LET TRAVELKATZ PLAN YOUR PUERTO RICO VACATION PACKAGE
Travelkatz will put together a Puerto Rico Vacation Package custom tailored just for you. We handle all aspects of your trip so you can sit back, relax and enjoy. We provide three options for every state in the USA. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate in contacting us.
Alabama Military: Alabama is a southeastern U.S. state that’s home to significant military landmarks and events from the Civil War, World War I and World War II, all the way through history to space travel.
U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum: This Museum is operated by the Alabama Center of Military History and is dedicated to promoting and disseminating the accomplishments of American military men and women. The emphasis is on participants of World War I and subsequent conflicts. The survivors and families can use the Museum facilities to reminisce on their own experiences and those of parents, grandparents, and other close relatives. There are displays – more than 30 historical military vehicles from World War I to the present, as well as tableaus, artifacts, and other memorabilia dating back to the Revolutionary War. Supporting organizations include the 19th Alabama Infantry which sponsors exhibits from 18th and 19th Century conflicts, and the 8th Air Force Historical Society, which sponsors a Bomb Group briefing room. Both organizations support ‘living history’ presentations on many Saturdays. At the Museum is a reference library, in addition to published material such as the Seventh Army After Action Report from World War II. The library offers written and oral reminiscences of Alabama veterans. In this vein, veterans and their families are invited to send written material or audio cassette tapes to the Museum for inclusion in the library. A narrative by the veteran, or an interview by a relative, will provide a legacy of the contribution. The Museum welcomes the participation of military and veterans’ groups and individuals in making this a valued educational piece of history in Huntsville.
USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park: At this Battleship Memorial Park, you don’t have to look very far to find heroes. From the Battleship USS ALABAMA to the Submarine USS DRUM and over 25 aircraft, the spirit of military pride is alive and well. Aboard the battleship you will be able to explore 12 decks. Among those, you can climb inside gun turrets, get locked in the Brig, man a 12mm gun and much more. Also at the park, you will be able to go below and explore the oldest Submarine on display, the USS DRUM. In the Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion as well as in the park, you will be able to view many rare and historic aircraft. A few in the collection include a A-12 Blackbird Spy Plane, OS2U Kingfisher, F-86L Sabre Jet, and B-52 Bomber, just to name a few. While in the pavilion, don’t forget to take a ride on the Flight Simulator and experience flight without ever leaving the ground. It’s an unforgettable experience for the entire family. All tours are self-guided. Allow approx. 2.5 hours to really see what it was like to be on this battleship when on active duty in Mobile.
United States Army Aviation Museum: The U.S. Army Aviation Museum maintains a collection of over 160 military aircraft, including one of the largest collections of military helicopters in the world. Approximately 50 beautifully restored, historic, and one-of-a-kind aircraft are proudly displayed both inside the Museum exhibit space and outside on the grounds. The collection includes many significant examples of early research efforts and developments in rotary wing technology and the evolution of the helicopter. Represented is the Army’s involvement in military aviation from the Wright brothers, the early combat aircraft of WW I, and today’s technological machines such as the AH-64 Apache and the UH-60 Blackhawk. You’ll find this in Ft Rucker.
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC): This is a Smithsonian Affiliate and the Official Visitor Center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. On Display, they have one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia anywhere in the world. Guests journey through America’s Space Race and NASA’s plan to put man on the moon. Witness the development of the space shuttle program and the International Space Station, get a glimpse of the future in commercial space ventures, and the latest technological innovations. The Rocket Center regularly features traveling exhibits from around the world. Also, enjoy daily films on the 67-foot screen in Huntsville’s only full-dome IMAX® Theater or in the 52-foot, high-definition screen in the National Geographic Theater. Finally, plan a ride on the motorcoach tour of Redstone Arsenal, headquarters to the Army Material Command and home of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Travel to Huntsville to enjoy.
Crooked Creek Civil War Museum: This is a must see if you are a Civil War buff. It’s small but it makes this time in our history come alive in Vinemont.
Travelkatz is waiting to hear from you so we can make the history of our country come alive. Call us at 352-277-7300.
Puerto Rico Park System:
Puerto Rico Park System – Puerto Rico is a nature lover’s dream: 36 nature reserves, 19 state forests, approximately 300 beaches, and the only tropical rainforest in the National Park System all await your exploration.
Monte Choca State Park: This is a great opportunity to see the rain forest, especially since they are restricting access to El Yunque national park due to COVID-19. Follow the main trail until it crosses the road and then you can get into the trail networks South of PR-808. We recommend following the Camino Dona Juana Trail, check out the bamboo cathedral (beautiful quiet spot with a small shelter and seats) and then continue along the trail until it passes under PR-808 again (check for bats hanging out under the bridge). Take the cut off trail on the south side of the bridge up to the road and then hike back up the road to the main parking lot. Beautiful area, great look at the rain forest. Great idea if going with friends.
