Puerto Rico is a known tourist destination to many people around the world, also known as- ‘La Isla del Encanto’ (The island of enchantment) because of its pristine beaches, its tropical rainforest, etc,.
The island offers so much more, here are 9 interesting things about Puerto Rico, which you may not know.
1. Puerto Rico Has the Tallest Statue in the Americas
Measuring 360 feet tall, named “Birth of the New World”, it holds the record for the tallest statue and sculpture in the Americas since it was completed in 2016.
It’s twice as tall as New York’s the Statue of Liberty, which measures 151feet in height.
The controversial “Birth of the New World” statue, which has the image of Christopher Columbus and his ships, was originally designed to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the new world. The statue is located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
2. The popular cocktail, Piña Colada was Invented in San Juan
The “official” piña colada that many are fond of today was invented in 1954 by Ramón “Monchito” Marrero while working as a bartender at the Caribe Hilton. He said his recipe captured the true nature and essence of Puerto Rico.
There was a dispute, as the famous Barrachina restaurant in Old San Juan also claimed that their bartender, Don Ramon Portas Mingot, invented the Piña Colada in 1963.
To try to settle the dispute, the governor of Puerto Rico recognized the hotel’s claim in 2004 to commemorate the drink’s 50th anniversary. Till this day both sides continue to claim bragging rights for the invention.
3. The Island was Home to a Now-extinct Mute Dog
The Alco dog, was a breed of small, barkless dog that lived on the island before the arrival of Columbus.
The Taínos used to hunt conies (guinea pigs) with the help of the Alco’s, according to history, they were the Taínos’ only domesticated animals.
It is said they were excellent companions, and ladies also kept them as lap dogs due to their small size.
4. Puerto Rico has Several Uninhabited Islands and its Own “Galapagos Island”
While often referred to as a single island, Puerto Rico is an archipelago. Its main three islands are Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques, which are the only inhabited islands.
Manny people don’t know this but In addition to the three main islands, there are dozens of beautiful uninhabited islands and cays that are perfect for a gateway from it all trip.
Islands such as; Cayo Icacos, Caja de Muertos, Culebrita, Gilligans Island, Cayo Caracoles, Mata la Gata, and Isla Palomino, among many others, and the islands of Desecheo, Monito, and Mona Island, which are National Wildlife Refuges.
Mona Island is often referred to as the “Galapagos of the Caribbean” thanks to its unspoiled natural beauty and an enormous colony of iguanas, which practically overrun the island.
If you’re interested in visiting Mona Island, know that this is not an easy day trip. It takes two to three days to visit it, so you must camp there, also take note that the only way to visit Mona Island is by getting a permit by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.
5. It Rains Frogs in El Yunque
Puerto Rico’s indigenous Coquí frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui). The Coqui is the beloved unofficial symbol of Puerto Rico.
During high humidity, the tiny Coquí frogs tend to climb to the forest canopy – sometimes as high as 100 feet, while predators, like the tarantula and others lay in wait for the frogs or climb to their spot.
Once the Coquí sees its predator, instead of returning to the ground on the same path, they launch themselves into the air bypassing their predators on the way down and in turn getting to live another day. Coquis are smart.
Since the Coquí is so tiny and almost weightless, they float to the floor unharmed.
The Coquí is about an inch long, and at night it makes a unique, high-pitched song: “ko-kee, ko-kee.” (they literally got their name from their unique sound).
6. The World’s Largest Rum Distillery is in Cataño, Puerto Rico
Casa Bacardi is the largest rum distillery in the world. It produces more than 100,000 liters of rum every 24 hours, contributing nearly 85% of Bacardi’s total rum production. Distilleries in Mexico and India produce the other 15%.
Don Q Rum and Bacardi are the largest producers of rum on the island, and its production goes back circa 400 years.
While Bacardi was established in 1862 in Cuba, it shifted its production to Puerto Rico in 1936, as a strategy in the post-prohibition move that allowed Bacardi to sell its rum tariff-free in the United States.
7. Puerto Ricans are US Citizens
The United States took control of Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Under the Treaty of Paris (1898), Spain ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the US.
Still, it wasn’t until the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917 that Puerto Rico officially became a territory of the United States, granting Puerto Ricans US citizenship.
8. Puerto Rico has the First Nuclear Power Plant in the Caribbean
Located in Rincon, the Boiling Nuclear Superheater (BONUS) Reactor Facility, also known as “Domes,” is the first Nuclear Power Plant in the Caribbean.
It served as a nuclear testing facility from 1960 (when it was built) until 1968, when it was decommissioned. BONUS is considered as the precursor to modern nuclear facilities we still see in use these days.
Today it is the BONUS Technological Museum run by the local power authority. Check online for hours as it appears the museum hour of operation fluctuate a bit.
9. There was a Real Pirate of the Caribbean
The legendary Cofresí Pirate is Puerto Rico’s most famous real-life pirate, legend goes, Cofresí was born in the seaside town of Cabo Rojo, and from a young age, he was encouraged by sailors in town to dream about exploring the sea.
According to folklore, Cofresí would attack boats and share his spoils with the poor, and as a result, people would help him hide from the authorities, like the Puerto Rican version of Robin Hood.
Also, legend says that some of his treasures are still hidden in different parts of the island.