Is puerto rico part of the caribbean: The Island of Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico, Caribbean

Because it is an official territory of the United States, Puerto Rico is a convenient vacation destination for American travelers. Spanish and English are the main languages on this large island, which boasts a population of around 4 million people. Roman Catholicism is, far and away, the predominant religion, and residents of Puerto Rico tend to be very devout.

Puerto Rico has a lovely tropical marine climate, so the weather tends to be consistently mild and pleasant throughout the year. The main exception is hurricane season, which falls between June and November here. The terrain is overwhelmingly mountainous, with a band of coastal plains to the north.

If you travel to Puerto Rico, you’re likely to arrive by plane at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Carolina. Other major cities in Puerto Rico include San Juan, the capital; Ponce, the second-largest city; and Rincon, the surfing capital of the Caribbean.

Puerto Rico is bursting with amazing natural scenery, including bioluminescent bays and gorgeous white-sand beaches. Staying busy is a snap thanks to fun activities like golfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and gambling. The cuisine here is dominated by plantains and pork, and rum is the alcoholic beverage of choice. Be sure to tour a rum distillery while you’re here, if you’re lucky enough to visit.

  • Capital city — San Juan
  • Language — Spanish and English

San Juan sizzles. The Puerto Rican capital has a pulsating energy with exotic sight and surreal sounds resonating throughout the city, the oldest under the jurisdiction of the United States. Salsa stanzas echo throughout the streets while the Atlantic roars and colonial artifacts delight. The capricious capital is made of many distinct neighborhoods, including the gambler’s paradise of Condado, the ritzy and tranquil Ocean Park, gritty but gallery-filled Santurce, swanky Isla Verde and the incomparably charming Old City, marked by candy-colored relics of the Spanish colonial era.

Old San Juan truly has something for everyone: stunning architecture, memorable views, historical sites, plazas perfect for people-watching, impressive museums, world-class restaurants and plenty of bars and nightclubs for salsa dancing the night away. The best way to explore the seven-square block neighborhood is on foot, but the free trolley service takes visitors to the most popular sites.

View from the sea of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, San Juan

San Felipe del Morro Castle, San Juan

The highlight of Old San Juan is El Morro, a six-level fort that juts aggressively over the Atlantic. It is the New World’s oldest Spanish fort, and the 15-foot thick stone walls date back to 1539. Once a rest stop for soldiers, explorers and pioneers, the fort is one of the city’s biggest tourist draws today. Be sure to stop at the fascinating Inscription Rock, where bygone wayfarers left behind signatures, messages and petroglyphs in the sandstone.

The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista stands just a short walk from El Morro. Originally a wooden structure built in the 1520s, the church was destroyed by a hurricane and rebuilt in 1540. The rebuilding included many improvements, such as dramatic Gothic vaulted ceilings and a graceful circular staircase. The marble tomb on the north side holds the remains of Ponce de Leon, and the dome’s trompe l’oeil work is positively breathtaking.

Water sports are another big draw in San Juan, where white sand beaches meet excellent waves over the warm crystalline water. Take an aqua adventure off the coast to swim, scuba and snorkel with some of the world’s most remarkable marine life, including teeming reefs alive with butterflyfish, turtles, starfish, puffers, angelfish and more.

Spend the rest of your time in San Juan hanging out with locals at the Plaza San Jose, learning about mid-16th century life at the Casa Blanca museum, flying a kite in the sea breeze, discovering Puerto Rico’s African heritage at the Museum of African Roots, shopping for designer fashions on Cristo Street, feeding the birds at Pigeon Park and sampling rum at the Casa Don Q.

The weekend effectively starts on Thursday, and there seems to be some sort of celebration throughout the city each weekend. To fit in with the crowds, dress up a bit, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Women head out to the nightclubs in their best dresses and highest heels, and even the men dress with flair. Many locals spend the nights dancing to live music at San Juan’s many upscale hotels, many of which also have casinos. In Old San Juan, the hottest clubs are on the Calle Fortaleza, where salsa music blares from pool-hall jukeboxes and mellow jazz bands serenade crowds at top-flight lounges. You’ll see lots of young and beautiful people hanging out in Plaza San Jose, and more bohemians and professionals in Santurce, the downtown area. Both crowds tend to stay out late on the pedestrian streets, and you will want to stay out with them to enjoy every minute of your San Juan experience.