Guánica State Forest: A United Nations International Biosphere Reserve is one of the most extensive tropical dry coastal forests in the world, totaling around 9,000 acres of land. The reserve features 12 different trails to choose from, with varying degrees of difficulty. It is a paradise for birdwatchers with a variety of exotic birds that thrive in warm habitats. The forest is a nature-lover ideal adventure, as it contains more than 600 species of flora and fauna, as well as its 48 endangered animal species. This is a perfect place for climbing, biking, and enjoying a day at the beach.
El Yunque: This is Puerto Rico’s tropical rainforest, is a truly magical place. Waterfalls, incredible views, and the freshest air around await you at this enchanting park. Currently, the area serves as a historic park for the municipality of Loíza. After paying an entrance fee, you’ll be able to tour the cave as well as participate in the three different workshops: bomba dance class, beekeeping, and turban-making demonstration. Fun fact: The Cueva María de la Cruz houses one of the largest bee sanctuaries in the Caribbean, harboring thousands upon thousands of bees. In 1948, historical and archaeological evidence was found in this Loíza cave. The archaeological finds included rustic pottery, remains of human bones that predate the time of Christ, animal remains, fruit seeds, and marine fossils.
Lucchetti Reservoir Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is a great place for recreational fishing and other outdoor activities. The facilities include a recreational area with restrooms, bathrooms, gazebos, camping area, parking lot, boat ramp, and an area for fishing. The reservoir was built in 1952 to generate energy and potable water.
Dos Bocas: This lake area is surrounded by gorgeous scenery, and various boat operators offer rides around the lake and to and from several of the restaurants that are on the lake’s shores.
Arecibo: You will find Limestone caves, unspoiled beaches, and otherworldly attractions. Just one hour west of San Juan, coastal Arecibo is home to some of the best off-the-beaten-path adventures on the Island. With its dramatic landscape, defined by limestone formations, extensive cave systems, and subterranean rivers.
The trip to Arecibo is a bit like entering another world. There, you can explore caves, walk in the footsteps of pirates, or just plant yourself on some of the prettiest beaches in Puerto Rico.
TravelKatz is looking forward to putting a great vacation for you and yours. Just go for a “chat” at www.vacationnationradic.com or call us at 352-277-3700.
Puerto Rico Museums:
Puerto Rico Museums – A Caribbean island and an unincorporated U.S. territory which has a landscape of mountains, waterfalls and the El Yunque tropical rainforest. In San Juan, the capital and largest city, the Isla Verde area is known for its hotel and entertainment strip. Its Old San Juan neighborhood features colorful Spanish colonial buildings and El Morro and La Fortaleza, massive, centuries-old fortresses.
Museo de Arte de Ponce: Its internationally renowned collection comprises more than 5,000 works of art from various cultures, creating a unique dialogue between the Old and New Worlds. This is such a well-curated, well-maintained museum in the most unlikely of places. While the city is still battling to come out of the aftermath of several hurricanes, the art museum is such a refreshing experience. City elders need to promote it aggressively to attract tourist traffic which will help it rebuild as well.
The Poet’s Passage: Definitely a unique, lovely, and distinctive place. Whether you are or are not a poet, we think you will be impressed by the creativity of this place. People here are very friendly. Unique gifts as well as refreshments are available. The tile art is the best you will see, and the poetry plaques are thoughtful and refreshing. Highly recommended.
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico: The mission of this museum is to enrich the lives of its diverse audiences by making it accessible and promoting the knowledge, appreciation, and enjoyment of visual arts from Puerto Rico and the world. The MAPR engages diverse communities to facilitate learning experiences about the visual arts through the growth of a well-researched permanent collection exemplifying significant and representative examples of Puerto Rican art from the sixteenth century to the present; and alliances with local, regional, and international museums and institutions to advance the knowledge of, access to, and understanding of the visual arts of the world.
Museo Castillo Serralles: Evoking the era of the sugar barons of Puerto Rico, this beautiful Spanish Revival mansion was built in 1930 for the Serrallés family, owners of the Don Q rum distillery. The tour does a great job of explaining how the house was used, unique features of the house for the time it was built and more. You start the tour off in the cafe, the employee in the cafe, Conrad Vargas, is incredibly nice, outgoing, and friendly. You’ll enjoy your conversation with him before and after the tour as he will share a ton of useful information not only about the mansion, but also about the city of Ponce and Puerto Rico in general. On top of that, Conrad will help you after the tour as you organize our trip and accommodations.
