Puerto Rico is an amazingly beautiful, ecologically diverse island. There is the rain forest, El Yunque, in the east, mountainous regions in the center of the island, dry forests in the southwest, and beaches along the coast. Most visitors to the island stay in San Juan or other popular beach areas. These areas are beautiful and worth seeing, but there is a whole world to the island that most people never see, what I call “The Real Puerto Rico.” These are the areas of Puerto Rico where you don’t usually find tourists. There are some real hidden gems in these areas that you’ll be happy you took the time to discover.
The last time we were in Puerto Rico, we stayed in Adjuntas which is in the central Midwest of the island. It is a mountainous area and because of this, the temperature is cooler than along the coast. There are nice, cool breezes and with the windows open, air conditioning is often not needed.
In Adjuntas, as with many other places on the island, you can find cool, clear river pools for swimming and beautiful waterfalls if you are willing to explore a bit. A sense of adventure is a necessity because these locations do not have signs. The falls that we went to are called Cascadas Las Garzas (Las Garzas Waterfall). They are multitiered and have several natural swimming pools. The path is steep and can be slippery after rain so be careful and wear walking shoes. There are plenty of large, flat rocks to sit and lounge. The day we went, there were only a few small groups of people and it was very peaceful.
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