The Islands of Puerto Rico are a Caribbean jewel. Beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and vast history provide a sensual feast for visitors. The country is easy to explore because even the most distant points are only a 3 hour drive. There is plenty to do to help you learn about the people, the place and the culture.

Puerto Rico is divided into 5 regions. San Juan and the North are filled with historic sites, beaches, lagoons, lakes, caves and forests. In the East you will find fantastic golden sand beaches, golf courses, nature reserves and impressive underwater reefs and cays.

The Central area is world-famous for its coffee. Arabic coffee has been produced in Puerto Rico since about 1736. The aroma and flavor of Arabic coffee warms my coffee drinking heart. The area is also rich in archaeological sites and is home to two botanical gardens. It is a great area to shop for fine crafts from local artists.

Porta del sol is home to some of the world’s great surfing areas and beaches, coastal forests and coffee and sugar farms. There are several public golf courses and marinas. In Porta Caribe you can explore 15 towns (including fishing villages), more beautiful beaches and forests. This area also has fresh water lakes for fishing, and Carnival activities.

When there is so much to see and do its hard to know where to begin. Here are my picks for the 5 things you should do when you visit Puerto Rico.

1. Visit the El Yunque Rainforest – Stroll through the treetops on a 60-foot elevated walkway, hike to the waterfall and enjoy a swim in the natural pools. El Yunque has been declared a United Nations World Biosphere Reserve and is a must see stop.

2. Go spelunking and hiking in the Rio Camuy Caves, an impressive subterranean cave network. Trams will take you through the dense tropical vegetation down to the mouth of Clara cave.

3. Go Shopping at the largest shopping center in the Caribbean, Plaza las Americas, in Hato Rey. There are over 300 stores selling everything for local pottery to high fashion.

4. Take a horseback ride through a coffee plantation high in the mountains. You can rent horses by the hour and take a guided tour.

5. Do anything on the water from snorkeling to kayaking to surfing to fishing to sailing are all available.

If all this sounds like too much action and you just want to chill on the beach in a lawn chair, listen to the waves lap against the sand, while sipping a strawberry margarita or rum and coke, well that is perfectly cool too.

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