Museo de Las Americas: In Cuartel de Ballaja’s second floor one of the greatest museums in Puerto Rico holds a space for the diverse cultures of the Americas. This museum was founded in 1992 by San Juan’s famed and beloved archaeologist Ricardo Alegria and is keen on honoring the traditions, objects, and stories that make up the American continent. This museum boasts four permanent exhibits: a) the Natives in the Americas, b) the African Legacy, c) Conquest and Colonization, and d) the Popular Arts. These carefully curated exhibits put on display a magnificent collection that briefly summarizes the “American experiences” throughout the centuries. Moreover, this museum has held numerous temporary exhibitions related to the arts and customs of Ibero-America. This gem of curatorial design also hosts Domingos Familiares, which offers workshops and activities for the whole family every Sunday.
TravelKatz is looking forward to helping you and your family and friends discover the unique museums on the island of Puerto Rico. Give us a call 352-277-7300 or “chat” on our website – we will help you have an unforgettable vacation. Puerto Rico is a fantastic jumping-off place for cruises to the southern Caribbean.
PLACE OF INTEREST
Do you have limited time, but want to go someplace off the beaten track – where you can venture to the Caribbean without a passport? How about Puerto Rico? Spring is a wonderful time of the year to visit this lovely island. True, it has sustained much damage from recent hurricanes, but this beautiful island has that bounce-back quality; and tourism is thriving. This vibrant island tour is an ideal introduction for first-time visitors who have limited time. We can begin planning your trip today! You’ll experience some of Puerto Rico’s most magnificent scenery as well as its most famous towns and beaches. On the island tour, you’ll start and end in San Juan as you make your way around the island and most meals are included. But don’t forget, we can fly you to San Juan to “catch-a-cruise” to the southern-most reaches of the Caribbean Islands, too. We can arrange special experiences to give you a true local perspective either before the cruise or after.
Puerto Rico – Spanish for “Rich Port” – is an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea that offers year-round great weather with over 300 beaches for nature lovers to choose from. Among the island’s allure is the only subtropical rainforest in the US – El Yunque, where exuberant flora and fauna, as well as rivers and hiking trails make it a great attraction for adventure seekers around the world.
This magical island also features three (3) of the world’s five bioluminescent bays, impressive cave systems, natural reserves, and the largest active radio telescope in the world and, of course, the uniquely historic architecture. Don’t forget about the different nations which fought on this island to secure it for their respective countries. Once occupied by French, Dutch, and British; but it remained a colony of Spain for four centuries. In 1898, following the Spanish–American War, the United States acquired Puerto Rico under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.
Whether you’re passionate about nature and love to explore, or you want to experience our urban settings full of culture, activities and nightlife – there is something for you to enjoy on this lovely island. Fall in love with Old San Juan as you become immersed in tropical colors, colonial architecture, epic fortresses, boutique and high-end shopping, and cultural events for the whole family. The enchantment of Puerto Rico can also be found beyond the island’s major cities. Let’s see what Puerto Rico has to offer…
San Juan: Your vacation begins with your flight into a bustling airport…catch a ride to your hotel and begin discovering Puerto Rico.
Landmarks You Shouldn’t Miss In the Metro Area – Old San Juan: A visit to the so-called “walled city” is like travelling back in time. As the second oldest town in America, a walk up and down blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan is a gateway into the core of Puerto Rican history and culture. The charming pastel-colored colonial architecture and military forts blend in peace with a modern, slower-paced life for an authentic Puerto Rican experience. Whether you’re a history savvy, a cultural buff or a sightseeing enthusiast, here is a list of landmarks and iconic places that you should not miss while visiting this remarkable city:
- Castillo San Felipe del Morro: Better known as El Morro, this impressive citadel is one of the largest fortifications built by the Spaniards in the Caribbean during the 16th century. Made up by six staggered levels that integrate barracks, dungeons and storerooms, this fortress was designed to protect the city from attacks made by sea and it still has some of the original cannons facing the ocean. In its history, El Morro was never defeated by the enemy.
- Castillo San Cristóbal: Standing guard at the eastern gate, this fortress was built to guard the city from enemies approaching by land. Covering over 27 acres, this fortification is the largest one made by the Spaniards in the New World. This castle holds the famous “Garita del Diablo” (The Devil’s Sentry), center to many military tails and stories in the island.
- Capilla del Cristo: Another landmark is the “Chapel of Christ”. This small sanctuary was atypically built at the top of the walls of the city, an unusual decision made in colonial times. Legend has it that two men were racing their horses down the street and one of them fell over the cliff and survived. This inspired the construction of a sanctuary dedicated to the saints of health. Its altar is made of embossed silver and the room is decorated with two José Campeche paintings.
- La Fortaleza: Officially named “El Palacio de Santa Catalina de Alejandría” (the Palace of St. Catherine of Alexandria), La Fortaleza is the oldest state residence of the New World still in use. This executive palace conserves traditions such as candlelit-only dining rooms and original Spanish objects from the colonial era.
- Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery: This peculiar cemetery was established in the 19th century. The Spaniards built it outside the city walls because of their strong fear of the afterlife. Its oceanfront location derives from a superstitious belief that the deceased started a journey over to “the great beyond” and being close to the sea symbolized the beginning of eternity. This cemetery is the final resting place of Puerto Rico’s most prominent natives and residents.
