On the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico lies Fajardo, nicknamed the Metropolis of the Rising Sun (“del Sol Naciente” in Spanish). Fajardo attracts both local and foreign tourism for a variety of reasons, most of them related to the glistening ocean stretching out from its shores.
First, there are Fajardo’s beaches. Balneario Seven Seas offers all the facilities one might need and its waters are calm, which allows visitors to fully enjoy many activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and just plain swimming. Many businesses around Fajardo offer scuba diving tours for people who wish to venture further into the sea. The town also features great seafood everywhere you look, but the fishing village of Las Croabas is a sure bet.
There’s also Fajardo’s own tentpole of ecological conservation, Las Cabezas de San Juan, a 316-acre natural reserve consisting of seven ecosystems. The reservation-only guided tours take visitors on a trek along lagoons, mangrove swamps, among other ecosystems, all the way up to a bioluminescent bay. Topping off the tour is a stop at one of the island’s oldest, Spanish-built lighthouses, where visitors can climb up the winding stairs up to its observation deck.
Can you spot Vieques and Culebra on the horizon? Fajardo’s proximity to these outlying island municipalities of Puerto Rico have made it the gateway –via ferry or small plane— to the popular retreats. The town is also known for its marinas, including the aptly-named Marina del Rey (King’s Marina), as it is the largest in the Caribbean. Several small cays and islets like Palomino and Icacos await minutes away from shore with their unspoiled beaches.
Fajardo also attracts tourists with its luxurious El Conquistador Resort and Spa. The hotel even provides ferry service to a private beach in Palomino Island. It also recently opened the Coquí Water Park, with towering slides and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. The hotel’s lobby is open to local visitors as well, who come to enjoy fine dining, dance at the club to Caribbean beats, and fill out the seats at the casino’s slot machines.