By. Carlos I. Perez Cisneros
The economic crisis is making the nice stay at a hotel, the family vacation to Disney, or the visit to relatives out of the island these vacations seem kind of distant.
The three most traveled time of the year are spring break, summer, and Christmas. These are the days that families pack up and go stay at a hotel or visit a theme park. Basically, it’s the moment where a person has to reach deep into their pockets and take out a nice sum of money to go have a “nice” vacation. “Plane tickets alone start at a minimum of 400 dollars during these seasons…if you’re lucky” stated Marcos Travel. 400 dollars per person in a family of four is more than a thousand dollars and that’s not including hotel, park visits, food, and any other costs that come with traveling.
In a time where the economy has hurt the majority of the working middle class and lower class families, that kind of money just isn’t easy to come by. Families who would leave Puerto Rico every Christmas and spend it with relatives in the states can’t because they are in such a tight budget. “We used to go every Christmas holidays to New York, but this year it just isn’t possible” commented Luis Perez.
One big problem with families is that they believe the only way to enjoy their vacation is to spend money on expensive five star hotels and plane tickets.
The definition of vacation according to princeton.edu is leisure time away from work devoted to rest or pleasure. Rest and pleasure can be done from the convenience of one’s own home. Families can do many activities to spend time together and not have to spend thousands of dollars while doing them. This year many families are opting out of flying and staying in hotels but, they don’t have a clue of how to spend their vacation.
If you believe that there is nothing to do in Puerto Rico then you truly don’t know the island at all. Puerto Rico is small but, it has a lot to offer. A week is not even enough to be able to see everything there is.
Families during these holidays could easily plan a week full of fun and diverse activities. One day you could plan to have a nice family outing on one of the many beautiful beaches that Puerto Rico has to offer. There are over 300 miles of beach. You could go to Crash Boat in Aguadilla, Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo, or Seven Seas in Fajardo. On the way to go to the beach, you could also sight see around the island.
There are many places to visit and monuments to see on the island. The family could visit Fort San Felipe, also known as El Morro, in San Juan, a fort built in 1539 by the Spaniards to protect the city. San Cristobal is also another fort located close to El Morro.
You could also take your love ones to Arecibo and visit the largest radio telescope in the world. Arecibo Observatory is over 12 football fields long, all inside a giant sinkhole. Another great place to visit that is close by Arecibo is the Camuy River Park Cave. This cave system is the only one with a tropical underground river going through it.
If you’re more of an outdoors type family then the perfect place to go to is El Yunque. This is the only Rainforest that in the U.S. National Forest System. You could take your family on a hike inside the rainforest admiring its many beauties including its enormous trees and the many different type of coqui. While walking through El Yunque you could get to a pond with a waterfall and take a nice splash inside the cool crisp water.
La Parguera is another amazing spot to visit. It is a bioluminescent bay which lights up every night in different colors. Hearing about it is nice, but seeing it is much more amazing.
Puerto Rico also has two beautiful islands that have nice sightseeing spots and splendid beaches. Culebra’s Flamenco beach is one of the top ten beaches in the world.
If your little kids love animals, a perfect place for a family outing is at the the Mayaguez Zoo. At the zoo there are over 300 different species of birds, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians. There are tigers, elephants, eagles, giraffes, zebras, and many other animals.
If you don’t have enough money to stay at hotels or visit theme parks and even if you do have the money consider exploring Puerto Rico. You’d be surprised about how much fun it could be and what you could learn along the way.