- Seminario Conciliar de San Ildefonso: The original building was completed in 1832 and it was commissioned by the first Puerto Rican Bishop, Fray Juan Alejo de Arizmendi. The seminar became a cornerstone in the development of public education in Puerto Rico, under the long teaching tradition of the Catholic Church. The Dome at the Chapel is a work of art worthy of a visit.
- Casa Blanca: Turned into a museum, this is the oldest residence in Old San Juan. It was built to become the home of Puerto Rico’s first governor, Juan Ponce de León. Sadly, Ponce de León died before he could occupy it, but it was left for his descendants to reside in it.
- Puerta de Agua or Puerta de San Juan: The “Door to San Juan” is the most colorful and known of all the entrances to the “walled city”. It was the main gate through which the priests and governors made their entrance to their investiture ceremonies.
- San Juan Cathedral: When comparing to the rest of America, the structure of this church is a rare example of medieval architecture during Spanish ruling in the New World. The San Juan Cathedral is the second oldest church in America, after the one built in the Dominican Republic. It was there that the world’s first archdiocese was founded.
- Department of Treasury Annex: Located in the main square “Plaza de Armas”, it served as the depository of the royal treasure in the island. It was also the first headquarters of the provincial deputation that preceded the modern-days legislative branches.
- Franciscan Chapel: The Church of St. Francis was one of the first sanctuaries to be elevated in Puerto Rico. It is the best-preserved church in the island and it still maintains the niches of people that were buried there back in the day.
Now head East to El Yunque to Río Camuy Caves: Enchanting Trails in Puerto Rico: “Picturesque” hardly does justice to Puerto Rico’s outdoor attractions. From the island’s waterfalls and beaches to its rugged cliffs and mystical caves, so many of Puerto Rico’s destinations are bonafide displays of nature at its most majestic. Hiking trails inside official parks and hidden locales will guide you to incredible sights and unique treasures through which travelers can experience the true wonders of Puerto Rico.
- El Yunque National Forest:This national forest is a truly special place, and exists as the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. The biodiversity is extraordinary, as the forest is home to thousands of native plants, including 50 native orchids, hundreds of tree and fern species, 50 varieties of birds and many different breeds of bats, lizards, coquí frogs, fish and more. The forest features a network of trails, including paths to the stunning La Coca Falls and La Mina Falls, both of which offer varying degrees of difficulty.
- Camuy River Cave Park:Las Cavernas del Río Camuy in Quebrada, Camuy — located about an hour west of San Juan — are part of a breathtaking 300-acre park. It’s not only a gem among the island’s outdoor spectacles, but also a certified global treasure. With more than 10 miles of caverns and at least 220 caves, the Camuy River Caves stands as one of the largest cave networks in the world and is home to the third-largest underground river on the planet. A trolley ride down the mountainside covered with thick, lush foliage takes you to concrete walkways leading into Cueva Clara. The tunnels inside are immediately striking, and visitors are soon treated to a view of a 17-foot-high stalagmite. Continue walking and you’ll come across a pool that mirrors the Empalme Sinkhole, which rises 419 feet above it. The trail continues winding through these ancient rock formations until, finally, you reach the trolleys for a return ride out of the caves. It’s a magical and one-of-a-kind experience, all sound-tracked by dripping water, the squeaks and flutters of bats and the rushing river beneath.
- Cueva Ventana: One of the most iconic and most photographed of Puerto Rico’s natural wonders is Cueva Ventana, or “Cave Window.” It’s easy to arrive to it in Arecibo, and the hike is only about 15 minutes long — if you’re with a tour guide. You’ll see stunning cave formations and even learn about Taíno history and the petroglyphs inside. The biggest prize, of course, is the “window,” located just inside the cave: From its ledge, the view is immense, offering a seemingly endless stretch of green landscape and beautiful blue sky. Cueva Ventana is an important part of the Ruta Taína, a sacred tour through the land of Taínos. This route also includes Cueva del Indio, or “Indian’s Cave,” to the north, which is one of the most visited cavern systems in the island.
- Guajataca Forest Reserve: Bring a flashlight to explore the limestone caves at the Guajataca Forest Reserve around the northwestern areas of Isabela, San Sebastián and Quebradillas. While smaller than the Camuy River network, they are just as magical, with their beauty magnified by the forest’s unique topography. The area’s limestone deposits were created through volcanic eruptions that took place millions of years ago and helped to craft a landscape filled with canyons, sinkholes and underground rivers, as well as the rolling hills and the mystical caves the area is most famous for.
The 2,289-acre park includes 25 miles of trails. The primary path leads to Cueva del Viento, or “Cave of the Wind.” You’ll spot the trailhead easily at the parking area, then pass an observation tower offering panoramic views of mountains and valleys. Returning to the main path, you’ll ultimately reach the cave itself, with otherworldly stalagmites and stalactites galore.
