, A TOP-TIER GASTRONOMIC OFFER, AND THE KINDNESS OF ITS LOCAL PEOPLE. WHAT IS THAT PLACE, YOU ASK? PUERTO RICO, OF COURSE!

By Robert Colberg Orengo

For senior citizens, “More than a matter of age, it’s about addressing the need to fulfill one’s wish list and discover places that make you feel full of life and health,” said Maruja Roger, a consultant and expert on this particular population segment.

Many Places From Which to Choose

Puerto Rico fully complies with the abovementioned premise. Whether on a short trip or an extended stay, there are many possibilities available to Baby Boomers that will allow them to enjoy an unforgettable vacation. “They can do whatever they want on the island since the advantage is that everything is so close; you can devote a full day to Old San Juan or spend time in any of our casinos. Our beaches are ideal for family or solo outings,” our interviewee said.

Additional places that will appeal to Baby Boomers include:

  • Old San Juan – The Walled City contains centuries of tradition, culture, and history. Walking along its cobblestone streets is quite magical as it allows you to be in direct contact with our colonial architecture. It’s a great shopping destination and the best place for grabbing a bite! Palacio de Santa Catalina (La Fortaleza) and the San Juan Historical Archive were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983, as were the forts and walls that characterize the city. La Fortaleza (the official residence of the island’s governor) offers guided indoor and garden tours free of charge. Call 787-721-7000 for more information.
  • El Yunque – Along its trails you can observe the exuberant flora, admire fabulous views, and watch the many birds that call the area home. It is recommended to have a certified tour guide accompany you when visiting this tropical rainforest. Begin your experience at El Portal Visitors Center. For more information go to our Destinations / East section.
  • Bioluminescent Bays – These marvels can be admired in Lajas (La Parguera), Fajardo (Laguna Grande), and Vieques (Mosquito Bay). On our Having Fun / Nature & Adventure section you will find a list of tour companies who can take you on a tour. This is an experience you simply cannot miss!
  • Río Camuy Cave Park – The world’s third-largest underground river awaits you to discover its incomparable beauty. You can also explore the Tres Pueblos Sinkhole, a natural depression located within the municipalities of Camuy, Hatillo, and Lares. There is also Cueva Clara de Empalme, which amazes visitors with its impressive formations. In our Destinations / North section you will find the number to call and learn more about schedules and tours.

For Action Lovers

Take advantage of the vast sea that surrounds the island and enjoy it from a different perspective. How about a trip on a catamaran? You will find many tour operators under the Having Fun / Nautical & Watersports section. You can also watch a sunset in Old San Juan from a boat or while strolling around the bay. For those who prefer to immerse themselves in the crystalline waters off the Puerto Rican coast, there are plenty of aquatic activities available: paddleboarding, diving, kiteboarding and fishing. You will have a terrific time! Several companies can help you plan a fun day. Go to our Having Fun / Nature & Adventure section to find certified operators.

Cultural Outings

  • Museum visits – On the Having Fun / Museums section you will find a list with more information.
  • Coffee plantations – Their privileged location will allow you to see a different side of Puerto Rico.
  • Gastronomic tours – If you want to take a different kind of tour, try those specializing in dining destinations. You will be fascinated by the gastronomic variety available on the island! Go to the Dining section for more information.

Affordable Entertainment

Hotel casinos are excellent daytime and nighttime entertainment alternatives for Baby Boomers. Try your luck at the Jackpot del Encanto (Jackpot of Enchantment) game that allows players to opt for a prize of $20,000 or more with a minimum bet of just 36 cents. A dinner at a restaurant—there are so many to choose from—is the beginning of an evening that can continue in the lobby of one our main hotels. On weekends, they feature live music, a perfect opportunity to show off your dancing skills. You can even learn to dance Salsa! On the Dining section you will find a list of restaurants and on the Having Fun / Casino section, a list of casinos.

Baby Boomers will definitely have a marvelous stay on the island thanks to our great attractions and abundant entertainment options for every taste and budget. And if you add the fact that you will receive excellent service and that airfare rates are affordable, it’s time to reward yourself with a dream vacation in Puerto Rico!

 

 

More Advantages!

