Discovering My Island

By Zamayra A. Colón De Jesús.

Summertime is over. For many it’s a time to pack their bags and go home, but not me.  I have never set foot outside of my island in my twenty-one years of age and counting. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I haven’t even gone to Disney. However, that does not mean that my summers have ever been boring. Instead of exploring the world (as I hope to do some time in the future) I spent my time learning and enjoying the things my homeland has to offer. It may be a small island, but it holds much to explore. With that said I want to share with all of you the benefits I have found of doing internal tourism.

1. Food. Puerto Rico holds many great places that serve delicious food and most are out of the fancy restaurant norm, and the only way to have them is by doing chinchorreos all around the island. Thankfully, there are many routes that can lead you to most places. Two routes I love  the most are the ones that lead to Guavate and Orocovis. In the first one you can find many restaurants that specialize on pig meat and in the second a type of sausage known as longaniza. Delicious! However, in all towns there is always some food truck or small food stand that can surprise you. One of many that did this to me was Fat Lolo’s in Hormigueros, where I had a giant burger in which the patty was filled with cheese and bacon.

2. Art. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, but Puerto Rico is filled with beautiful street art. You’ll mostly find them hidden in the most random of places, but you can always appreciate a piece of the soul of the artist who drew it in all of them. One of the places that impressed me the most was Arecibo where in an area near the beach some old or abandoned buildings were transformed into beautiful masterpieces.

3. History. Puerto Rico is filled with history in every corner. Such as ruins in which big changes took place, to small museums that hold the story of a person or people that made a huge impact on the island. One I loved the most was the small museum dedicated to Doña Fela in San Juan. She was the first woman to be elected mayor of a city. And one of the things she did as mayor, which I found the most curious and fascinating, was bringing snow to the children of Puerto Rico.

4. Nature. Puerto Rico is truly a paradise. Not only does it hold beautiful beaches, but also extraordinary rivers and forests.  

5. Family and friends. Local traveling can be done alone, but it also serves as a great bonding time with friends and family to make new memories together, or even making new friends along the way.

6. Curious things. Outside of what was mentioned before, you honestly never know what you could find—such as a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty in Arecibo.

There are much more things one can gain from experiences such as this. The important thing is to know that just because you have never traveled to many places, or like my case have never traveled at all, it does not mean there is nothing to see or do. There is always something, but it’s on us to make it an adventure or not.