- Gozalandia: The Gozalandia Waterfalls are a locally beloved spot in San Sebastián. This hidden gem is a natural waterpark, featuring a sizable, deep pool of water beneath an impressively tall cascading waterfall. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can plunge into the water from the rocks about 30 feet above, then swim to the right of the falls, where there’s a tucked-away underwater cave to explore (with room to surface and breathe, of course!). The name Gozalandia means “Fun Land” and it’s exactly that — even the hike from the parking area and gate is illuminated by sun and bright foliage. Past the main falls, there’s another set about a quarter-mile hike up, where there’s a rope swing you can use to launch yourself into the pool below. While the beaches of Puerto Rico certainly boast a glittering allure, if you dig a bit deeper and hike a bit further, there’s even more enchantment to be found. These remarkable sights are the stuff of traveler’s dreams — natural spectacles you’ll never forget.
- Tapia Theater: Also known as the municipal coliseum, this architectural gem was built in 1832 and named after Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, the father of Puerto Rican literature. It is the oldest permanent theater in Puerto Rico and among the oldest free-standing stages still in use under the U.S. flag.
In Western Puerto Rico you can discover Cabo Rojo (pronounced “KAH-bo ro-ho”) an unforgettable town just two hour from San Juan. Occupying the island’s south-west corner, Cabo Rojo offers miles of pristine coastline, rugged limestone cliffs, a quaint town, excellent gastronomy and many natural wonders. Despite all this, Cabo Rojo inexplicably remains largely unknown to tourists, with the area’s glorious beaches and unique natural wonders seemingly enjoyed mostly by locals. The area also boasts a fascinating history, with local legend claiming that infamous Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí buried some of his loot in the area’s coastal caves. Whether or not there’s any truth to this tale, there’s no doubt that Cabo Rojo is a true treasure itself, and the area is just waiting for intrepid travelers to discover its hidden gems.
- Get Close to Nature at the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge: You may have heard of Las Salinas, the famous salt flats of Cabo Rojo. The salt flats are only one part of a much greater nature reserve, the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, which spans 1800 acres . Here, you can experience six ecological systems — the mangrove forest, dry forest, hypersaline lagoons, marine lagoons, seagrass and coral reefs. Spend some time exploring the numerous hiking and biking trails, which will give you plenty of chances to look for some of the more than 60 species of rare and native birds which make their home in the refug e. You should also visit the striking pink salt flats, which make for a truly unique (and photo-worthy!) experience, especially from the observation tower where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the salt flats and right out to the Caribbean Sea and Los Morrillos Lighthouse. Do not forget to stop by the visitor’s center right across from the observation tower, where helpful staff will provide information about the salt flats, local birdlife and more. While in the area, be sure to visit the quaint fishing village of Boquerón. With its variety of fresh seafood restaurants, you cannot leave this pocket of Cabo Rojo without trying some oysters from the village’s street kiosks. If you come on the weekend, you’ll find this village a hub of activity, with one of the west coast’s most famous beaches, Boquerón Beach, attracting visitors from near and far.
- Relax and Play on Magnificent Beaches: One of the loveliest beaches on the west coast, Buyé Beach can be a bit difficult to find — though locals are happy to lead you to it. You can park at Calle Buyé, then follow specific directions to one of the best local beaches in town — some people think they’ve missed it and turn back, but don’t make that mistake! You’ll miss a half mile of light sandy beach accompanied by calm waters of the prettiest shades of blue you can imagine. There are also bathroom facilities and picnic gazebos available, so be sure to bring lunch and cool drinks to make an afternoon of it. If Buyé is a bit too calm for you, be sure to check out Combate Beach . It is where you go to get away, Combate is where you go to party. During the summer, there are festivals and beach concerts. Almost any weekend, you’ll find a fun crowd with live music, lots of laughter, watersports and friendly people. If you’re looking for accommodation on the water, Combate Beach Resort is right on the beach and this charming parador has won multiple awards for excellent service. Perhaps the most popular beach in Cabo Rojo is Playa Sucia. Playuela (also known as Playa Sucia) is a true gem of the south-west coast — a crescent of sand coupled with inviting blue waters and limestone cliffs. While you’re here, make time to wander to Faro Los Morrillos . Commonly referred to as “El Faro”, this beloved lighthouse is located at Los Morrillos Peninsula within the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, and can be found atop an impressive limestone cliff 200 feet above the Caribbean Sea. Built by the Spanish in 1882, the lighthouse is one of the most charming sights in Puerto Rico, and can be viewed from the shores of Playuela for those unwilling to hike up the cliffs for a closer look.