San Juan Location

San Juan is located on the northern coast of Puerto Rico facing the Atlantic Ocean. It lies just east of the country’s center and is its most populated city with approximately 400,000 inhabitants.

San Juan Language

Spanish and English are both official languages of Puerto Rico although English is taught as a secondary language.

San Juan Predominant Religion

  • 85% Roman Catholic
  • 15% Protestant and other

Although Protestantism was suppressed under Spanish rule, it has flourished since.

San Juan Currency

The US Dollar is the official currency of Puerto Rico.

San Juan Climate

San Juan is hot all year round with the summers becoming uncomfortable at times. It rains throughout the year, for the most part evenly although November and December typically see the most rainfall.

San Juan Main Attractions

  • El Morro (Castillo de San Felipe del Morro)
  • Old San Juan
  • La Fortaleza-Palacio de Santa Catalina

Other Attraction in San Juan

  • Bacardi Rum Plant
  • Castillo de San Cristobal
  • Condado Beach

The Caribbean Island Where Piña Coladas Were Born

Puerto Rico sits in the Caribbean Sea between the Dominican Republic and the British and US Virgin Islands. Known as La Isla del Encanto, or the Island of Enchantment, it’s dotted with natural wonders like rainforests and mountains, islands ringed in white sand, and more than 300 beaches.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the US which makes travel there simple (US citizens don’t need a passport) and other things a lot more complicated. While Puerto Rico is technically part of the US, and people born in Puerto Rico are US citizens, Puerto Ricans aren’t given the same rights as US citizens. For example, they cannot vote for the president or vice president, and Puerto Rico does not vote in the US Congress. 

Being Boricua

But Puerto Rico has a long history before the US. The Taino people settled in Puerto Rico (along with Cuba and the Dominican Republic) more than 1,000 years before Christopher Columbus arrived. They initially called the island Borikén (sometimes also spelled Borinquen or Boriquén). Taino families spent most of their lives living in settlements within large circular buildings, usually with a plaza where rituals, games, and other culturally related events happened. Tainos survived with agriculture, fishing, and hunting, and used canoes, fishing nets, bows, and arrows. 

When the Spanish arrived in 1521, they changed the name of the island to San Juan Bautista and eventually Puerto Rico, and the many Indigenous Taino died due to disease, slavery, and other forms of mass colonization. 

In 1895, the Puerto Rican section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, both fighting for independence from Spain, created the flag Puerto Rico still has today. When the US invaded in July 1898, the island stood its ground until Spain ceded ownership by signing the Treaty of Paris a few months later in December. By this decree, the Spanish-American War ended, and Puerto Rico, along with the Philippines and Guam, were handed over to the US. 

By 1948, it became an arrestable offense in Puerto Rico to display the flag created for independence, attend independence meetings, or speak against the US government. This censorship lasted until 1957.  

For many Puerto Ricans, these gag laws and forced American assimilation quelled any ideas of independence, and the notion of a dual identity began forming. The term Boricua calls back to the island’s heritage and identity as the home of the Taino people.

While the Spanish destroyed most of the Taino culture, it still lives within food, language, and daily living on the island. Original Taino words commonly used today include canoe, barbecue, hammock, potato, hurricane, iguana, maize, manatee, mangrove, potato, tobacco, and many more. Many Puerto Ricans still have Taino DNA and identify themselves as the descendants of the Taino people. 

Beyond San Juan 

San Juan is the most popular city in Puerto Rico (and you can read our San Juan travel guide here), but there’s plenty more to discover around the island. 

Nestled in a cove off the Atlantic side of the island, Mar Chiquita in Manatí is a natural pool that resembles the flat tail of a manatee. The uninhabited Isla de Mona, located between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico’s mainland, has some of the most beautiful and empty beaches with crystal clear water and soft sand surrounded by limestone cliffs. Mosquito Bay in Vieques is a bioluminescent bay, where particular organisms in the water emit a brilliant blue light as they swim around at night. 

There’s also the sprawling 1,249-acre bright pink salt flats of Cabo Rojo, where the color is caused by brine shrimp that live in the water. And, the largest cave in the Western Hemisphere, Cavernas del Río Camuy, was recently reopened (it was closed due to damage from Hurricane Maria) and contains the third-largest underground river in the world along with more than 10 miles of caverns, 220 caves, and 17 entrances that have been mapped so far—with most of the cave system unexplored. 

