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Exploring Geography: Puerto Rico

exploring geography at mama smiles

Today our world culture travels take us to Puerto Rico with Frances of Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes. Frances is a part-time blogger, mommy and wife of a beautiful multicultural familia. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a certification in Human Resources. She blogs about discovering the world through her son’s eyes through everyday events, crafts, books, and travel as she teaches her son how culturally diverse our world is. Here are three posts from her blog you won’t want to miss: Teaching Heritage to Our Children, Fostering Childhood Friendship, and My Challenges Raising a Bilingual Child.
Puerto Rico Flag
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Coat of Arms of Puerto Rico
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Seal of Puerto Rico
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Map of Puerto Rico
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What You'll Find on This Page

Almanac Information:
Population: 3,998,905 (July 2011 est.)
Capital: San Juan
Government: Commonwealth associated with the United States
Official Languages: Spanish, English
Currency: U.S. dollar
  • San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico, and it’s located on the northeastern coast of the island.
  • Baseball is a very popular sport in Puerto Rico. Roberto Clemente is the island’s most famous baseball player.
  • Isabela is best know for its large waves, making the small rural town in Puerto Rico an ideal spot for surfers. 
  • El Yunque is a Caribbean National Forest. It is the largest forest in Puerto Rico, and it is know for its many species of plants and animals.
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  • La Cordillera Central is Puerto Rico’s central mountain range, one of the places where the red-flowered poinciana tree grows.
  • El coquí is a tiny tree frog named after the loud sound that it makes; it is also a symbol of Puerto Rico.
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  • La Fiesta de Santiago – The Festival of St. James is celebrated in the town of Loíza with traditional music, such as bomba and the plena.
  • El Festival Casals in San Juan is a celebration of classical music. It was founded in 1957 by the cellist Pablo Casals.
  • Three Kings Day is usually the culmination of a holiday long celebration that starts on Thanksgiving Day. I share how we celebrate it here in the United Sates here.
  • El Parque de Bombas in Ponce was a fire station from 1883 until 1989. Today it is a museum dedicated to the Ponce fire department.
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  • Ponce is a town that has been nicknamed The Pearl of the South because it is know for its fine architecture.
  • El Viejo San Juan is known for its beautiful buildings and streets that reflect the Spanish colonial period.
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  • El Morro is a fortress built in 1539. It has six meter thick outer walls and its strategic position made it the most important Spanish fortress in the Caribbean. Circular sentry boxes, or garitas, provided shelter for guards, and have become the architectural symbol of Puerto Rico.
Art & History
  • Las máscaras de vejigante – Vejigante masks can be made out of dried coconut shell. They sometimes have horns and are often painted black or red.
  • La cultura Taína – The Taíno culture was the dominant culture of Puerto Rico before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493. Puerto Rico’s pre-Columbian heritage can be seen in Taíno art. 
Children’s Book
  • This is a beautiful book about the most famous tree frog from Puerto Rico: En dondequiera coquies/Every where coquis by Nancy Hooper. The book is in Spanish on one side, and you turn the book, and its in English on the other side.
  • Another colorful children’s book about Puerto Rico is On This Beautiful Island by Edwin Fontánez. This book comes in English and Spanish.

Thank you, Frances, for this wonderful introduction to Puerto Rico! What a beautiful country, and that fire station is amazing. I’m really looking forward to reading the picture books you recommend with my kids!

Are you interested in writing a post for my Exploring Geography series? Email me at mamasmilesblog at gmail dot com. You can see all of the posts for this world culture series here!

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

23 thoughts on “Exploring Geography: Puerto Rico”

  1. Wonderful post! My interested in Puerto Rico was piqued after reading a children’s book called Martina Finds a Shiny Coin by Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor. It’s based in a tiny village called Borinquen and the vivid descriptions of the local culture make you feel like you are visiting the island. It’s a lovely story about being true to yourself. Thought I would share the recommendation for anyone interested in Puerto Rican picture books.

  2. Thank you so much for such a comprehensive post, Frances! I find it amazing that someplace that isn’t very big geographically has had such an impact on the world culturally. Still scheming about how we can drop by for dinner sometime ;)

    1. True, geographically speaking Puerto Rico is SMALL, but rich in culture, and history. :) You can drop by for dinner anytime LOL

  3. Lovely post Frances – I would love to visit Puerto Rico and that stunning forest! I’m also looking forward to reading these children’s books you shared and one of these days I’m going to try some of your recipes!

    1. Ah Marie the beaches alone are a beauty! I used to get off from work, and go straight to the beach. Just to simply sit there, listen to the waves, and relax!

    1. Thank you Erin! There’s so much to learn about Puerto Rico, and it’s culture. Although colonized by the US, it still keeps it’s on culture intact. (Well almost, because we do celebrate a lot of the US holidays).

  4. My husband just asked me if I wanted to go to Puerto Rico on vacation. Now I read your post.


    This is fantastic. It’s like I was there its so picture-tastic!

  5. What a great and comprehensive post! I really enjoyed traveling to Puerto Rico with you through your post! The coat of arms is beautiful too! I didn’t realize how intricate it is.

    1. Thank you for your comment! You’ve already been to Puerto Rico, so you know how beautiful it is. I’m glad you enjoyed my guest post. :)

    1. Hi Trisha! Thank you for your comment! You must definitely add Puerto Rico to your bucket list of vacation spots to visit, you will love it! :)

    1. Thank you for your comments on my guest post! The Coqui is originally from Puerto Rico (so I’m sure the song is from here), but did you know that Hawaii has coquies, too? But they are not as loved there as they are in Puerto Rico. LOL

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