- Feast on Fresh Seafood in Joyuda: Joyuda, a small village peeking out from Cabo Rojo, is the place for fresh, local seafood in Puerto Rico. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from on Route 102. Some are located on the pristine water, and you can enjoy a great sunset view while you feast. Try Bamboleio , a small, laid-back restaurant with a house specialty of el pesca’o frito (whole fried fish). And whatever you eat, be sure to have a mojito withit — Bamboleio makes fresh, delicious mojitos in flavors like parcha (passion fruit), ginger and coconut pineapple. At Marty’s Kitchen , you can enjoy a view of Isla Ratones while you eat. and reasonable prices (fresh lobster for under $20) make them quite popular. Specialities include their mofongo, as well as fish stuffed with lobster and whole fish like red snapper and chapin (trunk fish). Suffice to say, it’s easy to understand why the locals want to keep the secret of Cabo Rojo all to themselves! From the beaches to the cuisine, Cabo Rojo is a special and unique place, and is definitely worth the trip. So, now the secret’s out, it’s time to start planning your adventure on Puerto Rico’s south-west coast. Who knows? Maybe you’ll stumble across Cofresí’s buried treasure while you’re there. In a place as enchanted as this, it just might happen.
- Plaza Las Américas: San Juan’s landmark shopping experience, Plaza Las Américas, turns 50 this year. There are more than 300 stores inside, ranging from the iconic — West Elm, Michael Kors, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, M.A.C., Zara, Sephora, Old Navy and Macy’s — to the uniquely Puerto Rican — Playero, an excellent spot for beach gear, and Uno de 50, featuring fine handcrafted jewelry. Dining options are vast, too, with options including La Patisserie de France, Godiva Chocolatier, Bienlatino (a deli-style spot with a Puerto Rican and Latin-centric menu) and La Placita en PLAZA, the mall’s own farmers market. As if that weren’t enough, Plaza — as the locals refer to it — also includes a top-notch movie theater, plus plenty of specialty events like craft fairs, car showcases, and art and design exhibits. The selection at this mall is seemingly endless, which is why it’s a good idea to download its free Plaza app before you visit. This handy guide helps visitors navigate the mall’s incredible variety and get the most out of their visit.
- Mall of San Juan:For high-end retail in Puerto Rico, the newly built Mall of San Juan simply can’t be beat. Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue both have a home here, as well as classic designers like Bulgari, Carolina Herrera, Coach, Jimmy Choo, Tiffany & Co., Pandora and Louis Vuitton. This state-of-the-art mall, which opened in 2015, also boasts hip-and-stylish shops like H&M, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, both much-beloved newcomers to the island’s trendy offerings. More than 60% of the center’s restaurants and retailers are unique-to-market.
- Old San Juan:Local flair abounds in historic Old San Juan. You’ll find artisans selling handcrafted Puerto Rican folk-art on its cobblestoned streets, and Puerto Rican Art & Crafts, which offers a wonderful selection of local art and original, hand-made items. The Poet’s Passage is another special spot — a “living museum of poetry and local art” that includes a cafe, live music and literary events like readings and signings. Don’t miss the legendary Olé, a specialty shop for expertly made hats, including the classic Panama style. With a history dating back to 1977, every hat sold at Olé is individually hand-fitted for every shopper, meaning a purchase made here is truly one of a kind.
- Calle Loíza: This bustling street in San Juan is rife with incredible restaurants and cocktail bars, but it’s also home to tons of specialty boutiques. The selection at the vintage store Len.T.juela is fun and exciting, while Shop Nude is ideal for sophisticated, beach-ready style. Just down the street you’ll find Mad Love, a contemporary women’s boutique with all the latest trends and must-have styles. The area is often referred to as hipster headquarters, and while it’s unprecedented level of cool certainly makes Calle Loíza deserving of that title, there’s truly something for everyone along this thriving mecca for distinctive shopping experiences.
- Plaza del Caribe: The southern city of Ponce’s shopping hub is Plaza del Caribe, a mall with more than 130 stores spanning cosmetics, fashion, accessories, cellphone companies and more. Plaza del Caribe offers the best in retail from companies hailing from all over the world, as well as exciting cultural events inside and in its elegant outdoor plaza. The plaza has hosted music concerts, children’s entertainment and art workshops, so be sure to check in on its events page for forthcoming events and festivities. While everyone loves receiving the typical shot glass or keyring as a vacation gift, there’s something special about items bought at local shops and boutiques. In Puerto Rico, there’s no shortage of extraordinary retail outlets — whether for souvenirs and gifts for friends and family or for your own collection, standout items from any of these destinations are another way of holding close the memories of your island vacation.
How to Enjoy San Juan in Three Days: This is the perfect pre- or post-cruise visit to San Juan…Puerto Rico’s capital city has it all: a storied history, world class restaurants, a thriving nightlife and pristine beaches. San Juan is an exciting city that will appeal to every breed of traveler, from those looking to spend their days lazing on a white sand beach to those wanting to dance the night away in a stylish salsa bar. Make the most of your stay in San Juan with a schedule that includes the best attractions and a few hidden gems as well.