  • An 85°F “winter”
  • No passport required for mainland USA residents
  • Local currency: U.S. Dollar
  • The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. offers a promotion called “Escape the Cold” that allows you to book and save up to 60% on hotels. Go to www.escapethecoldinPuertoRico.com for more details.

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PUERTO RICO’S BEAUTIFUL BEACHES REPRESENT PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST DESIRED ATTRACTIONS FOR THE LGBTTQI COMMUNITIES. HOWEVER, WE CAN OFFER SO MUCH MORE SINCE THE ISLAND’S GREEN COUNTRYSIDE, VARIED CUISINE, CULTURAL WEALTH, ABUNDANT SHOPPING VENUES, VIBRANT NIGHTLIFE, AND THE WARMTH OF OUR PEOPLE MAKE US AN EVER-GROWING LGBTTQI-FRIENDLY DESTINATION.

By Robert Colberg Orengo

And how could it be otherwise when diversity is more than welcome on our island! Nature lovers will find the perfect place to admire our plentiful scenarios within the central mountain region’s forests. Add the white sandy beaches that invite you to bask in the sun, the San Juan metropolitan area’s vibrant nightlife, our restaurants’ delicious fare, and our fantastic shopping centers.

In an informal poll conducted by ¡Qué Pasa!, the top five destinations among participants were:

Supreme Cabo Rojo

A vast majority of our visitors fall in love with the attractions found in the municipality of Cabo Rojo, located in the island’s southwestern region. Boquerón is home to one of the most-visited beaches and a popular beachside village featuring themed restaurants, kiosks selling delectable fritters, and a laid-back atmosphere. You’ll have a grand time here!

If you want to take stunning photos, you must go to Los Morillos lighthouse. In addition to the stunning structure built in 1882—and still in operation—there are trails to be explored on foot or while riding a bike. Other places you should not miss are:

La Playuela – You will find this jewel of nature at the foot of Los Morillos lighthouse. You can happily spend all day here at this pristine beach.
Las Salinas – The site includes lagoons, salt marshes, mangroves, and a dry forest. Its natural diversity allows visitors to observe regional birds, trees, and plants.
Combate Beach – If you want a day of absolute relaxation while watching the horizon and allowing yourself to be caressed by the gentle breeze, this is the place!
Joyuda – This area is known as “The Golden Mile of Good Food” due to its numerous restaurants. Most have dining rooms from which you can watch the sea, the mangroves, Ratones Island, and the lagoon.

Legendary Old San Juan

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You will find so much cultural richness within the walls of the San Juan islet! Hundreds of years of history and tradition attract thousands of visitors each year. All because there is just so much to do in Old San Juan!

Whether as part of a tour or on your own, a walk along the cobblestone streets to admire historic buildings is an experience you shouldn’t miss.

A visit to Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal will take you back to the times when the Spanish ruled Puerto Rico. Going down Del Cristo Street means enjoying one of Old San Juan’s most emblematic areas while shopping in its quaint stores. And visiting one of the many museums will allow you to appreciate art and history from a different perspective.

San Juan Gate – Its location gives tourists the opportunity to visit other attractions such as Plaza de la Rogativa, Paseo del Morro, and Paseo de la Princesa. It’s a great spot for taking pictures.
Paseo de la Princesa – The Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s headquarters—whose structure was once used as a prison—is among the most visited sites by both tourists and locals. The building has an art gallery presenting temporary exhibits, as well as historical areas. At the end of the promenade is the Raíces (roots) fountain, which is part of the beautiful view of the Bay of San Juan. It is a very romantic spot enjoyed by many couples. On weekends, it is common to see artisans along the promenade and live music shows.
Palacio de Santa Catalina – Also known as La Fortaleza, it is the official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico. Along with the San Juan Historical Archives, La Fortaleza was declared a world heritage site by Unesco. Beautiful gardens welcome visitors, who should call 787-721-7000 extension 2211 or 2323 to make reservations to tour the grounds.
Museums – You will be so fascinated by Old San Juan’s history that you’ll definitely want to visit a museum. Take your pick from the San Juan Museum, Felisa Rincón de Gautier Foundation & Museum, La Casa Blanca, Museum of the Americas, Pablo Casals Museum, and La Casa del Libro Library Museum. Visit our Museums page to see a list of museums in both San Juan and the rest of the island.

