Puerto Rico is an island of incredibly rich cultural history, lush beaches, tropical forests and a lively local population. While people from all walks of life and corners of the world visit every year (around 3.5 million to be exact), there’s a lot that people may not know about this magical island. Read on for 5 fun facts about Puerto Rico you need to know!
While the Galapagos Islands may get much of the fame, Puerto Rico proudly boasts its own version of this particular breed of unspoiled terrain. You can find Mona Island just off Puerto Rico’s western shore, where you’ll find both natural habitats and beauty much like the Galapagos. Native to the island and nowhere else in the entire world are a special species of iguana called Mona Iguana. In an effort to protect the island and its ecosystem, however, tourists are unfortunately not allowed to visit.
Largest Rum Distillery in the World
Bacardí Rum is a global icon in more ways than one. Beyond it’s world-famous quality and flavor, Bacardí’s very own distillery, located just outside San Juan in Cataño, happens to be the largest rum distillery in the entire world! In fact, Casa Bacardí is so large that it alone produces 70% of the rum sold stateside. For architecture enthusiasts, the distillery itself is housed in one of the most impressive Art Deco buildings in the entire Caribbean.
Come across what you thought was a frog? Chances are you stumbled across a coqui, the small native frog of the island (and Puerto Rico’s national symbol!). Coquis cannot live outside the island, and are known for their incredibly loud mating call. If you hear some noise while trying to get some sleep at night, rest easy, as it’s most likely a coqui!
Coconuts Are Not Native to the Island
While the Piña Colada may have been invented at the Caribe Hilton in 1963, the same can’t be said for the coconut inside it. Here’s the truth: coconuts are not native to the island. In fact, they were introduced to the island upon the arrival of the Europeans, who themselves imported the coconuts from East Asia!
If you love the outdoors but are fearful of some of its creatures, then you’re in luck. Puerto Rico is the only place in the world with a tropical rainforest which doesn’t have snakes (or bears!). That said, El Yunque, Puerto Rico’s national forest, makes the perfect place for hikes and getting in touch with nature.