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Puerto Rico Travel Guide

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Full country name: Republic of Puerto Rico
Area: 13,790 sq km
Population: 3,967 million (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: San Juan
Language: Spanish, English
Religion: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%
Government: Commonwealth
Time Zone: UTC-4
Dialing Code: 1787
Electricity: 120V 60 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
US Dollar (USD)
Average Yearly Salary: USD 17,100

Budget: USD3-10
Mid-range: USD10-30
High: USD30+
Budget: USD5-13
Mid-range: USD20-50
High: USD50+

Geography: Puerto Rico is located in the Greater Antilles, in the Caribbean Sea, and is an unincorporated territory of the United States. The country is an archipelago, with the main island being Puerto Rico and including a number of smaller islands. Puerto Rico has a mountainous landscape with large coastal areas in the north and south. The country has 17 lakes, and more than 50 rivers, most of them being in the Cordillera Central. The archipelago is composed of volcanic and plutonic rocks, the oldest of them being about 190 million years old.

Climate: The climate of Puerto Rico is tropical marine, with warm and sunny days throughout the year. The average yearly temperature is 26 C (80 f). The temperature in the southern region is, usually, a few degrees higher than in the northern region. The hurricane season begins in June and lasts till November.

Recommended clothing: Because Puerto Rico has a tropical climate, lightweight clothes are recommended throughout the year. Dress is generally casual and informal.

Health: Health services in Puerto Rico are of a good quality, but costly, therefore travel health insurance is strongly recommended.

Food & Drink: The cuisine of Puerto Rico is influenced by the cooking traditions of Europe, especially Spain, Africa and the Amerindian Taínos. The dishes of Puerto Rico are characterized as being well seasoned with various flavorful spices combinations. The base of many Puerto Rican dishes is sofrito. A proper sofrito is made of freshly ground garlic, onions, tomatoes, recao/culantro, red peppers, cilantro, cachucha and cubanelle peppers. Sofrito is traditionally cooked with annatto oil or olive oil, tocino (bacon), salted pork and cured ham. A mix of differently stuffed olives and capers (called alcaparrado) are usually added, with spices, such as: bay leaf, cumin, sazón and adobo. Some of the most popular traditional Puerto Rican dishes include: Albondigón (meat loaf), Alcapurrias (a mixture of yautía and may contain plantains, ground squash, green banana and other starchy tropical tubers, filled with ground meat or seafood and deep fried in oil), Almojábanas (cheese-flavored rice fritters), Arañitas (a combination of fried shredded plantain, seasoned with salt, garlic and spices), Arepas / Domplines (fried rounds of flour-based dough), and Arroz con habichuelas (literally "rice and beans"). Since the island does not produce wine, it is normal to order a cold beer before even looking at the menu. The most popular brand of Puerto Rican bear is Medalla. Rum is the national drink of Puerto Rico, and you can buy it anywhere in the island.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 6 Epiphany
Jan 14 Birthday of Eugenio Mar?a de Hostos
Jan 18 Martin Luther King Day
Feb 15 President's Day
Mar 22 Emancipation of the Slaves
Varies between Mar 22 & Apr 25 Good Friday
Apr 21 Jos de Diego Day
May 24 Memorial Day
Jul 4 US Independence Day
Jul 25 Constitution Day
Oct 11 Columbus Day/Veterans' Day
Nov 19 Discovery of Puerto Rico Day
Nov 25 Thanksgiving Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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