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.

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