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Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is like so many other countries in the Caribbean, a hybrid of foreign influences. Here it is particularly the Spanish and American culture. Magnificent palaces colonial portions curb with glittering shopping malls, and listening as often as American Spanish vocabulary - but perhaps even more frequently bastard language "spanglish". Life under water appears to mimic people mix on land. Numerous species of fish, each one more colorful than the other, live peace and harmony side by side between the corals.

Puerto Rico is the easternmost and smallest of the Greater Antilles and consists of the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands and islets. Puerto Rico is known as a free state under the United States, but with its own government with a governor in the lead. The Puerto Rican residents have U.S. citizenship but does not influence the choice of the President or other political decisions in the United States. The landscape of Puerto Rico is characterized by a mountain range that runs across the island from east to west and peaks of Cerro de Punta at 1338 meters. Several small rivers flowing down from the inactive volcanoes and provides fertile soil for the fields of sugar cane, coffee and tobacco before they drip on the sandy beaches that characterize the coast almost all the way around the island.

Puerto Rico's nearly four million people are of African, European and Native American descent. These different ancestors are still mixed as thoroughly together that one can not talk about different ethnic groups, but rather on one unified Puerto Rican people. Puerto Rico's native Indians, who had lived on the island for centuries, had for the first time joined by Europeans in 1493, when Columbus came by on his second voyage. The foundation stone of the capital, San Juan was laid in 1508, and the city can today call themselves America's oldest city. The Indians were gradually replaced by Spaniards and African slaves, in line with the island's rain forests had put to death for the benefit of fields and plantations. The Spanish colonists did not only up long rows of sugar cane, they also built strong fortifications. Puerto Rico's strategic location made it interesting for both French, Dutch and British invaders, but it remained Spanish. One of the most impregnable fortresses, La Fortaleza in San Juan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can still be seen and is certainly worth a visit. Puerto Rico's invincibility still only lasted until 1898, when the island passed from Spanish to American hands after 3.5 months fighting in the Spanish-American War. In the first decades as an American colony was Puerto Rico rather strictly governed from the mainland, but in 1952 the island full autonomy and continued association with the United States. Since then, there has been disagreement in the population whether one wanted to be admitted as a U.S. state, the full independence or whether the same status now.

Most people traveling to Puerto Rico begins in the capital, San Juan, and it is with good reason. The city is packed with kolonistilshus in bright colors and balconies always seem to compete to have the most flowers. The atmosphere in the old town with its narrow, cobbled streets and Spanish architecture is quite unique and very Spanish feel. Meanwhile, San Juan is a modern city with lots of purchasing and entertainment opportunities. Among the exciting attractions include the cathedral, Catedral de San Juan, with conquistador Juan Ponce de León's grave, his house, Casa Blanca, the vast fort, situated dramatically on a promontory, and the Bacardi Distillery, where you can follow the production of the famous Bacardi rum. A holiday in Puerto Rico does not just revolve around cities and colonial history. One of Puerto Rico's absolute nature-related highlights include El Yunque National Park. The park is the only rainforest in the U.S. and contains three-quarters of all rainforest in Puerto Rico. Some of the trees in the park are over a thousand years old, and between them live several unique animal species not found elsewhere in the world. One of these is the small coqui frog, which can be recognized from a distance because of the high croak sounds. Also the lovely green Puerto Rican Amazon, one of the world's rarest birds, can be seen in the El Yunque - if you're lucky enough to spot one of the 30 remaining sets. Puerto Rico's original population, taino Indians, believed that this area was lykkegudens home. One is inclined to give them right after having walked through the national park's labyrinthine network of trails and taking a swim under waterfalls that spread the life-giving water droplets of orchids on the cliff sides. Another sticking point for any trip to Puerto Rico is the fine white sand beaches in the shade and the gentle Caribbean waves, which attracts both bathers, divers and other water sports enthusiasts themselves.
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