Can you imagine driving down a road with a world class beach on one side and a rainforest on the other? Well you can do just that in Puerto Rico, you can also go snorkeling in the morning, salsa dancing in the evening, you can drink fresh picked coffee as well as locally produced rum, you can run horses, ride ATVs, visit classical European paint collections, learn how to craft wood saints and get lost in a 500 year old colonial city. All in Puerto Rico the island of Enchantment.
Puerto Rico is 111 x 36 square miles of pure joy; as a matter of fact it was voted as one of the happiest places on earth. It is the smallest of the larger Antilles islands in the Caribbean and is a Commonwealth of the United States of America.
This relationship means that US Citizens do not need a passport to travel here, and that the same countries that don’t require a visa for tourism purposes to the USA also don’t need a visa to come either. The US dollar is the currency, postal service and passports are also the same as the USA.
The capital city San Juan is a bustling metropolitan city where old world charm meets with new world commerce. Old San Juan was founded in 1521 and is the oldest flag flying under the US and its territories. Seven blocks of Spanish colonial history (Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain from 1493 to 1898), are surrounded by the city walls and two Forts. During the daytime explore this historical gem and at night live the rhythm as everything changes to a sensuous mix of great food, chatter and dancing.
New San Juan also has that wonderful combination of hustle and laid back as people sway between international banking and long leisurely lunch hours. One can visit the Caribbean’s largest mall and the world’s most profitable square foot, or catch a international film, visit the Museum of San Juan or take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens, have a fresh fruit smoothie at the Farmer’s Market or a shot of rum at the distillery.
For the outdoorsy types one can find tons of water sports from surfing, stand-up paddle boarding in the Condado lagoon, kite surfing, scuba, jet skies or just working on the perfect tan as well as more terrain activities such as biking on a mangrove boardwalk, zip lining through the forest, ripping through an old sugar cane plantation on ATVs or taking a horse up a river, bird watching, canyon & caving or some steep mountain climbing. Options are endless and there are selections ranging from mild to extreme adventure depending on your taste and abilities.
All in all Puerto Rico is a fantastic destination to come and learn Spanish because there are dozens of daily flights, travel requirements are easy, no shots required! no passport for US citizens, its a tropical paradise that is in synch with the modern world so you can get away but still check in. Although Spanish and English are both the “official” languages, Spanish is the true native tongue for locals and bilingual persons are most commonly found in the tourist areas.
Culturally rich, the island has been blessed with the mix of many racial groups throughout history but the typical Puerto Rican will tell you that they are 1/3 Spanish, 1/3 Taino, 1/3 African and 100% Boricua –the local word for Puerto Rican coming from the name Boriken; the name the Taino Indians gave the Island in Pre-Columbian era.
“I had an amazing experience studying Spanish with I.S.L.A. It was my first time studying Spanish abroad and I felt like a family member as soon as I arrived to school from the first day!”
Marketing Instructor, Vancouver, Canada
Quisqueya St. #50, San Juan PR 00917