Day One: After arriving at either Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport or San Juan’s cruise ship terminal, collect your luggage and make your way into Old San Juan. This historic pocket of the capital city dates to the 16th century and offers a living gallery of colonial architecture and quaint cobblestoned streets. As such, this is the perfect area to base yourself for the duration of your stay.Casa Sol stands as one of Old San Juan’s loveliest accommodations, with five unique rooms decorated in a Spanish style and a complimentary daily breakfast made with fresh, local ingredients. On the west side of town you’ll find Villa Herencia, a luxurious eight-bedroom boutique hotel set with stunning furnishings from the early 1900s. You’re in luck with whichever you choose, as Old San Juan boasts numerous boutique hotels and luxurious bed-and-breakfasts to suit any taste or budget. Once you’ve checked in and dropped your luggage, lace up your walking shoes and hit the streets. Two huge Spanish-built forts, Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal, stand about a mile from each other, with the former originally built to protect the city from seaborne enemies and the latter to protect against land-based attacks. At the entrance of both, you’ll find National Park Service Rangers available to guide you through underground tunnels and hundreds of years of history.You’ve likely done a lot of walking by now, but a quick recharge at any of the excellent nearby restaurants should keep you going. Pizza lovers will swoon for Pirilo Pizza Rústica’s homemade pies with gourmet topping options, while travelers looking for traditional Puerto Rican fare will find mofongo and more comida criolla at El Jibarito, a district staple since 1977. Continue down the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan towards El Convento hotel, the best kept oldest building within the so-called “walled city” and enjoy a delicious passion fruit mojito while gazing into the sunset over the San Juan Bay and Cathedral.After dark, Old San Juan transforms into a hub of cocktail bars and clubs. Watch it all unfold from the Punta de Vista Rooftop Restaurant, where the view stretches for miles and iconic Puerto Rican dishes are served in authentic form. Then, grab a post-meal cocktail at La Factoría, the award-winning bar celebrated as one of world’s best. If you’re feet aren’t too tired, be sure to give salsa dancing a try in the back room, El Final, where live bands play beloved classics to a packed dance floor.
Day Two: After enjoying breakfast at any of Old San Juan’s unique eateries — diner-style spot La Mallorca is famous for their sweet-bread sandwich — head for Playa El Escambrón. A short taxi or Uber ride from Old San Juan, this stunning beach is protected by a natural coral reef, which has created a safe and tranquil oasis close to the city. Don’t forget to pack snorkeling equipment if you’ve got it — there’s a trove of tropical fish to see here, especially near the reef. When it’s time for lunch, head to nearby Santurce, where you’ll find a wide variety of flavors at Lote 23. This food truck lot opened in late 2016 to rave reviews — the creative gastronomy is served by established chefs trying out new concepts, as well as exciting newcomers, which made it an instant hit with both locals and travelers. When the sun sets, get up to the luxurious Eter Rooftop and Lounge. Enjoy an elegant dinner and sip cocktails while taking in panoramic views of the city, then ready yourself for a little dancing. Calle Loíza is a quick trip away, and there you’ll find cocktail bars, lounges and dance floors thumping to music from local DJs.
There’s so much to do in San Juan that 72 hours may not be long enough to see it all. Extraordinary experiences are everywhere, and these are just a few of the remarkable options that will make for an unforgettable visit.
Bacardi Corporation was established in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1936. The current facility was built in 1958 on 127-acres in the town of Cataño. Baptized as “The Cathedral of Rum” by then Governors Luis Muñoz Marín, the facility is the largest premium rum distillery in the world. Since 1961, Bacardí Corporation has operated the state-of-the-art Casa BACARDÍ Visitor Center, the second most visited venue in Puerto Rico. The Bat winged visitor’s pavilion of Bacardí Corporation (Puerto Rico) was built in 1970 by Spanish architect Félix Candela. 2001 was a record-breaking year from the production perspective, as the plant distilled over 30 million proof-gallons and bottled over 2.3 million cases. BACARDÍ has been given over 550 awards, it is the number one rum in the world.
Rum Tasting Tour & What’a Included: Become a rum “maestro” on this guided tour where you will discover how we make our premium rums, the craft of our barrels and blending, the history of our family owned company, and taste five BACARDÍ rums, including Legacy, exclusively available at Casa BACARDÍ Puerto Rico. A visit to the distillery, the “Cathedral of Rum”, a BACARDÍ Specialist will lead you through tasting and understanding five unique, premium rums. Discover why BACARDÍ is the rum of kings, and the king of rums.
BACARDÍ The Rum Tasting Tour is $50 and includes:
- Tasting of five premium rums.
- Commemorative BACARDÍ Cup.
- BACARDÍ Welcome Cocktail for adults.
