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Puerto Rico Travel Guide
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Welcome to Puerto Rico on the Paradise Islands website. Puerto Rico and it's smaller islands of Vieques, Culebra and Mona, lie southeast of the tip of Florida and the Bahamas. It is the smallest by size of the four big islands that make up the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Dominican Republic/Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto Rico); all are located in the western Caribbean Sea. (See our Greater Antilles Map).

Puerto Rico lies on the eastern edge of the Greater Antilles and borders the top edge of the Caribbean Lesser Antilles. To the east lies the Virgin Islands within the Leeward Island group and the closest neighbour is Saint Thomas in the USVI group.

Puerto Rico


San Juan in Puerto Rico is a major embarkation port for cruise lines operating in the Caribbean. Many visitors will simply transfer from one of the local airports to the cruise ship port and never actually see any of the island. Driving from the airport through the modern part of San Juan, you will notice little difference to any metropolitan city in the USA. If you have a few hours to spare, old San Juan is a short taxi ride from the port and it's a fascinating old town when explored on foot (although there are a few no go areas to avoid).

Old San Juan Puerto Rico

El Yunque National Forest Puerto Rico

Old San Juan Street Scene

Rain Forest Steam


Puerto Rico was claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus in 1493 during his second voyage to the Americas. Columbus named it San Juan Bautista, to honour Saint John the Baptist. It remained under Spanish control for over 400 years despite numerous attempts to invade the island by the French, Dutch and the English.

Palomino Island Puerto Rico

Today the island is a commonwealth or "Free State" and a territory of the United States. It was ceded from Spain to the USA in 1898 as part of the Treaty of Paris during the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans have officially been US citizens since 1917; however, they are not permitted to vote in US presidential elections. There is a locally elected Island Governor, but much of the local legislation is enacted by the United States Congress. Talk of full independence is commonplace within the island.

In Spanish, Puerto Rico means "rich port" and the local population often refer to the island by its indigenous name of "Borinquen".
Travel, holiday, vacation and cruise guide to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. All text and images are Copyright Paradise Islands org. All photographs on this Caribbean travel guide website are obtained with the permission of the owners and come from various sources including the islands tourist boards.

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Quick Facts

San Juan

Main Airport
Luis Muñoz Marín International

Main Port
San Juan

Spanish &

US Dollar

United States

Island Size
 Square Miles

3.7 million

Old San Juan Puerto Rico

Old San Juan

El Yunque National Forest Puerto Rico

Rain Forest

Puerto Rico Map


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