If nature is calling your name for a adventure, head to Puerto Rico. With landscape that includes mountains, beaches, waterfalls and the majestic El Yunque rainforest, Puerto Rico is a beautiful eco-friendly destination for everyone. Here are 5 reasons to visit eco-friendly Puerto Rico:
Puerto Rico has a diversity of unique terrestrial and marine ecosystems including coastal mangrove forests, seagrass beds, coral reefs, tropical rain forests, tropical dry forests, and coastal plains, and is part of the largest biodiversity area in the Caribbean.
The island is perfect for hiking, biking, snorkeling, ziplining, bird watching and exploring. Tours to the El Yunque Rainforest are popular, as are just hanging on the beach.
Experience the views of Puerto Rico from a bird’s eye if you choose one of the many adventure parks in the forest. For an adrenaline eco-fun experience, you can visit the famous Toro Verde in Orocovis or go deeper in the mountains to Batey Zipline Adventures in Utuado. There, you can soar through ziplines, rappel, and even walk across exciting hanging bridges.
Don’t miss the Finca Gaia Experience, which is 35 acres of untouched forest owned by Ana Pérez and her son Manuel Baez, where they have created a space in nature to share their diverse land, different agroecology practices and learn about preservation. With over 100 species of trees, tours are offered weekly, and offer the chance to experience nature firsthand with a forest walk.
THE ECO CONSCIOUS ACCOMMODATIONS
Going eco-friendly doesn’t mean you have to give up the luxuries of a resort-like experience. From lavish hotels nestled in nature to chic treehouses, Puerto Rico offers various accommodations to fit your style.
Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve has been a luxurious favorite, with a “barefoot luxury” experience and eco-friendly experiences like kitesurfing, sailing, surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking.
Head to the island of Vieques to Finca Victoria, a five room renovated casona on a farm that offers sea and forest views. Rooms are decorated with repurposed furniture, feature biodegradable shampoo and conditioner and locally-sourced vegetarian breakfast is included in your stay.
Located in Ocean Park, Dreamcatcher by DW is a multi-award winning full service boutique hotel and the only vegetarian hotel in San Juan. Thoughtfully designed with 19 unique suites, walk a block to the beach, cultural landmarks and Calle Louisa.
If you are looking for a bed and breakfast, former Hilton Sustainability Manager Eddie Ramirez opened 5-room Casa Sol in the heart of San Juan. The 270 year old Spanish Colonial home was purchased in 2011 and sustainably remodeling using only local materials including natural coral stone, bricks from local clay and salvaged teak wood from a ship for all of the doors. The spaces are decorated with native plants and 100% local artwork. The highlight of the stay- the daily breakfast sourced from the local farmer’s market or rooftop garden doesn’t repeat during the week.
If you are looking for delicious eats, you won’t have to go far.
The Spanish language adopted the word “vianda” from the latin word “vivanda,” which means a place of living. Vianda serves a small, constantly evolving, farm-to-table menu anchored by local ingredients and products. This enables us to create, fresh, delicious food focusing on the best that Puerto Rico has to offer: its agriculture and its warm hospitality.
For fun, fresh, and healthy fare, head to Pinky’s. A favorite with the locals, some favorite dishes include Surfer, ( hot, pressed sandwich with turkey, mozzarella, basil, tomato, and pesto mayo) and the Big Ole Breakfast Burritos. Don’t skip the fresh fruit smoothies!
Located in Hatillo, Vaca Negra is artisan farm to table cheese shop, inspired by the traditional European cheese making styles. Women owned and operated by Licensed Microbiologist Wanda Otero, all cheeses and yogurts are 100% Puerto Rican made. She explored the cheese regions of Italy, Vermont and Canada to make the best quality cheese, and has since been locally and internationally recognized. Stop by for Cheese Making Tour (Saturday 10am) and/or the 2pm tasting, talk & cheese making.
Everywhere you turn in Puerto Rico, you are bound to come across a smile and a friendly face. Puerto Ricans are rooted in sociability, family and overall very friendly. The vibrant and diverse culture is rooted in indigenous, Spanish and African traditions, and can be found in everything from art, dance and food. Around every corner is a vibrant murals, and festivals that celebrate everything from the classical music of the Casals Festival to the Carnaval Ponceño, which is one of the oldest traditions on the island.
Kimberly Fisher is a Pursuitist contributor. As a freelance writer and on-camera host, Kimberly has traveled the world and has published over 400 articles in over 44 publications including Sherman's Travel, Huffington Post, JustLuxe, Luxury Lifestyles UK, eHow, Examiner, Food Wine Travel Magazine, Luxe Beat, NiteGuide, Ocean View, and USA Today. Disclosure: Kimberly is under contract with Casa Del Sol.