- Access to Bottle Your Own BACARDÍ
- Experience & Gift Shop
- Complimentary WiFi on property.
- Please note, you must be over the Legal Drinking Age to participate in this tour. This is a premium spirits experience. Children cannot accompany adults.
- Please arrive thirty minutes before your tour time to register and enjoy your Welcome Cocktail.
- The Rum Tasting Experience duration is approximately ninety minutes.
Fly Home…or Set Sail….This is an introduction to Puerto Rico for those who have limited time or just want a good taste of what the island offers. If you want to combine this tour with a cruise, that can be done; as well as it can be expanded to a longer tour. This tour features an exceptional experience in Puerto Rico. You’ll witness some of the most unique and colorful outdoor places, enjoy the cuisine as you “taste” Puerto Rico, tour a fort, attend a rum tour, and stay in a warmly welcoming boutique hotel.
Alabama Gardens- Come witness the beautiful colors and varieties of flowers and plants as we travel to Alabama for a look. There are 13 varieties of gardens located all over the state. Call us to help you create that springtime Alabama adventure! Or maybe you would rather witness the fall colors instead.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens: A cherished place of respite and inspiration since 1962, these Gardens promote a passion for plants, gardens, and the natural world. Located in the heart of Birmingham, this 67-acre urban oasis offers beautiful blooms, glorious specialty gardens, and opportunities to grow your green thumb throughout the year. The Gardens are free and open to the public every day of the year. A facility of the Parks and Recreation Board, these Botanical Gardens are the result of a public-private partnership between the city the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Beautiful gardens with lots of incredible plants and water features and benches to sit and take it all in and it’s also right across from the zoo. It’s a beautiful place to take a walk, read a book, have a picnic, or take photos. The gift shop is lovely as well. Found in the city of Birmingham.
Dunn Formal Rose Garden: This Rose Garden is an official All-America Rose Selection Display Garden. It features tea roses, floribundas, grandifloras, climbers, miniatures and shrub types that bloom in glorious colors from late April until frost. You’ll see old favorites such as ‘Peace’, ‘Chrysler Imperial’, and ‘John F. Kennedy’ mingle with newcomers like ‘All That Jazz’, ‘Dolly Parton’ and ‘Fourth of July’; our bounty of roses has made this spot a mainstay attraction since The Gardens first opened in Birmingham.
Hess Camellia Garden: Another beautiful site, this Shade Garden and the Japanese Garden are found at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Come and enjoy the diversity these gardens offer.
Huntsville Botanical Garden: The 112-acre Botanical Garden is open year-round and contains a diverse ecosystem of meadows, upland and bottomland forest, and wetlands, as well as a variety of specialty gardens and native plant collections. The Mathews Nature Trail contains the largest accredited trillium collection in the U.S. and the Anderson Education Center is home to the nation’s largest open-air butterfly house. The Native Plants Teaching Garden is a public space that highlights the way local plants, soil, pollinators, and birds create distinct communities and how they interact to form a diverse, sustainable, and attractive landscape. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Garden is a member of the American Public Gardens Association of North America. Discover this garden in Huntsville.
Dothan Area Botanical Gardens: Serene retreat featuring 50 acres of lush, manicured gardens with ponds & shady walking trails. It is on the smaller side but for $5 a person it was well worth the money! There is a gorgeous Asian garden and tropical plant house. You can see a good variety of roses, camellias, and herbs, too. There are paved walkways for a very peaceful and quiet stroll on a Sunday morning. For the children, there is a kid zone which everyone loves. Found in town Dothan north of Atlanta.
Aldridge Gardens: This spot is amazing. Wonderful accessible walking trails, a hands-on bonsai educational opportunity, a Veterans Memorial Arbor and Pentagon Plaza with beautiful views of the lake, also a great place to take a run in the park – and just adorable geese or ducks! They also have a venue you can rent for events. Come experience the beauty and hospitality the city of Hoover has to offer.
Cornerstone Gardens: This garden is a beautiful hidden gem! You might very well love all the Bible verses throughout the garden! Cornerstone Gardens and Arboretum was created as a place of meditation, rest, and reflection for Carriage House Repose & Restore, Inc., a Christian support ministry for ministers, missionaries, and evangelists. The Carriage House is situated on the property close to the gardens, and the pastors and others come to stay there as a short-term respite. The caretakers and stewards of the Carriage House ministry have opened the gardens to the general public to share the natural beauty and wonder of over 5,000 plants and trees comprised of over 150 different species. Travel to Mobile to enjoy this garden.
TravelKatz is looking forward to helping you and yours have a special vacation in Alabama where you will get to see beautiful gardens. Just call us at 352-277-7300 or chat at www.travelkatz.com.
Call TravelKatz – 352-277-7300 if Puerto Rico is on your list of places of interest. We’ll be happy to make this dream vacation a reality for you and your family or friends.
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