El Yunque: Green Majesty

In Puerto Rico’s eastern area, a preferred destination is El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest under the U.S. National Park System. Begin your experience by going to El Portal visitors’ center, where you can get information on the forest trails and available tours. Even more detailed information is available at www.fs.usda.gov.

La Coca Falls, Palo Colorado information center, and La Mina trail and its refreshing waterfall are mandatory stops on this adventure. The area’s greenery and the tranquility you will experience there become evident upon reaching the observation tower located at Mt. Britton. The view is simply spectacular—and one of the most beautiful you’ll ever see!

Additional attractions for your consideration include:
Baño Grande – It is an artificial pool built in 1930 that features a stone trail and a structure formerly used as a bathhouse. Although people are no longer allowed to bathe in it, its surroundings are perfect for taking spectacular photos.
Big Tree – This is one of the two trails that reach La Mina waterfall.
Baño de Oro – You will be surrounded by unique beauty as you walk along this trail bordered by numerous trees, plants, and shrubs.
Puente Roto – It is a quiet area where you can spend the day enjoying a segment of Mameyes River.
Angelito – This is a short and easy trail that is usually less congested than others. Your great reward: the natural pool that is formed by Mameyes River.

Partying at La Placita

Located in Santurce, La Placita—the name given to the Market Square area—is an almost mandatory stop to begin enjoying the local nightlife. The gastronomic variety available in the area’s restaurants and bars is ample and ranges from criollo local food to gourmet delicacies. Most establishments and their environments are LGBTTQI-friendly. It is one of the most recommended destinations to become acquainted with the party ambiance within the metropolitan area and to witness how locals have fun. Visit our Dining Section to see a list of restaurants located at or near La Placita.

From there, many people go on to entertainment venues in a hotel lobbies in Condado or Isla Verde. Others tour different LGBTTQI venues in San Juan.

La Parguera

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A small village in the island’s western region that is big on LGBTTQI tourism offerings. The boardwalk has artisans, food kiosks, and restaurants specializing in a wide range of cuisines: seafood, criollo dishes, burgers, vegetarian fare, tapas (small plates), and gourmet delicacies.

This area is home to La Parguera Natural Reserve that features coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, and the world-renowned Bioluminescent Bay—which you can visit by boat or kayak. La Parguera’s keys are also popular with visitors and include Mata La Gata, Caracoles, and Cayo Enrique. There are operators who offer rides to these sites.

Another place you should visit while at La Parguera is Playita Rosada Pool. This is the Caribbean’s largest natural pool and has earned a Blue Flag designation. Walk down to the dock to the pool and on the shore you will find tables, barbecue, restrooms, and showers. This attraction is free. Call 787-899-1855 for more information.

Endless Possibilities

Puerto Rico features a world of possibilities for tourists from the LGBTTQI communities. Take advantage of your trip and allow yourself to be seduced by our island’s charm! Go to www.seepuertorico.com and begin planning what is sure to be an unforgettable and fun-filled vacation.
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Consider getting married here!

As if the beauty and variety found in Puerto Rico weren’t enough, same-sex couples can tie the knot on the island. From north to south and from east to west, including the central mountain region, you will find spectacular natural settings to celebrate your union with an official wedding and a lovely reception.

Many reasons make the island the perfect destination for your nuptials. According to event coordinator Rosalina Torres from Momentus Special Events & More, “the tropical climate that prevails throughout the year is extremely attractive for outdoor weddings.”

Other reasons that will help convince you include:
• No laboratory tests are required for non-resident couples, thus making the process of getting legally married on the island so much easier.
• Puerto Rico is a bilingual (Spanish and English) island so communication between foreign clients and wedding service providers also becomes easier.
• There are superb locations for destination weddings throughout the island, including beautiful beaches, stunning colonial structures, superb mountain sites, stately haciendas, and modern hotels.
• Our gastronomic diversity can satisfy any palate. In addition, there are many entertainment venues where you can have fun day or night.

Take note of the requirements you must meet to get married in Puerto Rico—just go to www.seepuertorico.com/es/ experiences/lifestyle/weddings. You can get additional information by calling toll free: 1-800-866-7827 (for English-speaking representatives) or 1-800-981-7575 (in Spanish).

