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The Washington Post
They're Hurting In Puerto Rico, Too
October 14, 2001
"We're U.S. citizens," reminds the Puerto Rico Tourism Co.'s Ciso Moreno, who's flown from Newark to San Juan three times since the Sept. 11 attacks. "We feel very much sadness. We are 150 percent behind the U.S."
For travelers from the mainland who don't want to leave the country but crave the Caribbean, the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico (as well as the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands) offers some key tactical advantages: The San Juan airport is subject to the same rigorous security and FAA requirements as its counterparts on the mainland. There are no currency calculations to make, no customs to go through. And these days, the American flag is waving everywhere.
Exotically foreign, but also very much American, Puerto Rico makes an especially appealing getaway now. In The Magnificent 11: Puerto Rico, Coast to Coast, we explore the island from coast to coast, driving from the capital of San Juan to the chichi resorts of the northeast, the unspoiled beaches of the west coast and the mountainous interior. We play golf on a course lined with palm trees, watching sea birds soar as an iguana walks across the green. We star-gaze at Arecibo's mammoth observatory, ogle endangered green parrots in the rain forest of El Yunque, slurp passionfruit ice cream in the coastal town of Ponce, and bask on the white sands of Boqueron beach.
Puerto Rico "is like a little prescription," says Moreno. "Yes, something bad happened. But here you can feel safe."