Fajardo is also known as ‘La Metrópolis del Sol Naciente’ or ‘the city that guards the sun of the Caribbean’. As the name suggests, when you visit this beautiful city in Puerto Rico you should expect a lot of sunshine. The beautiful spot on the shore has plenty of local beaches and is the perfect distance from the best day trips Puerto Rico offers. Here are 10 stops you must make when in Fajardo.
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Icacos Island is the perfect place to go to when you are looking to get some quiet time or go on a snorkeling adventure. You can get there by taking a Catamaran (this is a great choice for large groups and most come with food and drinks), or by buying tickets to take a boat to the island. The coral reefs are packed with interesting aquatic life – you’ll see tropical fish and stingrays by the dozen.
Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve is made up of 10 islands, which are best accessed by boat from Las Croabas. When visitors reach the reserve they can see the island’s natural wonders on land as well as in the water. Each of the islands are surrounded by coral reefs that carry a variety of marine life, including the turtles that return to the reserve’s sandy beaches every year to lay their eggs. The historic Faro de Las Cabezas de San Juan lighthouse is also located in the reserve.
Faro de Las Cabezas de San Juan
The Cape San Juan Light was first lit up in 1882 and is also located within the Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve. In 1898, the lighthouse played a major role in the Battle of Fajardo during the Puerto Rican Campaign of the Spanish–American War. The reserve has rare flora and fauna, a bioluminescent bay and a research center. There are also several trails and boardwalks that make exploring the reserve easier. Seven different ecological systems can be found here, including beaches, lagoons, dry forest, coral reefs and mangroves.
Bio Bay tours
The waters within Las Croabas Lagoon are home to a natural underwater light show. There are about 500,000 to 700,000 bioluminescent plankton swimming within the lagoon and just simply running your hand through the water sets off their glow, known as ‘dinoflagellate’. You can very easily get to this lagoon from Las Croabas; many tour companies around the area, as well as near San Juan, offer visitors kayaking tours, including Kayaking Puerto Rico. The tours last close to two hours, but are well worth the views.
Coqui Water Park
Not only will this small water park occupy kids during their visit, but adults can take a well-deserved break and enjoy views of the ocean for the duration of their stay. Thrills and adventure await you when you visit Coqui Water Park located in the El Conquistador Resort. Amongst the exhilarating rides and rapids is a trendy restaurant bar when you’re ready to grab something to eat. Guests of all ages can have fun at Coqui Water Park, whether they decide to rent a hammock near one of the pools or climb the 60 ft Torre de Yocahu Tower.
The ultimate tropical paradise has to be Culebra Island, a quiet little island that is loved by sailors, beach-goers, and snorkelers alike. Known to locals as Isla Chiquita (little island), miles of gorgeous coastline make it hard to remember just how small this island really is. One of the few islands in the Caribbean to remain untouched by the effects of tourism, Culebra is a luxurious and beautifully green place to relax for the day.
No one minds spending an entire day at the beach, especially when that beach is three miles of soft white sand and clear blue water on Culebra Island. You might see some old U.S. Army tanks around since the area was used for military exercises until 1975. Pack a ton food for the day because picnic tables and campgrounds are available if you choose to stay overnight.
The hike up to the Culebrita Lighthouse is a bit tough and requires you to bring plenty of drinking water, but the views you’ll see are totally worth the trek. The construction of this lighthouse began in 1882, was completed in 1886 and represents the most eastern light outside of Puerto Rico’s mainland. Inside you’ll find a gorgeous mosaic floor and Spanish-style windows. Currently the lighthouse is undergoing repairs after many storms ravished it over the years.
East Island Excursions
East Island Excursions helps you plan the perfect island getaway, whether it’s to relax on the beach of Icacos or to snorkel right off of Culebra. One of its excursions includes a delicious barbecue lunch buffet with great food and plenty of rum-based drinks. The crew will also go above and beyond to make sure that you are safe at every point of the trip and if it’s your first time snorkeling they will make you feel completely at ease.The outstanding crew will easily help make your excursion with them one of the highlights of your vacation.
El Yunque National Rainforest
El Yunque National Rainforest is the only rainforest that can be found on United States soil. It can be found south-west of Las Croabas and has both rain and cloud forests. At the elevation point of 3,088 ft there is a lookout tower that has a view that’ll take your breath away. You have the option to drive through the forest, or take the Mount Britton hiking trail, which has three rest stops where you can relax and take pictures of the rarely seen Puerto Rican parrot or the indigenous coquis tree frogs.
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