Edited. Written June 23, 2021, by Wally De La Rosa | Money.com
We’ve already talked about how opportune this particular moment is to engage in domestic travel across the U.S., but relaxing restrictions and international travel slowly opening up made me want to give you a few reasons to visit the Caribbean during your next trip.
Although this is a good time for fully vaccinated travelers to start taking out their travel boots, everyone should pay close attention to their destination’s current COVID-19 situation before making any plans.
It’s also easy to get caught up in all that is happening right now and forget to have fun and enjoy ourselves. This is just to say: relax, enjoy yourself, and savor every moment as the best of your life!
Our Destination: Puerto Rico
You might’ve heard of Bad Bunny, “tostones,” or savory Puerto Rican coffee, but this little island 1,100 miles off the coast of Florida is packed with adventures for explorers, history buffs, and hotel-loungers alike. Here’s why we think Puerto Rico should be on your travel itinerary for your upcoming getaway.
Although the island is generally safe to visit now, travelers should keep in mind that they will be required to submit a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours plus a health declaration form upon entering the island.
Four Reasons to Visit Puerto Rico After COVID
1. The food
Puerto Ricans pride themselves on their cooking skills and take their “sofrito” recipes very seriously.
Sofrito is the base of Puerto Rican cuisine, consisting of freshly chopped onions and peppers, herbs, and spices mixed with a small amount of oil and salt, which is used to elaborate dishes throughout the whole day.
Aside from their renowned appetizers, or “picadera”, Puerto Ricans also grow their own coffee, and it is very tasty! The island’s rich soil and altitude create the perfect environment to grow plants and cultivate the beans, and boricuas enjoy 1 – 2 cups every day!
2. Accessibility to the mainland
If you’re in the U.S., you don’t have to rush to get your passport renewed—or scuttle to handle any permits needed to drive around with your American license—you can.
Being an unincorporated territory of the U.S., Puerto Rico’s economy was built using the U.S. Dollar, which cancels any currency exchange fees you would expect from your trip, although you might see some charges from using your credit or debit card outside your provider’s network of ATMs. These fees typically range from $1.50 to $2.25 per withdrawal transaction but some places can have higher rates.
Due to COVID-19, some of the island’s retail and restaurant industries have opted for card-only transactions, while some allow for digital wallets and payments to be made through your smartphone.
If you plan on visiting the island at a later date—say next year—now might be a good time to start looking into reward credit cards that help you stack up points and miles to redeem for your trip. Look into cleaning up the items on your credit report to increase the chances of getting approved.
You can also read more about the island’s official COVID-19 travel guidelines here, they can be translated into English: http://salud.gov.pr/Pages/COVID19-Preguntas.aspx
3. Diverse landscapes and friendly weather
Puerto Rico is bustling with wildlife and supports a unique assortment of bioluminescent bays, black-sand beaches, sixteenth-century strongholds, and a rainforest that are sure to beguile even the most experienced traveler while enjoying fairly warm and sunny weather throughout the year.
Town centers are found across the island’s 78 municipalities, where Spanish “Old Colonial” architecture meets cobblestone streets to create a picturesque view that reminds us of an older world. Its capital, Old San Juan, houses an array of national treasures and landmarks you should not fail to visit when you visit Puerto Rico. Expect to see many shaved ice “piragüeros” selling piragüas here, the island’s version of flavored shaved ice.
Along with the island’s vibrant culture and atmosphere, Puerto Rico has a surprising variety of landscapes within its relatively small land area.
4. You need a break
We have all been through a lot of general discomfort and stress over the course of the pandemic—but, if you’ve steadily worked your way through, struggled a bit (or a lot), and generally moved on despite your circumstances—you’ve made it.
After more than a year in lockdown, spiking cases, variants, and restrictions are slowly loosening up, and although there will be some time before everyone is fully vaccinated, we are definitely headed towards a much sought-after sense of normalcy in the coming months.
Whether you decide to take some time off now to unwind from work and enjoy yourself, or if you prefer to do it later—there is humility and grace in knowing you’ve made it through the worst unscathed (hopefully).
No matter how or where you travel, there are loads of ways our brains benefit from stepping out of our comfort zones and into the open world.
Enjoy this moment, take it all in, and make room in your life for this experience to repeat itself over and over again. As with anything, having a solid backup plan can save you lots of headaches down the road of your travels.
A Final Word
Puerto Rico is a game-changing destination that you should try to visit at least once in your lifetime.
Unfortunately, with the pandemic, travel has been adversely affected in many of the island’s small sectors or industries, and you might come across outdated Google Maps information about businesses that shut down due to COVID-19’s effect on the economy. Be patient, and find a local who can help you make the most out of your time there.
“Wally De La Rosa is a digital marketer and outreach specialist at Money.com. He is passionate about web development and product marketing and spends his time learning about the latest technologies to implement on his website and startup business.”
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