The US territory of Puerto Rico is a fascinating place to visit: It’s got folklore, bio-luminescent plankton, great diving spots and a unique cuisine. But whatever initially lures you to the island be sure to charge the battery on your camera. With scenic overlooks through winding mountains roads, rushing waterfalls and beaches in every direction Puerto Rico is one of the most photogenic islands in the Caribbean.
From the Plane
Even before landing in Puerto Rico the island shows its photogenic self. In fact, the entire plane ride from southern Florida to the San Juan airport lends itself nicely to stunning views. So be sure to request a window seat on the right side of the plane keeping in mind that the wing can get in your way of taking unobstructed photographs. From the perfect seat you can get great areal shots of Puerto Rican coastline.
Just north of the city of Fajardo in northeast Puerto Rico lies the beach community of Las Croabas. This isn’t just any beach, however as it is surrounded by mangroves and a short kayak ride will take you to see the bio-luminescent plankton in the bay. It is also home to very delicious authentic mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rico dish. Due to much activity on the water, Las Croabas is the perfect place to get multi-layered pictures, with birds on the beach in the foreground, a small harbor with boats in the middle ground and the ocean and if you’re lucky even the moon in the background, creating the perfect postcard shot!
Located at the very south of the main island just off of Route 10, Ponce Beach looks out over the Caribbean Sea. In addition to its soft sand, the water is a beautiful shade of blue, very clear and sparkles in the sun. Sprinkled along the shore are small mangrove trees making Ponce Beach the perfect place to capture a serene beach scene. It may be hard to actual take pictures here though as you may find yourself compelled to put down the camera and just relax on the beach.
El Yunque Peak
What better place to get panoramic pictures than from the top of a mountain! El Yunque Mountain is located in El Yunque National Park about 50 minutes outside of the capital of San Juan. To reach the peak, park your car at the Palo Colorado Information Center and follow the trail marked Pico El Yunque. About two hours later you will be rewarded with watching fog roll over the mountains draped with lush green rain forest all set to the backdrop of the sea and Vieques Island in the distance.
A short 1 hour drive north of Ponce routes 128 and 129 are appropriately named Ruta Panoramica (Panoramic Route). These two roads will lead you on windy roads through the jungle filled mountains with scenic lookouts at almost every turn. Be sure to add more time to your trip to allow for pulling over and snapping shots of valleys and mountain ranges in every direction.
From the San Juan Fort
The San Juan Fort is strategically placed on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, making it an excellent vantage point for taking photographs of the vast ocean and the coastline. Although I’m sure the architects of this historic fort did not have picture taking in mind, the lookout points once used for military reasons, can easily be re-purposed for photographers.