Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States.
The capital of Puerto Rico is San Juan.
San Juan is on the coast and it is one of the oldest capital cities in the Western Hemisphere.
The Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico was the largest radio telescope in the world until China built a bigger telescope in 2016. Scientists using the Arecibo Observatory discovered the first extrasolar planets. The observatory also produced detailed radar maps of the surface of Venus and Mercury. The scientists discovered that Mercury rotated every 59 days instead of 88 days and did not always show the same face to the sun.
The Plaza Las Américas Mall in San Juan, the capital, is the most profitable mall per square foot in the world.
The biggest J.C. Penney department store in the world is located in Plaza Las Américas Mall in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico has 3 bioluminescent bays. These rare ecosystems happen when microscopic, single-celled organisms grow in large quantities and produce a "glow in the dark" effect when stimulated by movement. When you paddle or splash the water, these organisms light up in a neon blue-green color, and so does everything they come in contact with. This gives off a star-like glowing reflection to the water. Mosquito Bay is the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. It is considered the brightest not because physiologically brighter species than any other bioluminescent critter, but because it has the largest concentration of these critters.
The largest parade of classic cars record in the nation’s capital of San Juan was set in 2017. A grand total of 2,491 vintage vehicles took part in the parade to set the record.
Other Interesting Facts
As a United States territory, Puerto Rico uses American currency (money).
Puerto Rico has its own constitution and government representatives.
Although residents of Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens, Puerto Rico is technically not a state, so Puerto Ricans don’t vote in United States elections.
Americans do not need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico, and residents of Puerto Rico can travel freely to the United States.
Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory in 1898, following the Spanish-American War. On March 2, 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship.
"El Morro" is a fortress that was built by the Spanish during the 16th and 18th centuries in Puerto Rico to defend itself against sea attacks. El Morro was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
Puerto Rico is about the size of Connecticut, the 3rd smallest U.S. state, and is home to over 3.5 million people.
Puerto Rico has a tropical climate and has more than 270 miles of beaches.
There are also over 200 caves to explore in Puerto Rico’s Rio Camuy Cave Park. Experts believe there are still hundreds of undiscovered caves on the island.
Christopher Columbus discovered Puerto Rico in 1493. When he arrived on the island in 1493, he originally named the island San Juan Batista. Soon, the island became known as Puerto Rico (“Rich Port” in Spanish) instead because of the gold that could be found in its rivers and streams. The capital city took the name San Juan instead.
People in Puerto Rico speak both English and Spanish.
75% of the island is made up of mountains and hills.
The "coquí" is a very small frog that can only be found in Puerto Rico. It's about an inch long and makes a very unique, high-pitched song: "ko-kee, ko-kee," especially at night. The coquí is the perfect national symbol for Puerto Rico: small island, small frog, BIG VOICE. The coquí is a carnivore that eats only at night and rests under rocks during the day. Only the male coquí sings.
"El Yunque" is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service and its name is a reference to Yuke, what the indigenious Taino people defined as "white lands." With an average rainfall of 120 inches a year, El Yunque has a very diverse ecosystem. Hundreds of unique plant and animal species live in El Yunque, including the island’s famous coquí frog.
Some famous Puerto Ricans are Ricky Martin, Benicio del Toro, Roberto Clemente, Carlos Beltran, Rita Moreno, Jennifer Lopéz and Marc Anthony.
José Feliciano is from Puerto Rico also. He is known for writing and singing one of the most played and downloaded songs of the Christmas season, Feliz Navidad.