There are also several towns and cities equally appealing to San Juan. Arecibo on the northern coast west of the capital bustles with a tropical restaurant row with more than 10 restaurants like Guajira and Amapola—all within walking distance of each other—that specialize in local Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo, a fried plantain dish.  

On the southern coast, Ponce contains the most extensive collections of museums located on the island. There are 18 total, and the Panteón Nacional Román Baldorioty de Castro is one of the best. Built in 1842, it’s Puerto Rico’s first and only national pantheon. Other cultural attractions in the city include the preserved 19th-century Hacienda Buena Vista coffee plantation and Museo Castillo Serrallés, a 1930s home that belonged to the Don Q rum distillery owners and is now open for tours.

A tropical Times Square

In August of 2020, an entertainment space called Distrito T-Mobile (yes, created by the cell phone carrier and a local Puerto Rican developer) opened, giving locals and travelers a place to enjoy good food and live music. Made to attract local and international visitors, Distrito T-Mobile was created as an entertainment complex that spoke to native culture (in food and performances) in ways travelers would understand. 

Attractions include zip lining with Toro Verde, Puerto Rican-owned Caribbean Cinemas, and a concert hall. With six restaurants celebrating local and international food (plus a bar and ice cream/churro shop), Distrito is preparing to become Puerto Rico’s version of a tropical Times Square. Insider tip: on the second floor of La Central restaurant, you’ll find a collection of pieces by photographer Jack Delano celebrating the 1930s Puerto Rican jibaro or traditional farmers.  

Other places on the island are having an artistic renaissance; take the Cannon Club in Viejo San Juan. Initially built during the Spanish colonization of the island in the 1500s as cannon housing for the military, new owners refurbished the space in the 1960s. Attached to the boutique Gallery Inn, this swanky piano bar is where you can find locals performing music that isn’t just salsa or merengue. With current government issues plaguing the financial security of most colleges on the islands, students are flocking to spaces like The Cannon Club to express their frustrations with other creatives, often interpreted through song. Stay for a drink, and you’ll get to see where the growing art scene in Puerto Rico hangs out. 

The fight for self-sufficiency

Due to US policies enacted in the early 1900s and still in place today, about 85% of the food in Puerto Rico is imported—a surprising number given the island’s suitability for agriculture. The Jones Act requires goods going to Puerto Rico from the mainland to be shipped on American-built, American-owned boats operated by US citizens or permanent residents, making it much more expensive to ship goods to Puerto Rico than to other Caribbean islands. Operation Bootstrap, a strategy devised in the 1940s, focused Puerto Rico’s economy on exports instead of cultivation. These two policies placed a chokehold on Puerto Rico’s ability to be self-sustainable even today, further increasing Puerto Rico’s dependency on the US. 

Throughout the last 100 years, local farmers have been driven to bankruptcy due to mainland providers noticing competition and increasing lower-priced similar items but with less quality (more recently, Hurricane Maria also damaged many farms).  

With Operation Bootstrap, many farmers left their trade to work in factories then built on the island. This left a gap of experienced farmers. The act of decreasing competition to maintain dominance on the island is still in practice today and rarely spoken about. Once snubbed in favor of sugar production when the US invaded the island, coffee has begun reappearing in central parts of the commonwealth. Farms like Hacienda San Pedro are fourth-generation coffee farmers directly combatting the dependency issue.     

The tide has been slowly shifting, with small farmers like Frutos del Guacabo establishing networks and getting more locally-grown food to the markets. Other small farms like El Pretexto are introducing organic agriculture in ways non-farmers would understand. El Pretexto offers a culinary lodging option that allows guests to experience the food directly from the source. Just like El Pretexto, farm-to-table movements are occurring on the island. While not moving as fast as other places, the pandemic has made islanders look at what they can grow locally.  

Do you like piña coladas?

The piña colada was invented in Puerto Rico by Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí. Legend has it that on a long journey in the early 1800s, he found himself with a mutiny brewing, so he used what he could discover onboard the ship—in this case, coconut, pineapple, and rum—to make a delicious drink and calm the crew. It worked, and this prototype piña colada was the world’s first taste of the frothy beverage.

