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Discovered by Columbus in 1493,
the Spaniards renamed the island San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico, after John the Baptist.
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Puerto Rico lies to the east of the Dominican
Republic, while further to the east lie the Virgin Islands.
The country consists of the large island of Puerto Rico, Isla Mona
to the west, and Islas de Culebra and de Vieques to the east.
Weather in the Caribbean:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around the Caribbean region.
From the Spanish base of Santo Domingo,
Ponce de Leon sailed to Puerto Rico in 1508, and became the island's first governor.
In 1521, Ponce de Leon was mortally wounded while searching for the
fountain of youth in Florida, and died in Cuba.
In the same year, mosquitoes around the original settlement of Caparra
plagued the Spaniards and forced them to move across the bay and settle on the headland.
It's not certain when the name of the island became that of the town,
or the rich port the name of the island; probably when the Spaniards found out that the
rivers would not yield them with golden riches, or perhaps it was to bless the new
settlement with the name of a patron saint.
Spain began to build a considerable and wealthy empire in the
Americas, and this in turn attracted the French, British and Dutch to plunder what they
could. All Spanish settlements and shipping were at risk.
The capital of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is in the
north-eastern part of the island; facing the Atlantic Ocean.
Old San Juan, the historical part of the city, lies on a small island
connected to the mainland by bridges and a causeway.
As the Casa Blanca stronghold, built as a house for the heirs of Ponce
de Leon, in 1525, would do little against a serious land attack, and La Fortaleza
(completed in 1540 and now the governors house) was in a foolish position in the inner
harbour, Oviedo suggested that a more secure fort be built on the commanding headland.
Emperor Charles V, Charles I of Spain authorised the construction of
the El Morro fortress, in 1539, to protect the harbour from capture. If the enemy were to
obtain such a strategic port, they would be free to attack the Spanish fleet, and rob
Spain of her treasures, at will.
During the increased fortifications of El Morro, financed by stolen
treasures from Mexico, the Spaniards had frequent
visits by the British. Francis Drake made a brave attempt to snatch a cargo of gold and
silver that awaited transportation to Spain in La Fortaleza, and the Earl of Cumberland
made a successful land attack.
In 1625 the Dutch attacked from the landslide of El Morro, and burnt
the city on their retreat.The land defences were also reinforced with massive surroundings
walls and San Cristobal fort on the eastern shore.
The San Juan gate would open from the quay, where visiting high
government officials were met by local dignitaries and escorted up the hill to the
Cathedral; which now contains the remains of Juan Ponce de Leon.
The two convoys that left Spain each year needed to be guaranteed a
safe passage. With Spain controlling Santo Domingo and San Juan, the convoys could bring
supplies from Spain and continue across the Caribbean.
One would head for Veracruz to pick up Mexican silver and Philippine
merchandise that had travelled across the Pacific, while the other would take on pearls at
Cartagena and Peruvian treasure at Portobello, on the Isthmus of Panama.
The two fleets would meet at Havana for the homeward voyage -- past
the shores of Florida, and on to Spain.
In 1586, after Havana had already been sacked and Sir Francis Drake
humiliated the Spaniards by breaking into the cities of Santo Domingo, Cartagena and St
Augustine, Don Juan de Tejeda and the military engineer, Juan Bautista Antonelli, were
sent to the Caribbean to plan and strengthen Spanish defences.
Airlines and Airports:
San Juan is considered the hub of the Caribbean with American Airlines running daily
flights to numerous US cities and other Caribbean destinations.
Many Cruise ships also make San Juan a regular port of call. Daily signs go up around the
tourist shops in Old San Juan welcoming the liners by name, offering free cocktails and
gifts to purchasing customers, along with lucky cabin number draws.
Puerto Rico's association with America has meant that fast food
drive-ins now offer rations in polystyrene shells, not nearly as savoury as oysters;
although there are some savoury places to eat as well.
Dining - Ummo Argentinian Grill:
If taste buds could dance, theyd be doing the tango at Ummo.
Accommodation in San Juan
Hotel Prices in Puerto Rico.
On the mainland, east of old San Juan, is the high-rise luxury
hotels and condominiums; popular with tourists who like to make a quick tour of the
historical sights and then get to work on their tan.
Getting Around Puerto Rico
The publicos (shared taxis) have set routes and are a great way to
travel cheaply, from plaza to plaza, around the island.
Whatever your idea of paradise may be you'll find it in Puerto Rico. Discover its past and
present as you explore its 78 municipalities.
Go To Puerto Rico:
The official website of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
Go Tours Puerto Rico:
Enjoy safe and exciting Puerto Rico adventure tours with English-speaking staff,
knowledgeable drivers and professional guides.
Puerto Rico is packed with enough unique attractions and fascinating sights to keep you
occupied for weeks.
Puerto Rico Convention Center:
Created for meeting planners, exhibitors, and attendees, the website provides complete
information on Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan. Website visitors can also create
personalised online meeting planners.
Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism
The Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association represents the shared interests of its
more than 480 corporate members, including hotels, restaurants, tour companies, suppliers
of hospitality goods and services, airlines, cruise lines and educational institutions.
Whatever you're looking for in Puerto Rico, it's most likely listed in the Island Resource
Puerto Rico Vacation Guide:
A comprehensive guide to Puerto Rico, including history, basic facts, getting there,
getting around once youre there, accommodations, and what to see and do.
What To Do in Puerto Rico:
Arguably the most beautiful city in the Caribbean, a leisurely walk through Old San Juan
is one of the most pleasant experiences anyone could have in Puerto Rico. There's plenty
more to see and do on the island as well.
Small Inns of
Usually family owned and managed, often tucked into the most interesting or unusual
corners of the island, and always with attractive prices and personalised service, the
small inns and hotels of Puerto Rico are very special places.
General Map of
Interactive map of Puerto Rico that includes main roads, municipalities, and airports.
Map of Puerto
With this interactive map you can locate Puerto Rico's municipalities, the primary route
from San Juan and approximate driving distance.
Puerto Rico Wow:
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