To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
— Aldous Huxley, 1894 - 1963
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Puerto Rico

Background

Puerto Rico

Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following COLUMBUS' second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced, Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917. Popularly-elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing for internal self government. In plebiscites held in 1967, 1993, and 1998, voters chose not to alter the existing political status.

About

Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island that is a self-governing commonwealth of the United States of America. Located in the Caribbean Sea to the east of the Dominican Republic and west of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico lies on a key shipping lane to the Panama Canal, the Mona Passage.

Read more about Puerto Rico in our Puerto Rico travel guide »

Featured hotels in

Puerto Rico

Puerto RicoW Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island 

Route 200 Km 3.2
Vieques 00765-9800
Puerto Rico

Price (US$): $457 - $900 / night

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Location. W Retreat & Spa Vieques Island is located on the beach in Vieques, close to Isabel Segunda Harbor, Fort Conde de Mirasol, and Sun Bay. Other points of interest are Black Sand Beach and Mosquito Bay Beach. Resort Features. W Retreat & Spa Vieques Island's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available. The resort serves buffet breakfasts each morning in the restaurant (surcharges apply). Recreational… more »

Puerto RicoThe St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort 

State Road 187 Kilometer 4.2
Rio Grande 00745
Puerto Rico

Price (US$): $479 - $1510 / night

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Location. The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort is located on the beach in Rio Grande and attractions in the region include Luquillo Beach, Azul Beach, and El Yunque National Forest. Regional points of interest also include La Mina Falls and Pinones. Resort Features. The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include a golf course. Also… more »

Puerto RicoThe Ritz-Carlton, San Juan 

6961 Avenue Of The Governors
Carolina 00979
Puerto Rico

Price (US$): $449 - $1219 / night

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Location. The Ritz Carlton, San Juan is located on the beach in Carolina's Isla Verde neighborhood, close to Barbosa Park, Ocean Park, and Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico. Other points of interest are Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum and Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Resort Features. The Ritz Carlton, San Juan features a restaurant, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The resort serves buffet breakfasts (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities… more »

Puerto RicoClub Melia at Gran Melia Puerto 

Rio Grande Hwy. 3 Int. 955
Sector Coco Beach
Rio Grande 00745
Puerto Rico

Price (US$): $179 - $259 / night

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Club Melia at Gran Melia Puerto Rico offers an inspiring approach to service and accommodations with delicate amenities and a striking aesthetic. The property, draped in the tropics of the El Yunque rainforest, consists of 90 family villas in a three story building, a world renowned YHI Spa and two 18 hole championship golf courses designed by PGA pro Tom Kite. Discover the turquoise waters of the Atlantic that swallow the sophisticated architecture of these luxurious Villas. Nestled on the… more »

Puerto RicoEl Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel 

1000 Conquistador Avenue
Fajardo 00738
Puerto Rico

Price (US$): $296 - $649 / night

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Location. El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel is a business friendly Fajardo resort by the ocean and close to El Conquistador Golf Course, Laguna Grande, and Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve. Fajardo Lighthouse is also a point of interest near this spa resort. Resort Features. El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel features a restaurant, a poolside bar, a bar/lounge, and a swim up bar. Room service is available during limited hours. Recreational amenities include a… more »

Browse more hotels in Puerto Rico »

Puerto Rico

Capital
San Juan
Location

Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic

Geographic coordinates

18 15 N, 66 30 W

Area comparative

slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island

Coastline

501 km

Climate

tropical marine, mild; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain

mostly mountains with coastal plain belt in north; mountains precipitous to sea on west coast; sandy beaches along most coastal areas

Lowest point

Caribbean Sea 0 m

Highest point

Cerro de Punta 1,338 m

Natural resources

some copper and nickel; potential for onshore and offshore oil

Population

3,978,702 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

white (mostly Spanish origin) 76.2%, black 6.9%, Asian 0.3%, Amerindian 0.2%, mixed 4.4%, other 12% (2007)

Religions

Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%

Languages

Spanish, English

Government type

commonwealth

Independence

none (territory of the US with commonwealth status)

National holiday

US Independence Day, 4 July (1776); Puerto Rico Constitution Day, 25 July (1952)

Chief of state

President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)

Head of government

Governor Luis FORTUNO (since 2 January 2009)

Internet country code

.pr

Internet users

1 million (2009)

Airports

29 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Ensenada Honda, Mayaguez, Playa de Guayanilla, Playa de Ponce, San Juan

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