Puerto Rico is well known for its rich culture, music, and hospitality. It is one of the most beautiful countries in the Caribbean. This beautiful archipelago features many islands with stunning coastlines. Many interesting facts about Puerto Rico make it a fascinating destination.
Common Facts About Puerto Rico
Officially known as the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,” this is an amazing beautiful Caribbean island. This stunning island country has an approximate population of about 3.5 million. It is one of the most breathtaking countries in the Caribbean.
Geographically, Puerto Rico sits between the north Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. This gives it a place on the North American continent. To the left of Puerto Rico is the Dominican Republic and to the right is the Virgin Islands.
An interesting fact about Puerto Rico is that it is actually an unincorporated U.S. territory. Famous for its beaches, beautiful landscapes, rainforests, and waterfalls, there are many attractive elements and facts about Puerto Rico that can move one’s heart.
Historical Facts About Puerto Rico
The Meaning Of ‘Puerto Rico’
Puerto Rico directly translates to ‘rich port’ in Spanish. A usually forgotten fact about Puerto Rico is that it was formerly called San Juan Bautista before the island switched name with the port.
This Caribbean Island is on the northeast of the Caribbean Sea and is home to over three million people.
It is one of many Latin American countries with a Spanish heritage, so the official language is Spanish although English is also widely spoken in Puerto Rico.
Oldest Colony In The World
This fascinating fact about Puerto Rico stems from a long line of the territory’s Spanish-American history. It is the world’s oldest colony.
Though it is said that Columbus discovered Puerto Rico, the Tainos lived there long before that. 400 years before America took over Puerto Rico, it was subject to Spain.
In the Spanish-American war, the island was a post for the US army and gradually, the invasion of the island became Spain’s reality.
In 1898, Spain relinquished the Island to the U.S. under the Treaty of Paris. However, Puerto Rico was never made a state. Currently, the island is self-governed but submits to the U.S. federal government.
Statehood Of Puerto Rico
Perhaps the most complicated fact about Puerto Rico is that it is not a U.S. state or sovereign state. It comes under the umbrella of ‘unincorporated territories of the U.S.’.
In simple and scanty terms, this implies that Puerto Ricans are only allowed to vote to an extent. Puerto Rico does not partake in the U.S. Presidential General Elections.
However, on 15 December 2022, Puerto Rico was given three options; statehood, independence, or continuity in the present territorial status. In previous times, Puerto Ricans have voted for statehood over independence, leaving out continuity as an option to go ahead with.
Would the 51st state of the U.S. be the next fate and fact of Puerto Rico?
Dual citizenship is recognized between the U.S. and Puerto Rico. That’s a cool fact about Puerto Rico that many other countries would envy.
Although they are two different countries, people born in either county can claim citizenship in both countries. International bodies, though, recognize Puerto Rico as a country. Therefore, it has its distinct team at the Olympics and international tournaments.
However, Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the U.S., so it does not have its citizenship and passport. Anyone born in either country can easily travel across both countries and doesn’t have to worry about the authorities and immigration.
Useful Facts About Puerto Rico For Tourists
Is Puerto Rico An Island Or An Archipelago?
The most mistaken fact about Puerto Rico is that it is an island. Puerto Rico is not one island. It is made up of 143 small islands, cays and islets. San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and its most populated city.
Puerto Rico is number 82 on the list of the world’s largest islands and number 3 on the same list for the U.S. In figure facts, Puerto Rico answers to a total area of 9,104 sq km, where its water area is 145 sq km.
A fascinating fact about Puerto Rico is the island’s composition. Mountains take up a dominant amount of space on the islands. In addition to that, there are coastal lowlands (valleys) and karst grounds.
Puerto Rico’s Rainforest
Puerto Rico is home to the U.S. National Forest System’s only tropical rainforest. El Yunque spans about 29,000 acres and measures between 100-250 inches of water per year. This Puerto Rico fact is exciting for locals as well as tourists.
It survived Hurricane Maria though with massive damages but recovery has been underway since then. For an adventurer, it is the place to visit as wildlife make their nests there beyond human civilization.
The ‘Puerto’ – Port
Functioning as gateways to this beautiful country, tourists and citizens of Puerto Rico alike use the ports all year long. ‘Puerto’ actually translates to Port in English.
That said, the first fact about Puerto Rico that a visitor may observe is that the Puerto Rican ports are bustling with activity. It remains that way all year, making it one of the world’s busiest cruise ports.
Puerto Rico Trench
The deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean lies 160 km northwest of Puerto Rico and is aptly called the Puerto Rico Trench. It is a flat depression that stretches over a surface area of 1750 x 100 km. The deepest point in the Trench is known as the Milwaukee Depth and goes further than 8300 km.
Puerto Rico is known for its beautiful beaches. In particular, San Juan attracts tourists from around the world for this reason. The famous Flamenco beach has white sand and turquoise waters, making it a paradise for beach lovers.
The shorelines and crystal clear water of beaches in Northern Puerto Rico provide the perfect landscape for artists and photographers. Over 290 miles separate land from the water, giving everyone enough ground for their use.
Historical Forts Of Puerto Rico
Which have you heard of? El Morro Fort or Castillo de San Cristobal? The former was built to rebut sea attacks and the latter was built to fend off attacks from the landward side. The latter is larger than the former but El Morro Fort is more famous.
Did you know, Castillo de San Cristobal took nothing less than 140 years to build? Dating all the way back to the mid-15th century, El Morro is sure to give you a time traveler’s taste of the years.
If you’d enjoy a long walk, Castillo de San Cristobal promises an adventurous interior. For some great photo opportunities, a nighttime visit to El Morro will mesmerize you.
