If you are a classic car buff, or if you are just interested in the history of transportation in Puerto Rico, you might want to check out the Museum of Transportation in Guaynabo. From horses, to trains, planes, and automobiles, this museum has a little bit of info on a lot of things related to moving people and things around Puerto Rico.
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Fine chocolate and fine art … what is not to love? Casa Cortés ChocoBar is a restaurant & art gallery in Old San Juan operated by the Cortés family. This chocolate-producing family has opened this venue to allow the rest of us in on some of their greatest family treasures — meals that incorporate their amazing chocolate, and pieces from their amazing art collection.
The Museo Agricola de Aguada contains a varied collection of items and antiques, including carved wooden Santos, a restored locomotive, pre-Columbian artifacts, musical instruments, household items, … and a huge collection of clothes irons. It’s an eclectic collection of “stuff” that will give you glimpse into the history of Puerto Rico.
If you are an art fan, Bayamón should be on your list of places to visit. There are two noteworthy art museums in town — the Bayamón Museum of Art, and the Oller Museum of Art and History. Both museums feature the works of local artists, from the mid-1800s through today.
For more than 275 years, the haciendas throughout the cool mountain regions of Puerto Rico have been growing coffee. It was once one of the largest crops in production on the island. The Museum of Coffee in Ciales is a place where you can explore some of the history of coffee, and to experience some of the best coffee available in Puerto Rico today.
The Spanish settlers made Puerto Rico their home more than 500 years ago, and you can see the archaeological evidence of their first settlement at the Caparra Ruins Museum and Historic Park in the town of Guaynabo. It is a small but important spot that has been set aside for its historical significance.
The big holiday in Puerto Rico is Three Kings Day, celebrated on January 6. And nowhere else on the island are the Three Kings taken more seriously than in the town of Juana Diaz, referred to by some as the Bethlehem of Puerto Rico. Juana Diaz is also home to the only museum dedicated exclusively to "all things Three Kings". Stop into the Casa Museo de los Santos Reyes to learn about the Christmastime traditions of the island.
What do you do when your pastime or hobby gets out of control? You open an exhibition to show off your collection! The VolkyLand of Puerto Rico is a museum dedicated to all things Volkswagon. Located in the small coffee town of Yauco, it is one of the largest private collections of Volkswagons and VW-related stuff in the world. It a must-see for the VW enthusiast in your family.
Puerto Rico might be a small island, but it is big on sports and it has supplied the world with some amazing sports heroes. While I admit that I am not a big sports fan, we did stop by the Puerto Rican Sports Hall of Fame just at the entrance to Old San Juan, and we learned a lot. It’s a quick, enjoyable, and free stop!
We explore at lot of places in Puerto Rico, and I love it when we find something unusual that is relatively unknown. A recent find for us was Ojo de Buey along the coast in Dorado. This natural rock formation resembles the head of on ox, and it held special meaning for the pre-Taino inhabitants of the area. You may want to do a little exploring and check it out for yourself!
If you are interested in religious art and old architecture, a visit to the Convento de Porta Coeli church in the town of San German is a must. Convento de Porta Coeli, the second oldest church in the New World, was restored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, and is now a museum called the Museo de Arte Religioso. Located in the south-west part of Puerto Rico, San German is a bit off the beaten path. But, if you’re visiting that part of the island, plan a little extra time to make a side-trip to this quaint, little town.
Amazing … That about sums up my feelings about the new Museo del Nino (Children’s Museum) in Carolina. The museum is a fun, hands-on place full of interactive, passive-learning activities. It has over 100 exhibits, each with something to play on, with, in, or around. Kids of all ages are sure to find something interesting and fun to do. I know we did!
If you are at all interested in the workings of the human body, then a trip to Body Worlds: The Cycle of Life & A Trip into the Heart will really intrigue you. This touring exhibition is currently open, for a limited time in Old San Juan. It features a number of whole human bodies, and numerous body parts and organs that have undergone a plastination process. It is an enjoyable experience for everyone.
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.