A Voyage into Glowing Waters
A paddle stroke transforms the dark water into a swirling vortex of glowing blue. Your kayak's wake leaves a luminous trail of the same eerie hue. There are very few places in the world where water lights up at night, and Puerto Rico is one of them. Paddlers come to the island's east coast to launch at sunset, and then follow a narrow channel to a hidden lagoon. There, as full darkness comes on, the billions of tiny creatures that inhabit the lagoon light up with the movement of water. It is one of nature's most inquiring natural phenomenon, and it's an adventure that anyone can enjoy.
- Best for: Everyone, from rainforests to watersports and spas, Puerto Rico has something for everyone
- Best season to visit: Year-round
- Weather: Puerto Rico enjoys a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from the 70s in winter to summer highs in the upper 80s. Inland mountains remain cooler, and east coast sites enjoy trade winds. Winters are dry. Rain is more common from April through Nov
Puerto Rico Information
Paddle Sports in Puerto Rico Overview
Three of the world’s five known bioluminescent bays and lagoons are located in Puerto Rico. The Laguna Grande site in Fajardo is considered the best, as it is a fully-enclosed waterway that allows the organisms to thrive in higher concentrations. In addition, access does not require a ferry boat ride or a long drive from resorts around San Juan or the south coast.
Paddle Sports in Puerto Rico Tips
Tours take place in a natural mangrove environment at night, which means there may be bugs, especially when paddlers are transiting narrow canals. To protect the microorganisms that create the bioluminescent phenomenon, DEET-based bug repellents are not allowed. Make sure you bug spray is compliant, and if you feel the need for extra protection, consider wearing one of the insect-repellent shirts sold at outdoor stores.
Best Places for Paddle Sports in Puerto Rico
On Puerto Rico's east coast, the seaside village of Las Croabas is the starting point for kayak tours into the Laguna Grande. A half-mile paddle through a narrow mangrove-lined channel leads to the lagoon, which is ringed by natural vegetation, and filled with bioluminescent plankton. This phenomenon is can be especially dramatic on nights when there is no moon in the sky.
What to Pack for Paddle Sports in Puerto Rico
A towel and a change of clothes for the ride home, as most people get at least slightly wet when paddling. Surf-style board shorts or a bathing suit. Water shoes or sports sandals with a heel strap for security. A waterproof camera or smartphone case. Non-DEET bug spray.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements
Entry Requirements: No passport necessary for U.S. citizens to enter Puerto Rico. No visa is required for U.S. Citizens.
Vaccinations are not required for entry into Puerto Rico. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.gov.
Culture and Customs
When you arrive in Puerto Rico, you are still on US soil, but also very much in the Caribbean. No passport is needed, and English and Spanish are spoken in equal measure, but the culture is a blend of island styles and Latin-American traditions. San Juan is a cosmopolitan and thoroughly modern commercial center, but also a city with a long and storied history dating back to the days of Spanish treasure galleons and the real pirates of the Caribbean. The posh resorts and trendy boutiques of the Condado District are just a short stroll away from the narrow cobblestone streets and colonial-era buildings of Old San Juan. Drive into the mountains and as four-lane highways transition into cliff-hugging single lanes you step back into an era of village life, and then into settings where nature still takes center stage. El Yunque is the only tropical rain forest in the US National Forest System, and surrounding mountains hide an eco- adventurer's dreamscape of canyons, caves and waterfalls. At Toro Verde, the mile-and-a-half-long Monster is the world's longest zip line, and the Camuy River Cave Park features the world's third longest underground river. Surfers flock to world-class breaks near the west-coast town of Rincon, paddlers explore the mangrove lagoons of Parguera, and big game fishermen depart San Juan Harbor to do battle with trophy sized blue marlin. Those who prefer luxury over adventure can relax at premier resorts, play tour-worth golf courses, indulge in five-star spa services and sample the island's vibrant culinary scene.
Electricity, Phone and Internet Access
Electricity in Puerto Rico is 110 volts, 60 cycles, so no adapter will be needed for US visitors. The country code/area code for Puerto Rico is 787. Some U.S. providers include calls and data usage from Puerto Rico so be sure to check with your provider to see if additional costs will apply. Many hotels offer WiFi.
The environmental standards that apply to water in the U.S. apply to Puerto Rico. The water is safe to drink and bottled water if preferred is available for purchase.
Language & Currency
Both English and Spanish are the official languages in Puerto Rico, however Spanish is more frequently spoken by the people of Puerto Rico. The currency in Puerto Rico is the US Dollar.
Puerto Rico is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Puerto Rico is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT).
Location, Size and Population
Puerto Rico is an archipelago in the Caribbean and part of the Greater Antilles. The islands are located west of the Virgin Islands and east of the Dominican Republic. The Northern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean while the Southern coast faces the Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico is 30 miles wide North to South and 90 miles long East to West, 3,515 square miles total and includes a number of small islands, Mona to the west, along with Culebra and Vieques to the east. The capital and most populated municipality is San Juan, located on the northeastern shore of the main island
The population of Puerto Rico is 3.68 million (2016).