Known as "El DÍamante Del Norte" (the
North Diamond), Arecibo was one of Spain's first
colonies on Puerto Rico, and remains one of the island's
largest cities. With over 500 years of colonial
history and a handful of Puerto Rico's most popular
attractions, including the Arecibo Observatory, this town
is quickly leaving its mark on the Puerto Rican tourist
industry. Geographically, Arecibo is even bigger
than San Juan, thus it combines
the conveniences of an urban setting with natural beauty,
including some of the best caves in the Caribbean.
The best of the caves nearby Arecibo Puerto Rico is the Cave of the Indian. The name derives from the prehistoric cave drawings found on the walls. If you are interested in branching out a little further, take a drive southwest from the city - there you'll find a gigantic 268 acre park called Rio Camuy. There are miles of underground caverns carved by the Camuy River, the third largest cave system in the entire world. From the park's entrance, trails lead 200 feet down towards the immense caves, which are home to a variety of amazing wildlife, including a species of fish that is completely blind is unique to the area. The highlight of this park near Arecibo Puerto Rico is Cueva Clara, a 700 foot long cave that is home to a hidden world unlike any other. Even though the caves of Rio Camuy stretch for miles, there are few parts that could be considered arduous, making it a perfect tourist attraction for spelunkers both new and old.
Arecibo Puerto Rico is also well known for its observatory.
Located just 10 miles south of city limits, the Arecibo
Observatory is home to the largest single-unit radio telescope
in the world. Prominently featured in the James
Bond movie "Goldeneye," the observatory is
only open a few hours per day to the public due to the
large amount of scientific research that occurs on the
premises. But for astronomy buffs that want to see
something rivaling Hawaii's Mauna
Kea observatory, there's few places better than
here. Open Wednesday- Friday from noon until 4 pm,
it's usually better to hit the Arecibo Observatory
on weekends, when it's opens at 9 am sharp.
For something closer to the city, there's the
Cambalache Forest Reserve, which is home to a great collection
of botanical wonders. You'll be thrust into
a world populated by eucalyptus and mahoe trees, along
with hundreds of other tropical species of plants.
All in all, the reserve is another of Arecibo Puerto Rico's
great tourist attractions.
Colonial architecture is everywhere throughout these former Spanish lands. Good enough to warrant a trip across the city, the Arecibo Lighthouse was built in 1898 and is still in use to this day.
Between the caves, the observatory, and the bustling
cafes and storefronts, Arecibo is perfect for an island
getaway. Whether you want to use your time getting
back to nature, or just heading to the beach a few minutes
away, this Puerto Rican city is sure to be a great place
to spend your vacation.