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  • Facts Photo 1Mona and Monito Islands are located between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. These small islands are considered the Galápagos Islands of the Caribbean Sea. No other reef and offshore island habitat within U.S. jurisdiction possesses such ecological uniqueness, invaluable habitat, and biological diversity within such a reduced surface area. For these reasons, Mona and Monito Islands have been recognized by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as a Natural Reserve. The islands are a critical habitat of endangered marine turtles, sea birds and occasional migratory marine mammals.
  • Facts Photo 2Puerto Rico has developed a unique version of Spanish. The language was greatly influenced by Puerto Rico’s history. Puerto Ricans integrated thousands of Taíno words, adopted some pronunciation habits from African dialects, and incorporated English words or phrases (known as "Spanglish") into the language.
  • Since Puerto Rico is self governing due to it's Commonwealth status, there are no federal taxes or import duties paid on commodities like gasoline  or rum.
  • El Yunque in Puerto Rico is the only tropical rainforest in the US Parks System
  • Facts Photo 4An interesting fact is that most of the beers sold vary from 7 to 10 ounce bottles or cans.  Puerto Ricans prefer their beers extremly cold so the portions are small in order to be consumed before the beer has time to warm up.   Most stores stock a locally-produced beer called Medalla Light. Other beer options for the discriminating drinker include Presidente, a light pilsner beer from nearby Dominican Republic (note: it's a different brew from the Dominican version), and Beck's. The Beck's imported to Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean is a different brew from the one that makes it to the US, and is considered by many to be better.
  • Back in the day before the Caribbean islands were discovered, men sailed the seas in great discomfort. When they slept, they did so on the floors of their ships. Beds and hammocks were not known then.   Here they are, bodies aching and sore, only to see the Taino Indians, relaxed, in a netting bed floating above the ground. Have you ever thrown yourself in a Hammock? If you have, congratulations! You have partaken of a Taino innovation.
  • Facts Photo 5Puerto Rico was taken by the U.S. as spoils of war following the defeat of Spain in the Spanish-American war of 1898 (The war that made Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders famous, and the war that has the distinction of being the only American war in which more casualties were suffered because of disease than battle)
  • With 3.95 million residents in 3,500 square miles, Puerto Rico has a higher average population density than any U.S. state, and higher than almost any country in the world - more than 1,100 people per square mile. And with 60% of the island covered with mountains, Puerto Rico has all of the joys of urban sprawl available in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia or Boston.
  • Facts Photo 6The Christmas season in Puerto Rico lasts from Thanksgiving Day until "Las Octavitas," eight days after Epiphany, or January 14. Children get presents both on Christmas Day and on Epiphany, the celebration of the Three Wise Men's arrival at Christ's bedside on January 6; on January 5, the night before Epiphany, children leave grass under their beds for the Three Kings' camels.
  • Facts Photo 7Apart from the literary luminaries of the Nuyorican poets cafe, Jesus Colon and Miguel Pinero among them, Puerto Rico is the birthplace of golfer ChiChi Rodriguez, baseball Hall of Fame member Roberto Clemente, actor Raul Julia, musicians Jose Feliciano and Tito Puente, and quadruple threat Rita Moreno, the first woman to win an Oscar (for "West Side Story,) a Grammy, an Emmy, and a Tony award.
  • The oldest man in the world, 113-year-old Emiliano Mercado del Toro, is a resident of San Juan. He took the title in January of 2005, and before May 29 of 2004, the world's oldest living person was 114-year-old Ramona Trinidad Iglesias Jordan. She lived in Puerto Rico as well.
  • Facts Photo 8Puerto Rico hosts every major pharmaceutical company and produces about half the prescription drugs sold in the United States.
  • In Puerto Rico, the first studies of the Puerto Rican Parrot and Puerto Rican Plain Pigeon, both Endangered Species, were sponsored with hunter-supported funds.
  • Facts Photo 9The Bermuda Triangle is bounded roughly by Florida, Bermuda and Puerto Rico.
  • San Juan is the oldest city in US territory, founded in 1521 by Ponce de Leon.
  • By law, everyone is welcome on Puerto Rico's playas (beaches).
  • Puerto Rico is in the Atlantic Time Zone, but does not observe Daylight Savings Time.
  • Puerto Rico’s drinking age is 18. Drinking culture in Puerto Rico is more relaxed and not as strict as the U.S.
