Though Puerto Rico is full of all sorts of neat things to do, one of the few things we don’t have here is river rapids for tubing or rafting. We did find an adventure that offers "lazy river" tubing through a cave, along with some hiking and Taino cave exploration. Those are some of my favorite things all rolled into one day, and all in beautiful Utuado. So, when some family members came to visit, we decided to check it out.
Articles in the History Category
When touring Old San Juan, no visit would be complete without a visit to at least one of the forts. Recently, we had the opportunity to take the Outworks Tour at Fort San Cristobal. This tour highlights just how much of a military engineering marvel this fort is, and how it is designed with all sorts of boobie traps, and visiual deceptions, to really mess with the heads of any invading enemy’s troops.
If you enjoy adventure tours — those with ziplines, rappelling, hiking, caving, and other fun things — and you also enjoy going to special, off the beaten path places — then this tour is for you. Batey Zipline Adventure, in beautiful Utuado, offers all of that in a nice half-day package. The majority of the activities are on, around, and above an organic farm near the Tanama River, making this the most eco-friendly adventure tour we’ve taken in Puerto Rico.
When you are on vacation on a large island like Puerto Rico, which has so many things to see and do, it’s often the case that you don’t get a chance to do everything you would like to. Usually, something gets missed. If you are interested touring some of the Puerto Rican countryside and doing an adventure tour — now, don’t have to choose. Tropical Adventure Guides has a "culture and adventure tour" that offers a little of both!
Puerto Rico is known for its coffee, and the best coffee comes from ripe beans grown high in the cool, moist mountain regions of the Toro Negro mountain range. There are a number of coffee Haciendas in the towns of Jayuya, San Sebastian, Ponce, Adjuntas, Las Marias and Lares. Most of larger coffee plantations are not open to the public, but some of the smaller, specialty/gourmet places are open for tours, and purchases. Our tour at the small, gourmet coffee plantation Hacienda Pomarrosa was informative and enjoyable.
I love it when you explore some place new and you are happily surprised with the outcome. That is what happened to us on a recent visit to the Centro Histórico Turístico del Cibuco (Cibuco Historical Tourist Center) in Corozal. We had heard that they offered a tour of this park, but we had no idea what a gem this place was. There is something for every family member packed into this lovely place, where you can spend a couple hours or the whole day.
On a recent, sunny Sunday, we decided to take a drive down the east coast of Puerto Rico. It is a nice drive if you go along the coast, with some great views along the way. At the south-east corner if the island is the town of Maunabo, in which you can find the Punta Tuna Lighthouse (Faro Punta Tuna) and beach. While you can’t enter the lighthouse itself, the park and beach area are worth a stop.
The minute you make your plans to come to Puerto Rico, you know his name — Luis Muñoz Marín. You might wonder Who was this guy that the airport is named after? Luis Muñoz Marín was the first elected Governor of Puerto Rico, and he changed Puerto Rico forever. A Foundation has been set up to preserve his legacy for future generations. While this is not a must do for most people, his home is an interesting place that deserves some attention.
The forts of the San Juan National Historic Site are hundreds of years old, and they hold many secrets from the past, many of which can be discovered just by wandering around by yourself. There are others that can be found in areas only accessible on a tour with one of the park rangers. One of those areas is the water cisterns located below Fort San Cristobal. We recently had the chance to visit those cisterns, and we were amazed by what we found.
The sugar era played a huge role in the history of so many Caribbean islands to make them what they are today. As the remains of the sugar mills disappear, a huge part of our local history goes with them — lost, not preserved, not discussed … forgotten. Recently, the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust has completed the first phase of the restoration of the old sugar plantation Hacienda La Esperanza in Manati. They are now offering tours to help educate people on this forgotten part of Puerto Rico’s history.
If you have ever been to (or even seen) Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro Fort), you might have noticed the stark difference in the look and construction of the walls of the fort versus the lighthouse atop the fort. Have you ever wondered why they are so different? Why is the lighthouse grey? Can we go up in the lighthouse? All those questions will be answered when you take the free Lighthouse Tour offered by the National Park Service at El Morro.
The HMS Bounty, a beautiful wooden ship, with square-rigged sails is currently docked in Old San Juan for the winter. This ship was used in the movie Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando, and later in the Pirates of the Caribbean. The ship is open for tours daily. So come aboard!
The forts in Old San Juan are amazing architectural marvels and defense systems, full of secret tunnels and passages. The National Park Service offers a guided Tunnels Tour at Fort San Cristobal on which you can learn about the fort and its defense systems. This tour also provides the opportunity enter a tunnel under the outworks that is normally off-limits to visitors.
Here is another example of a local historical spot that is way under-visited. The Museo Casa Jesus T. Piñero is located right on Route 3 in Canovanas. Ray and I have passed this place literally hundreds of times and never have stopped in. We finally went for a visit recently and got a special tour of this beautifully restored home that has historical significance for Puerto Ricans.
Tutankhamen: The Exhibition is now open in Old San Juan. The show contains replicas of objects associated with Cleopatra, Ramses II, Akhenaten, Tutmosis III and King Tut, including recreations of burial tombs, sarcophagi and King Tut’s burial headpiece. The show will run through March 2011.