How to take it ‘despacito’ in Puerto Rico


Castillo San Felipe del Morro. Image: dennisvdw/ via AFP Relaxnews

Thanks to this summer’s anthem song “Despacito” and its crooner Luis Fonsi, the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has emerged out of relative obscurity and into the travel spotlight.

After smashing records earlier this month to become the most viewed YouTube video of all time with more than 3 billion hits, Fonsi became the unofficial ambassador for the island, a title that was made official when the tourism board named him their global ambassador last week.

In a new promotional video, the chart-topping song, which means “slow,” is used as the soundtrack for scenes of pristine beach, tourists ziplining at surprising speeds above the forest floor, and bioluminescent bays glowing blue in the dark.

The tag line? “This summer, take it despacito in Puerto Rico. The longer you stay, the better it gets.”

Here’s a snapshot of all that Puerto Rico, described as one of the most under-appreciated destinations in the Caribbean, has to offer:

Cueva Ventana in Puerto Rico. Image: dennisvdw/ via AFP Relaxnews

Real-life Avatar
Remember the glow-in-the-dark bioluminescent plants that made the planet of Pandora in “Avatar” seem so magical? It’s not a figment of James Cameron’s imagination, as bioluminescent flora exists in Puerto Rico. At three of the island’s bio bays, visitors can kayak or boat out into the water, and behold one of nature’s most extraordinary phenomena. Under the cloak of darkness, the single-cell organisms called dinoflagellates release energy in the form of light when they’re agitated. The result is an otherworldly, neon green aura that illuminates the night. Mosquito Bay, in the island of Vieques, holds the Guinness World Record for being the brightest bioluminescent bay on the planet, with more than 700,000 organisms per gallon of water.

For thrill-seekers
For a completely different perspective of the island, adrenaline junkies can fly over the green valleys and forest canopies on ziplines like The Monster, which holds the Guinness World Record as the longest zip wire with its single, unbroken span of 2,205 meters (7,234 feet). The island’s natural wonders also make it a natural playground for activities like cave exploration (spelunking), climbing, kayaking and hiking.

Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico. Image: dennisvdw/ via AFP Relaxnews

While the island itself may be small, Puerto Rico boasts more than 270 miles (435 km) of coastline. With its shallow, turquoise waters, white sand and diving sites, Playa Flamenco is known as the most beautiful beach in Puerto Rico and one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean, having landed sixth spot on TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards for world’s best beaches in 2016. Conde Nast Traveler also gave Blue Beach, or Playa La Chiva, the seventh spot on their list of top 20 beaches in the world 2017, for its “long, thin stretch of perfect sand and clear water in a thousand shades of blue.”

Nature lovers
Puerto Rico boasts six different ecosystems, from dry forests to rainforests, coastal plains, caves, caverns, wetlands, mangrove forests, salt plains and coral reefs. For a guilt-free, environmentally-friendly vacation, tourists have no shortage of green hotel options, including the Casa Sol bed and breakfast in San Juan, a colonial-style 18th century building restored using salvaged materials, rescued furniture, and local artwork. The B&B also practices waste reduction, recycling, water and energy conversation and supports local farmers. JB


WATCH: Pinoy comedian’s ‘Despacito’ parody racks up 4M views

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