The climate in Puerto Rico is very similar to that of Tampa Bay, so packing the most comfortable clothing is as easy as getting dressed at home. Winter is the low season in Puerto Rico, making airfares and hotel prices exceptionally appealing, not to mention miles and miles of white-sand beaches and maritime activities that are uncrowded and relaxing.
You'll barely have time to get settled as you board your flight in Tampa and take off for your Puerto Rican vacation in the Caribbean. Numerous daily nonstop flights whisk you to San Juan in three hours, while a connecting flight takes about four hours and 30 minutes.
While only three major carriers fly from Tampa to San Juan - American, jetBlue and Southwest - they all make a number of trips daily, so you'll have a great selection of departure times from which to choose.
You may depart Tampa International via American, jetBlue or Southwest on flights that begin around 7 a.m. and continue to depart throughout the day with the final nonstop flight of the day leaving a little after 10 p.m.
Tampa International Airport offers four nonstop flights to San Juan daily, plus an additional four that only fly on weekends. The San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan is a joint civil and military international airport located three miles southeast of the San Juan city center. On the west coast of the island is the Rafael Hernandez International Airport.
The peak travel season in Puerto Rico is mid-December to mid-April and the major resorts and hotels on the east and metro regions of the island are generally fully booked at top prices. High season on the west coast is summer because it offers the most beaches and friendly, affordable accommodations, but if you must visit during the high season, please plan to book at least 90 days in advance. The sleepy offshore islands are the busiest during the winter months, but with over 300 beaches to choose from, it is always possible to find a secluded place to enjoy the sea and sand, and airfare and hotel prices are very reasonably priced.
One of the most enchanting things to see in Puerto Rico is Mosquito Bay at night. Hundreds of thousands of microorganisms live in each gallon of bay water and at night the half-plant, half-animals give off a luminosity that illuminates the sky and waters in glowing blue light. While you can quietly kayak out for a better view, it's recommended that you join a tour group, an inexpensive and eco-friendly vacation treat. While Tampa beaches can certainly rival those in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean National Forest is a lush, tropical rainforest unlike any in the southern United States. Hikers love exploring the 13 well-marked trails with a range of difficulty, making this an excellent adventure for the tenderfoot or experienced. Just 35 miles east of San Juan, the rain forest is indeed wet, receiving more than 100 billion gallons of precipitation each year, so be sure to bring waterproofing for you and your camera. And if you are around in the evening, keep your ears tuned for the serenade provided by Puerto Rico's tiny tree frogs.
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