Wedding Coordinators

When planning your big day, get in touch with any of the wedding coordinators endorsed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Tell them your wishes, and they will do their best to make them come true.

AMK Events, Anne Marie Kleis Weddings & Parties Inc.
• 787-721-1285
www.amkevents.com
amkevents@gmail.com

All Events P.R.
• 787-556-8961
www.alleventspr.com
alleventspr@gmail.com

Chezelle Dezines Weddings
• 787-919-0532
www.chezelledezines.com
info@chezelledezines.com

Creating Weddings Group
• 787-225-4008
www.creatingweddingsgroup.com
maribel@creatingweddingsgroup.com

Krizia Díaz Event Planner & Designer
• 787-451-2475
www.kriziadiaz.com
info@kriziadiaz.com

Maité Canela
• 787-397-2277
www.maitecanela.com
francachelapr@hotmail.com

María A. Lugo Wedding Planner
• 787-548-5561
www.marialugopr.com
mariaalugo@gmail.com

Milly Centeno Coordinators
• 787-717-1808
www.millycenteno.com
millycenteno@yahoo.com

Momentus Special Events & More
• 787-391-1366
www.rosalinamomentus.com
momentusspecialevents@gmail.com

Naya’s Idea Event Coordinator
• 787-533-7544
www.nayasidea.com
info@nayasidea.com

Puerto Rico Destination Weddings Inc.
• 939-238-3664
www.prdestinationweddings.com
ashley@prdestinationweddings.com

Tropical Weddings Puerto Rico
• 787-671-1690
www.tropicalweddingspr.com
tropicalweddings@yahoo.com

WedAffair (Gets/Grand Events)
• 787-775-9500
www.wedaffair.com
info@wedaffair.com

Weddings by Silversilke
• 787-633-5509
www.silversilke.com
silversilke@hotmail.com

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A FASCINATING ASPECT OF PUERTO RICAN CULTURE IS OUR MIX OF TAÍNO, SPANISH AND AFRICAN HERITAGES. TAÍNO INFLUENCE IS HIGHLY PRESENT IN EVERYDAY LIFE—IN THE USE OF WORDS AND PHRASES AND IN OUR WORLD-RENOWNED ATTRACTIONS. THIS CONTRIBUTION IS HONORED IN A SCENIC TOUR BRIMMING WITH HISTORY: THE TAÍNO ROUTE.

By ¡Qué Pasa! Staff

While vacationing in Puerto Rico, make sure to include this magical journey that will take you through several towns. We recommend that you wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

People who have enjoyed this unique tour recommend starting off in Arecibo and ending it in Ponce. There are two options: you can devote three consecutive days to the entire tour or you can visit each town individually. Go back to the days of Taíno splendor by exploring the towns that are part of this new route:

Arecibo

This municipality on the island’s northern coast owes its name to indigenous chieftain Arasibo, as this is the region where he once resided. Located less than an hour from the San Juan-metropolitan area, it is a destination you must consider. Some of the attractions you will find while touring this region include:

Cueva del Indio Natural Reserve – This coastal underwater reserve has a cave that features the largest concentration of petroglyphs in Puerto Rico. We advise caution because it is a rocky and steep area—so it is not recommended for visits with children. Endorsed tour-guide services are highly recommended to enjoy one of the most spectacular views in Puerto Rico. You will find a list of providers at the end of this story. Located on PR681 at km 8.1.

Arecibo Lighthouse & Historical Park – Featuring an indigenous village replica, this theme park highlights Puerto Rican culture. It has a water park and a small aquarium. The breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean is one of its biggest attractions. Located at the intersection of roads PR681 and PR655 / 787-880-7540 / www.arecibolighthouse.com

Viejo Caney Abacoa (Old Abacoa settlement) – This is the ancient settlement where Chief Arasibo lived. It overlooks the mouth of Río Grande de Arecibo.Located on José de Diego Ave., Del Abacoa Square

Monument to the Indigenous Fisherman (Indio Pescador) – Situated at the entrance to Río Grande de Arecibo bridge, the site pays homage to an indigenous fisherman. Located on PR2