Fast forward a few decades to 1954 when a bartender at the famous Caribe Hilton hotel by the name of Ramon «Monchito» Marrero modernized the cocktail, and everyone’s favorite summertime vacation drink was introduced. In 1978 it was named Puerto Rico’s official drink and reached global fame, helped by pop singer Rupert Holmes and his song Escape (The Piña Colada Song).

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«Pirates of the Caribbean» attract tourists to Puerto Rico / Puerto Rico : Attractions / Travel.


  2. tourism News
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean brings tourists to Puerto Rico

Filmed in Puerto Rico. //

Tourist interest in Puerto Rico has reached an all-time high since the release of Pirates of the Caribbean 4. The country’s northeast coast has provided filmmakers and now tourists with its finest white sand beaches and azure seas, lush rainforests and mountains.

The film was filmed in Fajardo, located 50 kilometers southeast of the country’s capital, and San Cristobel Castle, which is under the protection of UNESCO. This fortress stands on a small island. On its territory are the most impressive buildings in Puerto Rico, according to eTurbo News.

In 2009, another Johnny Depp film, The Rum Diary, was being filmed in these locations. This picture showed the public the narrow streets and secret bars of San Juan.

Puerto Rico is the largest of the Lesser Antilles. It is famous for its ecology, many kilometers of coastline, rum and salsa. Puerto Rico is a US possession in the West Indies. Citizens of Russia are required to have a visa, which is issued at the US embassies located on the territory of the Russian Federation.

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Puerto Rico (gutter) | it’s.

.. What is Puerto Rico (gutter)?

This term has other meanings, see Puerto Rico (disambiguation).

Location of the Puerto Rico Trench (according to the US Geological Survey)

Puerto Rico Trench is an oceanic trench located on the border of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The formation of the trench is associated with a complex transition between a subduction zone from the south along the island arc of the Lesser Antilles and a transform fault zone (plate boundary) extending eastward between Cuba and Hispaniola through the Cayman Trench to the coast of Central America. Studies have confirmed the possibility of a significant tsunami as a result of earthquakes in this area [1] .

Puerto Rico Island is directly south of the trench. The length of the trench is 1754 km, the width is about 97 km, the greatest depth is 8380 m, which is the maximum depth of the Atlantic Ocean. Measurements made in 1955 from the American ship «Vima» showed the depth of the trough to be 8385 m [2] .


  • 1 Geological structure
  • 2 Public awareness
  • 3 History of earthquakes
  • 4 Notes

Geological structure

Perspective view of the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The Lesser Antilles are on the bottom left, and Florida is on the top right. The bottom purple color in the center of the image shows the location of the Puerto Rico Trench

The Puerto Rico Trench runs along the boundary of two plates moving horizontally with respect to each other with a small subduction component. The Caribbean Plate is moving east and the N American Plate is moving west. The North American Plate is undermined by the Caribbean Plate in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. There is volcanic activity along the island arc southeast of Puerto Rico to the coast of South America.

Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic do not have active volcanoes on their territory, but are at risk from earthquakes and tsunamis.

Informing the public

Since 1988, the Seismological Society of Puerto Rico has been trying to use the media to inform the public about future earthquakes that could turn into catastrophes.

After the tsunami in 2004, which affected more than forty countries in the Indian Ocean, many people began to fear a repeat of similar events in the Caribbean. Local governments began to develop contingency plans. In the US government, where they studied the problem for several years [3] , decided to intensify seismological research in the region and the development of tsunami warning systems.

History of earthquakes

Tectonic and seismic map of the Puerto Rico trench zone. The arrows show the directions of movement of lithospheric plates. The color scale shows the depth of the epicenter

October 11, 1918, on the west coast of the island of Puerto Rico there was a fairly strong earthquake followed by a tsunami. In 1953, the coastal regions of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) were also hit by an earthquake. Experts blame the Puerto Rico trench for both of these tragic events. On the island of Puerto Rico, tremors are also often observed, for example at 1981 and 1985. The largest earthquake in Haiti (2010) in the eastern part of the island destroyed the capital of the state of Haiti — Port-au-Prince and its environs, led to numerous casualties.

Largest earthquakes near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands [3]
Earthquake site Year Magnitude
Haiti 2010 7.0
Dominican Republic 1953 6.9
Mona Canyon 1946 7.5
Dominican Republic 1946 8.1
Mona Canyon 1918 7.5
Anegada Strait 1867 7.

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