Puerto Rico

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About

• Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island that is located in the Caribbean Sea to the east of the Dominican Republic and west of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
• Puerto Rico is mostly mountainous, although there is a coastal plain belt in the north.
• Puerto Rico is almost rectangular in shape; approximately 100 miles long by 35 miles wide and is the smallest and the most eastern island of the Greater Antilles.
• Puerto Rico is the third largest island in the United States and the 82nd largest island in the world.
• Puerto Rico, due to its relatively short width and its east-west running mountain chain, does not have long rivers or large lakes. The longest river is the Grande de Arecibo, which flows to the northern coast.
• Puerto Rico does not have natural lakes, although it has 15 reservoirs, commonly called lakes, formed by damming the main rivers to produce hydroelectric power and water for irrigation.

HISTORY
• Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Puerto Rico in 1493
• The name of the island’s capital, San Juan, honors the name Columbus first gave the island.
• The island was under Spanish possession for over four centuries.
• Puerto Rico became United States territory under the Treaty of Paris, which also ended the Spanish-American War.
• The United States passed a law giving Puerto Rico authorization to create and approve its own constitution.
• The relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico is known as a commonwealth.
• The island of Puerto Rico is a rectangular shape and is the smallest, most eastern island of the Greater Antilles.
• Puerto Rico does not have any natural lakes but it does however have 15 reservoirs.
• The capital, San Juan, has one of the biggest and best natural harbors in the Caribbean.
• Both Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico, but Spanish is without a doubt the dominant language. Fewer than 20 percent of Puerto Ricans speak English fluently, according to the 1990 U.S. Census.

Avg. Costs

• Budget meal: US $3-15
• Moderate restaurant meal: US $15-30
• Top-end restaurant meal: US $30 and up
• Budget room: US $40-75
• Moderate hotel: US $75-200
• Top-end hotel: US $200 and up

• A cup of coffee at a good panadería is rarely more than $1.50.
• A full meal in a family restaurant should cost no more than $10-$15.
• Breakfast and lunch will rarely set you back more than $5 if you eat like the locals – in small bakeries, tavernas and at the friquitines, which sell salty, deep-fried snacks.
• Restaurant dinners can range from $8 to $30 and up.
• Some of the best deals on the island come in a glass during happy hour, when mixed drinks can go as low as $2.
• Even during normal hours drinks rarely jump above $4 (outside of the pricier places in San Juan, of course).

Currency

Information is coming soon.

Safety

• If you look at the statistics, it’s clear that Puerto Rico has a crime problem.
• The crime rate is lowest in the wealthy suburbs outside major metropolitan areas, such as San Patricio or Guaynabo.
• Nearly all crime is concentrated in the big metropolitan cities of San Juan and Ponce, and most of it is connected to the drug trade.
• However, the tourist areas of both cities are heavily patrolled by police, and violent crime directed against tourists is very rare.
• The main problem is theft: don’t leave your belongings unattended. Car theft is also an issue, so take care where you leave your car and don’t leave valuables inside.
• Fresh water lakes and streams in metropolitan areas are often polluted so avoid going in for a dip. You can, however, find freshwater streams and ponds in the rain forest that are safe to swim in.

Climate

• Puerto Rico has a tropical marine climate, which is mild and has little seasonal temperature variation.
• Temperatures range from 70˚F to 90˚F (21˚C to 32˚C), and tend to be lower at night and up in the mountains.
• The average annual temperature is 26°C (80°F).
• Rainfall is abundant along the north coast and in the highlands, but light along the south coast.
• Hurricane season spans between June and November, where rain showers occur once a day, almost every day.
• Periodic droughts sometimes affect the island.

Places to See

San Juan

Ponce

Mayagüez

Bayamón

Fajardo

San Germán Cayey

Caguas

Etiquette

• For either gender, it is very common to customarily kiss on one cheek when greeting a female.
• It is common for attractive women to have cat calls, whistles and loud compliments directed at them. These are usually harmless and it is best to just ignore them.
• Dress appropriately for the occasion. Although most upscale restaurants don’t necessarily require a coat and tie, some do, so inquire. Otherwise, a well-groomed, nicely attired appearance is expected. And never wear beach attire, skimpy halter tops, or short shorts anywhere but the beach or pool.
• To the relief of nonsmokers, smoking has been banned in all restaurants, lounges, clubs, and bars in Puerto Rico, with the exception of establishments with outdoor seating. Public drinking has also been banned.

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