The canal in Dewey, Culebra. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Discover Culebra

As laid-back as Vieques is, it’s practically Las Vegas compared to Culebra. Culebra has yet to be discovered by the tourism industry, but experienced divers know it as one of the best diving spots in the Caribbean. Home to 1,568 acres of land preserved as a National Wildlife Refuge and one of the last vestiges of pre-tourism Puerto Rico, visitors are advised to embrace the island’s quirky inconveniences and sleepy pace of life to fully appreciate its many rare charms.

Arecibo Observatory. Photo © Frank Van Den Eijnden/123rf.

Sights in Arecibo, Puerto Rico

There are several good reasons to visit the municipality of Arecibo. In the mountainous karst country south of town is the world-famous Observatorio de Arecibo. On the coast is Cueva del Indio, a geographic wonder that illustrates what happens when crashing waves meet massive petrified sand dunes—it’s also a natural repository for petroglyphs. And for children, there’s the Faro de Arecibo Lighthouse and Historical Park with its themed playgrounds and welcoming patch of beach.

Off-street art gallery in Cuba. Photo © Brian Snelson, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Where to Find Cuban Arts and Crafts

The Cuban government bans the sale and export of antiques. Hence, there are no stores selling antiques to tourists. Fortunately, there are an abundance of galleries and markets that feature handmade items and artworks, from souvenir-style trinkets and kitsch to collectable pieces.

The gorgeous mountain view near El Toro Negro forest, Puerto Rico.

Driving La Ruta Panorámica

You couldn’t ask for a better way to explore Puerto Rico’s Cordillera Central than to drive this 167-mile route from Mayagüez on the west coast to Yabucoa on the southeast coast. Expert author Suzanne Van Atten is here with tips on making the most of the drive, and your best options for exploring only part of the route.

Magen's Bay on St. Thomas. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

A St. Thomas Weekend Getaway Itinerary

Dip your toes into the U.S. and British Virgin Islands with an extended weekend getaway to St. Thomas. Sample the beaches, snorkeling, shopping, and dining, and return home revived and refreshed. Good air connections make this a practical choice for visitors from the eastern United States.

A painted lion statue in the Plaza de Leon. Photo © Micah Craig, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Ponce’s Plaza de las Delicias

Ponce’s Plaza de las Delicias is a bustling Spanish colonial plaza surrounded by many lovely 19th-century buildings. Filled with vendors of all kinds by day and music every evening, here’s what to see and do in this beautiful gathering spot.

Paso Fino horses. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Puerto Rico’s Paso Fino Horses

Although not indigenous to Puerto Rico, the Paso Fino horse is closely associated with the island because it was here and in the Dominican Republic where the Spanish conquistadors first introduced the mixed-breed horse. The Paso Fino are superb saddle horses thanks to their unusual gait, high level of endurance, great agility, and remarkable obedience.

Puerto Ferro Berdiales Lighthouse Ruins Archeological Site. Photo © Michael Hopkins/123rf.

Sights on Vieques, Puerto Rico

From the overgrown ruins of a sugar mill to a restored 19th century Spanish fort to an incredible bioluminescent bay, there’s plenty to see on Vieques–and most you can do for free. Here are the most interesting sights to see, along with the island’s best beaches for a break between all the activity.

Diving at the RMS Rhone National Park wreck site. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Salt Island and the Wreck of the RMS Rhone

Many islands in the Virgins have salt ponds where crystal salt was collected, but no island had a larger or more productive pond than Salt Island. It’s also home to the wreck of the RMS Rhone, the preeminent dive site in the British Virgin Islands and one of its most visited attractions. Learn about the island’s history and how to thoroughly explore the Rhone’s remains.

Playa Sardinera in Hatillo. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Planning Your Time on Puerto Rico’s North Coast

The north coast of Puerto Rico is a wild expanse of rocky coastline and gorgeous ocean views, hilly karst country, and green farmland. It’s also thick with industrial plants, shopping centers, fast-food restaurants, road construction, and traffic. Despite the urban sprawl, though, the north coast has a lot going for it.