Puerto Rico

Shutterstock/2571849/ArtifanPuerto Rico is a part of the USA and its infrastructure and standard of living is of a higher quality than many other islands. It exhibits an open American way of life yet retains much of the more formal Spanish influences acquired from centuries of Spanish colonial rule. The country is a mixture of the very new and the very old. This is reflected in the architecture, not just the contrast between the colonial and the modern in urban areas but also in the countryside, where older buildings sit side by side with concrete schools and dwellings; it is found in the cuisine, a plethora of fast-food restaurants together with local cooking which has its roots in a hybrid Caribbean culture; and it is found in the music, where rock and salsa are played in beach resorts but where, in the hilly interior, rustic songs of Puerto Rican folklore can still be heard, its music and dance a combination of both Spanish and African rhythms. Huge beach resorts, marinas and golf courses can be found all round the island, while at the other end of the scale there are more campsites on Puerto Rico than in all the rest of the Caribbean islands combined. However, be warned: if you do not stray beyond the tourist areas on the coast, you will have a very one-sided experience of this paradoxical dependent territory. Offshore there are the two sister islands of Vieques and Culebra, laid-back beach retreats well off the beaten track, particularly now there is no US military presence on Vieques and the land it occupied is a national park.
This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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