Boasting year-round sunshine and an expansive coastline with nearly 270 miles of stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters, Puerto Rico stands as an archipelago with habitation concentrated on a mere three out of its 143 islands, cays, islets, and atolls. Encompassing a land territory spanning 100 miles in length and 35 miles in width (equivalent to approximately 8,870 square kilometers), the island enclave’s dimensions closely resemble those of Connecticut, a U.S. state. Notably, Puerto Rico is one of the two islands, the other being Guam, where U.S. citizens can venture without the need for a passport.
This enclave, renowned for its historical significance as one of the world’s longest-standing colonies, has maintained such status since 1917, existing as a U.S. territory while retaining its own democratically elected officials. Among its cherished treasures are two of the oldest churches in the Americas. Additionally, the island houses remarkable natural wonders including El Yunque, a tropical rainforest under the purview of the US Forest Service, and Cavernas del Rio Camuy, the largest cave network in the Western hemisphere. Aiming to introduce explorers to the island’s lesser-explored and secluded gems, Discover Puerto Rico has launched a novel travel content series titled “Population: YOU!”
Tailored for intrepid and inquisitive travelers, this series is the brainchild of the island’s non-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), which has meticulously identified eight concealed locales within its sprawling and unparalleled natural landscape. Designed to grant travelers the opportunity to delve into less-frequented outdoor attractions, the “Population: YOU!” initiative features conspicuous signage replete with GPS coordinates. These navigational markers aid travelers keen on immersing themselves in the uncharted territories.
Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, elucidates, “Through ‘Population: YOU,’ we extend an invitation to safely and conscientiously explore the Island’s abundant natural resources. American travelers will promptly discern that Puerto Rico exudes the allure of an exotic destination, all seamlessly accessible without the requirement of a passport.”
Though the nomenclature of these newly disclosed destinations remains under wraps, the informative markers have been erected to beckon explorers. Many of these hidden gems can solely be unveiled on foot or by embarking upon the sea’s embrace. Each destination bears a distinctive sign featuring latitude and longitude coordinates, along with a tantalizing clue, aiding potential explorers in locating these enigmatic markers. Through various digital platforms including Discover Puerto Rico’s website, Facebook, and Instagram pages, followers are furnished with the necessary coordinates to chart their course. A teaser has divulged that these coveted locations encompass a breathtaking waterfall, a forest adorned with immaculate pinecones, an alluring canyon brimming with curiosities, an off-the-beaten-path beach haven, an uninhabited island of pure delight, a chorus of melodious coquís, an intermittently accessible beachside cavern, and a pair of inquisitive seagulls.
Rafael Machargo Maldonado, Secretary of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA), lauds the program, stating, “Our Island truly has so much to offer, and this initiative by Discover Puerto Rico draws attention to the natural marvels that grace every corner of the island.”
Beyond these eight distinctive destinations, Puerto Rico unveils a multitude of natural wonders for travelers to explore, including three of the globe’s five bioluminescent bays and captivating pink salt flats. Situated a mere 980 miles from Florida’s shores, this U.S. territory presents an accessible escape that imparts a sense of distance, where American travelers can venture without the encumbrance of passports, currency exchanges, or new phone plans.