René Marqués Museum of Art & History, Archaeological Hall – It is home to a collection of indigenous artifacts found in archaeological sites in Arecibo. Open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday by appointment only. Located at 298 Santiago Iglesias Ave. / 787-510-6529 / 787-333-1063, extension 1500

Ventana Cave – This cave system, whose tour includes Cueva Clara, has petroglyphs and indigenous trails, in addition to one of the most breathtaking views on the island. Located on PR10 at km 75 / 787-322-3554

Río Abajo State Forest – The tour includes a walk along the ancient indigenous forest trails and a visit to a cave with petroglyphs. Groups larger than nine people require permits from the Department of Natural Resources. Located on PR10 at km 4.4 / 787-999-2200, extensions 5612 or 5613

Utuado

This mountain town in central Puerto Rico is named in honor of Chief Otoao, whose name means “between mountains.” The following attractions are a true reflection of the Taíno heritage in Puerto Rico:

Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center – It is the most important attraction within the Antilles. It has a museum displaying archaeological artifacts and a handicrafts shop. It also overlooks the iconic Mount Cemí, a sacred mountain of the Taínos. Open Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Located on PR111 at km 48.7 / 787-894-7325

Río Tanamá National Park – An exotic adventure and nature tourism experience. It includes river rafting, caves with petroglyphs, indigenous trails, and a heavenly landscape. Reservations required. Located on PR111 at km 48 / 787-484-3860

Piedra Salto de los Morones Petroglyphs – A petroglyph mural near Río Grande de Arecibo. Touring the river requires caution. Located off PR10 / 787-894-3460

Yacimiento Batey de Salto Arriba – It was an ancient indigenous village where a unique geoglyph in the West Indies stood. Resembles the Nazca lines in Peru. It features a stone wall showing the famous Utuado Sun petroglyph. Located at the University of Puerto Rico, Utuado Campus, PR123 / 787-894-2828

Monument to Don Alonso Chieftain – Built in honor of Otoao, the indigenous chieftain of Utuado whose name means “between mountains”. The name of this municipality derives from his. Located at the Utuado Public Square / 787-894-3460

Jayuya

Also known as the “Indigenous Capital of Puerto Rico,” its name is derived from the Taíno word Hayuya. Visit the following attractions to complete your vacation experience:

Nemesio R. Canales Square – Here you will find the monument to chief Jayuya, the Jayuya Sun mural, and First Tomb of the Puerto Rican Indigenous Inhabitant. 787-828-1241

Jayuya Cultural Center – Its indigenous artifacts exhibition hall is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Located at 25 San Felipe St. / 787-828-2220

La Piedra Escrita Recreational Area – Here you will find the monumental stone that features a mural of significant petroglyphs. While in the area, take a dip in Saliente River and also try delectable local dishes. Located on PR144 at km 2.3 / 787-828-1241

Maboití Arts & Culture Center – It is the home of Cemí Museum where archaeological artifacts can be seen, as well as the first Taíno burial site that includes an indigenous ancestor’s tomb, bateyes (patios), and a shop selling handicrafts. Enjoy the breathtaking view of Tres Picachos Forest. Open Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Located in the Coabey district on PR144 / 787-828-1241

Zama Mural – See petroglyphs with the iconic Jayuya Sun at the highest point in Puerto Rico, Cerro Punta. An appointment is required to tour the area. Located on PR527 at km 9.3 / 787-718-1838

Adjuntas

This town in Puerto Rico’s central mountain region is known for its coffee plantations and pleasant temperature during this season. The following attractions feature clear indigenous elements:

Batey Vegas Arriba and Bosque del Pueblo – An indigenous courtyard overlooking a forest that offers a spectacular view. Appointment required. Located at Casa Pueblo / 787-829-4842

Adjuntas Sun Mural – It re-creates petroglyphs depicting the Adjuntas Sun. Located at Arístides Moll Boscana Square / 787-829-3310

Ponce

Puerto Rico’s second-largest city is also known for its Taíno heritage.

Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center – It is one of the oldest and most important indigenous archaeological sites in the Caribbean. It has a museum with archaeological artifacts found on-site. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Located on PR503 at km 2.5 / 787-840-2255

EXPERTS AT YOUR SERVICE

Do not miss a detail of our indigenous culture by requesting a guided tour from our expert operators:

Anthony Negrón
939-640-8080
negronanthony79@gmail.com

Armando Navarro
787-934-9373
anavarropr@gmail.com

Clemencia Cepeda
939-244-7911
clem_cepeda@yahoo.com

Frankie Aponte
787-309-9826
frankie@prtourdesk.com

Gonzalo de León
787-377-6911
papalion@gmail.com

Hiram Sánchez
787-649-6112
hisama1953@gmail.com

Héctor Negrón
787-529-9567
negron.hjose@gmail.com

Israel de la Rosa
787-638-2301
idelarosa25@yahoo.com

María del Valle
787-405-0032
mariamdelvalle@gmail.com

Maritza Villanueva
787-955-7621
sol_arena21@yahoo.com

Rafael Quiles
787-612-7150
caribe787@msn.com

Rubén Ramos
787-903-7708
pepekotours@gmail.com

Víctor M. Martínez
787-605-1269
martinezv682@yahoo.com

Wilma Ríos
787-661-1402
wilriosb@gmail.com

TAÍNO CURIOSITIES

• Puerto Rico is known worldwide as Borinquen—which is derived from the indigenous word Boriken, which means “great land of the brave and noble lord.”
• Another place-name used to refer to Puerto Ricans is “Boricua”—which for the Taíno inhabitants meant “brave people of the Sacred House.”
• Nearly half of the names of the island’s municipalities have an indigenous origin: Arecibo (Arasibo), Jayuya (Hayuya), Utuado (Otoao), and Luquillo (Lukiyo), just to mention a few.
• The coquí, our tiny frog, is one of our national symbols. In Taíno language, coki means “spirit of the land’s tree.”
• Canoa (small boat) was the first Taíno word adopted by the Spanish language.
• Hamaca, huracán, iguana, piragüa, maraca, and múcaro are some words Puerto Ricans use every day and come from our Taíno ancestors.
• Our local cuisine has considerable indigenous influence in terms of the names of the ingredients, artifacts, and foods we use: ají, arepa, barbacoa, batata, guanime, and guayo.

LEGEND SAYS…

Archaeologist Norma Medina says there is a legend among indigenous cultures in Mesoamerica (Maya) regarding the destruction of Mother Earth (Atabeyra) by humans at the “end of times.” The “Mujer degollada” (slit-throat woman) petroglyph—the most popular at the Jacanas site in Ponce—is shown as a Taíno symbol of the prophecy about the destruction of nature. Its similarity with the “Mujer de Caguana” (Woman of Caguana) petroglyph in Utuado shows how much Taínos loved and venerated nature.

 

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Where to Stay

The Taíno Route provides an opportunity to discover some of Puerto Rico’s most beautiful landscapes. That is why we recommend you set aside at least three days in which to live a unique experience. Enjoy the wonders of the mountain region by staying in one of the facilities recommended below. This will allow you to visit other attractions brimming with beauty.

Arecibo
Caño Tiburones Guesthouse
158 Julián Sánchez St. / Calle Julián Sánchez #158
787-563-0062
www.facebook.com/ctguesthouse/

Utuado
Hotel Casa Grande
PR612 / Carretera 612
787-894-3939
www.hotelcasagrande.com

Centro Vacacional Lago Caonillas
PR140 at km 27.9 / Carretera 140, km 27.9
787-814-7005

Jayuya
Hacienda Gripiñas
PR527at km 2.5 / Carretera 527, km 2.5
787-828-1717
www.haciendagripinas.tripod.com

Adjuntas
Parador Villas de Sotomayor
PR522 at km 0.2 / Carretera 522, km 0.2
787-829-1717
www.facebook.com/ParadorVillasSotomayor/

Ponce
Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort
1150 Caribe Ave. / Avda. Caribe #1150
787-259-7676
www3.hilton.com

Holiday Inn Ponce & Tropical Casino
3315 Ponce Bypass / Ponce Bypass #3315
787-844-1200
www.ihg.com/holidayinn

Hotel Bélgica
122 Villa St. / Calle Villa #122
787-844-3255
www.hotelbelgica.com

Hotel Meliá
75 Cristina St. / Calle Cristina #75
787-842-0260
www.meliacenturyhotel.com