Puerto Rico’s third-oldest city, Arecibo, is known as the “Village of Captain Correa” in honor of Antonio de los Reyes Correa, who defended the town from a British invasion in the 16th century.
This town is a little over an hour away from SJU airport, and worth the ride. Arecibo’s landscape and scenic views are characterized by caves, sinkholes, and limestone hills called mogotes. Arecibo is divided into 19 sectors that run through the unique northern karst region. Its geographic location makes it perfect for observing the sun and planets, and as such it’s home to the world’s largest radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory.
Things to Do
The incredible diversity of Arecibo's terrain means visitors can enjoy beaches, caves, mountains, and more in close proximity. The Río Grande de Arecibo and the Tanamá River – two of Puerto Rico’s most important rivers – run across the municipality. Also, one of the island’s main lakes, Lago Dos Bocas, borders the southern edge of town. Some of the area’s most popular beaches include Hallows and La Poza del Obispo (the Bishop’s Well).
Cambalache Forest Park is home to more than 20 species of birds and more than a dozen caves. There is also the Río Abajo State Forest, a natural space that houses one of the most famous caves in Arecibo, Cueva Ventana, a beautiful aperture with breathtaking views of the countryside. Other caves include Los Chorros and Cueva del Indio.
The town’s rich Spanish heritage can be appreciated in the impressive landmarks displayed throughout the town. The current City Hall served as a jail in the 17th century, when it was mostly occupied by revolutionaries.
Punta Los Morrillos Lighthouse was built by the Spanish government and is now a historical park. Casa Ulanga was originally the residence of a high-ranking Spaniard, but has since served as a bank, store, city hall, hospital, and jail, and now operates as the Cultural Center of Arecibo.
Arecibo’s most famous restaurant is called Salitre Mesón Costero, a full-service restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is known for serving fresh, locally caught seafood in dishes like paellas, lobster, stuffed mofongo, and more.
This coastal town is also known for its ceti fish platters. Restaurants like El Guayabo and Guisito Criollo serve turnovers and mofongo stuffed with this tiny transparent fish.
Although Arecibo does not have any big resorts, you’ll find the Arecibo Inn and several bed-and-breakfasts around town. There are also rental houses and apartments, most of which are listed through Airbnb.