Puerto Rico Climate – Best Time To Visit
If you are trying to settle on a good time to visit Puerto Rico, consider the period between December to May. This is because there is less risk of hurricanes and rain.
In terms of temperature, every day is summer in Puerto Rico. Generally, the climate ranges between humid, warm, and sunny. Hardly does it ever change. January is usually referred to as its coolest month.
In addition, Puerto Rico does not use Daylight Saving, unlike other places in the U.S.
Cultural Facts About Puerto Rico
The Puerto Rican People
One obvious fact about Puerto Rico culture you will quickly realize on your trip is that the people are very friendly and hospitable.
A Puerto Rican you only just met is likely to speak to you in informal Spanish, offer hugs and kisses to you and make you feel at home very easily. It is a lifestyle to them so do not be taken aback.
The Puerto Rican people are not just one race but mixed. In the Puerto Rican culture and crowd, you will find Spanish, Taino, American and African races.
Puerto Ricans are very beautiful people in and out. A proud fact of Puerto Rico to note is that they have won the Miss Universe Title five times.
Cocina Criolla – Food In Puerto Rico
Just like their culture, Puerto Rican food is a blend of many indigenous tastes. The influence of the Spanish, Africans, Taino, and Latin Americans on food is what makes Puerto Rico’s kitchen stand out.
Cocina Criolla is sometimes used to refer to traditional Puerto Rican cooking.
That said, the main dishes aren’t the only highlight when it comes to local cuisine. You will also find a rather diverse range of Puerto Rican cookies, cakes and desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Christmas In Puerto Rico
December to April is usually the season of festivals in Puerto Rico. Christmas starts right after Thanksgiving for Puerto Ricans and goes on even after early January.
In fact, some years have seen Puerto Ricans in Christmas cheers as early as end October. No other place in the world celebrates a long Christmas as they do. A greatly anticipated festival of the season is Three Kings Day.
Fiesta de la Calle San Sebastian unofficially closes off Christmas for Puerto Ricans.
The week before Ash Wednesday, Puerto Ricans celebrate Ponce Carnival in the West Hemisphere. This is a tradition that began in the mid-1800s.
You will find Puerto Ricans partying all week in crazy costumes and dancing salsa. Loud music and excitement pour out of the liveliness of hearts into the celebration. It is an awe-inspiring display of creativity in culture.
Religion Is A Big Part Of The Culture
A fact about Puerto Rico culture to know is that 4 out of 5 Puerto Ricans are Roman Catholics. All 4 may not be so religious but they have a belief. From the beginning of recent times, Christianity dominated a major part of Puerto Rico. The people place a strong emphasis on religion, just as they do culture.
Fun Fact About Puerto Rico For Kids
Pirates Are Real In Puerto Rico
A fun fact about Puerto Rico among young and old is Puerto Rico’s own pirate; El Pirata Cofresi. Once upon a time, Puerto Rico kept priceless galleons safe from pirates. El Cofresi was a sailor who became a pirate. He chose to use his knowledge of geography for his new work.
Nations after nation hunted him down but El Cofresi wasn’t captured until later. He was detained at San Juan. Now, he is celebrated because of his militance against Spain.
Puerto Rican Flag
Here is a fun fact about Puerto Rico for kids; no one knows who originated the first Puerto Rican flag. However, it can be narrowed down to two men; Franciso Gonzalo Marin and Antonio Velez Alvarado.
That said, the Puerto Ricans have seen their flag born and evolve with time.
In the old design which the present-day flag was adapted from, the red stripes represented the blood of patriots who fought during the revolution, the celestial blue represented the island, the blue for sea and sky, and the white for post-independence victory and peace.
Now, the red stripes stand for the blood nourishing the three government branches as represented by the navy blue triangle. The white stripes stand for the rights and liberty of the citizens. Finally, Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status is represented by the one star.
An interesting cultural fact about Puerto Rico is that they celebrate their national flag day on 22 December.
Other Interesting Facts About Puerto Rico
Sound familiar right? Though Bacardi is originally from Cuba, it is not news that Puerto Rico owns the largest rum distillery in the world. It also produces the majority percentage of rum in the U.S.
Puerto Rico Islands
Here are some quick and interesting facts about the Puerto Rican islands.
Some streets of Puerto Rico are still paved with cobblestones. Old San Juan still has its original one in some places. In addition, there are many beautiful rocks to be collected on the coasts of Puerto Rico, and even a black sand beach in Vieques.
Mainland Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques are the only islands inhabited by humans long term. Other islands are habitats for wildlife and vacation spots for tourists.
There is a forbidden island called Desecheo. The island is a no-go area because it still contains explosives from its use as a training ground for US armed forces.
Puerto Rico’s Disasters
Although many know that Puerto Rico has survived the brunt force of many disasters, it can be hard to understand the gravity of it without being there.
A survey of non-Americans would show that most people imagine Puerto Rico as roses and beauty. While that is true, it is not the case everywhere.
Puerto Rico’s environment holds telltales of World War 2. Not only that but Hurricane Maria also had a devastating effect on the island. Every year between June and November yearly, Puerto Rico suffers from the risk of hurricane.
The country is still undergoing its healing process from some of the past conflicts and disasters.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a beautiful country full of culture and history. Its rich past provides great insight into the island’s current state, while its impressive natural features are a feast for the eye.
With so many interesting facts about Puerto Rico to discover, it’s no wonder why people are drawn to this vibrant nation. Whether you’re interested in learning more about El Pirata Cofresi or exploring some of the islands’ hidden gems, there is something new around every corner.
Plan a trip to experience the country’s hospitality firsthand and uncover even more fun facts about Puerto Rico.