Puerto Rico is well known
for its beautiful beaches, El Yunque rain forest and the fortifications of El
Morro, among many other Latin beauties.
Still, there are many other sights in the island that are just as interesting
and beautiful, yet they are not necessarily on the radar of many tourists. As
someone from Puerto Rico, these are a few of the lesser-known sights in Puerto
Rico that I think are well worth visiting.
The Bahía Fosforecente (Phosphorescent
Bay) is the popular kid at La Parguera.
Everyone goes there to kayak at night with the millions of glowing
dinoflagelates. But, did you know you
can also enjoy La Parguera during the day and have an equally beautiful
The Canals of La Parguera
are just off the coast in an area where more than 30 islands have created
channels that offer good diving, fishing, kayaking, and other water
activities. Some of the mangrove areas
resemble those of southern Louisiana and Florida.
This Roman Catholic
cathedral might not be the most elaborate on the island, but what it lacks in
design it makes up for in history and importance. The cathedral is one of the oldest buildings
in Old San Juan and is the second oldest cathedral in the Americas.
The cathedral contains the
tomb of the Spanish explorer and settlement founder Juan Ponce de León. It also
has a shrine to Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago; the first Puerto Rican, first
Caribbean-born layperson and first layperson in the history of the United
States to be beatified.
Castillo Serrallés, or
Serrallés Castle, is actually a mansion located in the city of Ponce. It was built in the 1930s for Juan Eugenio
Serrallés, son of businessman Juan Serrallés, founder of Destilería Serrallés –
the leader in the sugar cane industry in the early 20th century and
one of the biggest rum producers on the island (famous for the Don Q rum).
Today, this historic
building serves as a museum of the sugar cane and rum industries in Puerto
Rico. Architecturally, Castillo
Serrallés is one of the best-preserved samples of Spanish Moroccan architecture
in Puerto Rico.
Not as famous as the
Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, Castillo de San Cristóbal is the largest
fortification built by the Spanish in the New World. It was built originally by Spain in the mid
18th century to protect against land-based attacks on San Juan, but
it also served as a post and bunker for the American army during WWII. You can still see some of the odd bunker
modifications juxtaposed against the Spanish fortification style.
Today the fortifications
might not look as big, but by 1783 it covered about 27 acres of land and
wrapped around the city of San Juan. In
1897, about a third of the fortifications were demolished to ease traffic into
Cueva Ventana, or Window
Cave, is an unusual cave located in Arecibo.
What’s unusual about itl? Once you enter the cave, you can walk all the
way to its opposite end to see the magnificent panoramic view of the Rio Grande
de Arecibo valley from above.
Not many tourists come
here since Arecibo is about an hour away from San Juan and the cave has not
been heavily promoted, but the trip, views, and experience are well worth the
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Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at globotreks.com, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
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