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Puerto Rico is an easy escape this winter

Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico Tour Desk

Travelers looking for a quick and inexpensive escape from the dreary chill of winter need look no further than Puerto Rico.

With miles of balmy beaches, unique natural wonders, bustling food and arts scenes — not to mention the ease of getting there — the Caribbean paradise has become a must-do destination for U.S. vacationers in the know, especially during the cold winter months.

Here are four hot reasons to head to Puerto Rico now:

1. Life’s a beach — and the island’s got tons of ’em

There are more than 270 miles of coastline to explore on Puerto Rico, nearly all of them perfect for lounging in the sand by the clear waters of the Caribbean or taking part in your favorite water sports.

From Isla Verde and Ocean Park in the capital city of San Juan, to the more laid-back tiny islets surrounding the main island, travelers can get their fill of snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing or just plain sunning.

2. It puts the “great” in the Great Outdoors

Puerto Rico isn’t all about surf n’ sand. It also boasts El Yunque, a magnificent rainforest just a short drive from central San Juan that features three of the world’s six bioluminescent bays — where the fish, and the water, glow while you take a kayak trip by night.

The island is also home to nearly 20 golf courses known for their tropical settings, as well as each year hosting the Puerto Rico Open, an official PGA Tour event.

3. Puerto Rico is rich in history

The island now offers two new historic tours that explore both its musical egacy and indigenous history.

La Ruta de la Salsa — the Salsa Route — takes aficionados to several historic sites where the music developed into one of the world’s most popular genres.

La Ruta Taína, or Taína Route, allows visitors to learn about Puerto Rico’s indigenous Tainos, among the inhabitants of the pre-Columbian Caribbean and surrounding areas, with tours through towns, ancient ceremonial centers and natural sites.

And no visit to San Juan is complete without a visit to its Spanish Colonial fortresses overlooking the ocean.

4. It’s an easy, last-minute getaway

Not only don’t U.S. citizens need a passport to get to Puerto Rico, there are more than 400 weekly flights from mainland cities and accommodations for every budget.