  • Facts Photo 10Puerto Rico is famous for its coffee.  The secret is in the coffee bean itself (called "cherry"). The island's dominant bean is the arabica; it has a more delicate and lower-yielding cherry and produces half the caffeine of the prolific robusta bean found on the mega-plantations of Central and South America. The arabica cherry, in the proper conditions, is known as the richest and most flavorful among the coffee varieties. Cloud cover, tree shade, soil composition, and the altitude at which the coffee bushes are grown -- higher than 3,000 feet above sea level -- combine to produce a slow-ripening bean that stays on the bush at least two months longer than at lower elevations. This lengthy ripening process acts as a sort of "pre-brew," imbuing the bean with a rich flavor and a slightly sweet aftertaste. Throughout Puerto Rico look for local brands: Yauco Selecto, Rioja, Yaucono, Cafe Rico, Crema, Adjuntas, Coqui, and Alto Grande Super Premium.
  • Facts Photo 11The design of the Puerto Rican flag is not based on the USA flag. The flag was completed in New York City at Chimney Corner Hall in Manhattan on December 22, 1895. Dr. Julio J. Henna led a group of 59 Puerto Ricans who organized the Puerto Rican section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party. As part of their activities, a flag was created to rally support for independence from Spain. The first known incarnation of the symbol  was made by Manuela `Mima' Besosa, the Puerto Rican Betsy Ross. The motion to adopt the flag was approved unanimously by the Puerto Rican revolutionaries. They used the Cuban flag as the model for the Puerto Rican flag. Basically they are they same flag with inverted colors. The Cuban flag has blue stripes and a red triangle; the Puerto Rican flag is just the opposite.
  • Facts Photo 12Rum is the national drink, and you can buy it in almost any shade. Puerto Rico is the world's leading rum producer; 80% of the rum consumed in the United States hails from the island.
  • Facts Photo 13As the site of the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, the Arecibo Observatory is recognized as one of the most important national centers for research in radio astronomy, planetary radar and terrestrial aeronomy. Use of the Arecibo Observatory is available on an equal, competitive basis to all scientists from throughout the world. Observing time is granted on the basis of the most promising research as ascertained by a panel of independent referees who review the proposals sent to the Observatory by interested scientists. Every year about 200 scientists visit the Observatory facilities to pursue their research project
  • Facts Photo 14El Morro, officially known as Fuerte San Felipe de Morro, has stood guard over San Juan Bay for more than four centuries and is one of the largest forts built by the Spaniards in the Caribbean.
  • Facts Photo 15Gothic churches are rare in the New World, but Puerto Rico has two: Porta Coeli, built in 1606 in San German, and San Jose, built in the 1530's in Old San Juan.
  • The first shot fired by the United States in World War I was in Puerto Rico and not in Europe. It was fired by Lt. Teofilo Marxuach when an armed German supply ship tried to force it's way out of the bay.
  • Facts Photo 15Puerto Rico boasts more championship golf courses than any other Caribbean destination
  • Puerto Rico is the 3rd highest country of the world with regards to physicians in proportion to its population.
  • It is estimated that there is more Nickel in the mountains of Puerto Rico than in all of the U.S. combined.
  • Facts Photo 16Wood from the native tree “El Guayacan” is so strong that it suffers less wear than steel.
  • The only native mammal in Puerto Rico is the bat.
  • By square foot, Plaza Las Americas is the most rentable and has the highest sales of malls in the Americas.
  • Puerto Rican dancers choreographed John Travolta’s moves in Saturday Night Fever.
  • Facts Photo 18Puerto Rico has 4 of 7 bioluminescent bays in the world.
  • We can thank the original Taino inhabitants for words like hurricane (Huracán) and barbecue (Barbacoa).
  • Many movies have been set and filmed in Puerto Rico including: Amistad (filmed in San Juan), Assassins (filmed in San Juan),  Bad Boys II (set in Cuba but filmed in Puerto Rico), Captain Ron, Contact (radar scene filmed in Arecibo), Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) (Says was filmed in Cuba but was filmed in Puerto Rico),  The Godfather, Part II was shot here (the Cuban scenes), GoldenEye (radar scene filmed in Arecibo), Jacob's Ladder (An Adrian Lyne Film) , Lord of the Flies (filmed in Vieques), The Punisher, and Under Suspicion
  • Facts Photo 19The world’s 3rd largest underground river is in Camuy, Puerto Rico
  • Puerto Rican John Ruiz becomes the first hispanic in history to be boxing's world Heavyweight champion.
  • Puerto Rico currently has its own Olympic team and participates in the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics, as well as international representation in many other sporting events including the Pan-American Games, the Central American Games, and the Caribbean World Series. Further, it has its own representatives in beauty pageants including Miss World and Miss Universe.
  • The 3rd oldest theatre in the Americas is “El Teatro Tapia” in Old San Juan

Copyright ©2006 Travel Services Inc.  Authored by Meghann Hawes

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