Friday, May 8, 2009

Fajardo






















Fajardo, on the Atlantic Ocean east coast of Puerto Rico, is the island's scuba diving Mecca. Dozens of boating companies offer charters and diving excursions on a range of craft, most based at the town's Puerto del Rey Marina, the largest marina in the Caribbean. Besides having two beautiful beaches just minutes away from town, there are also several uninhabited small islets just offshore, surrounded by coral reefs, and the neighbouring islands of Vieques and Culebra connected by ferry and air charters. Fajardo is thus in striking distance of a variety of watersports playgrounds.

Fajardo's forest-fringed public beaches, Seven Seas Beach and Luquillo Beach, offer calm, clear waters ideal for snorkelling and swimming, and are equipped with cafes, ablution blocks and lifeguards.

For landlubbers, or those wanting a break from the ocean blue, the area also sports El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest administered by the United States National Forest Service, noted for its biodiversity and stunning walking trails.

Fajardo town itself does not offer much in the way of attractions, but it serves as an accommodation centre for this delightful part of Puerto Rico. It is also a social hub for holidaymakers thanks to the presence of the luxurious Wyndham El Conquistador resort, which has a lively casino and world-class golf course.

Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve

Located on three promontories on the extreme northeast corner of the island, Las Cabezas reserve is one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse natural areas in Puerto Rico. The reserve is close to Fajardo, a major marina and diving resort, about an hour's drive from San Juan. The area offers pristine beaches ideal for snorkelling. The reserve contains seven different ecological systems including coral reefs, sandy beaches, lagoons, mangroves and dry forest. It is also home to several endangered species. Boardwalk trails provide easy access. A restored 19th century lighthouse, El Faro, is situated on one of the headlands and offers an information centre and observation deck.

Telephone: 722 5882 (weekday reservations), 860 2560 (weekend reservations) Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday, reservations are required because of the popularity of the reserve. English language tours 2pm

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