agreement with the National Science Foundation. You’ll find
interactive exhibits about all sorts of astronomical phenomena
and have access to the observation deck.
Be sure to visit Vieques’s Puerto Mosquito bioluminescent bay,
where millions of microscopic dinoflagellates (organisms that are
half-plant and half-animal) light up when disturbed by movement. When you swim or kayak at night, the water glows with
mysterious blue-green light. Pouring water from your hands in
the bay has a similar effect to that of Tinkerbell flying around the
top of Cinderella’s castle at the beginning of Disney movies—tiny
light flecks cascade down. It’s absolutely magical.
Golf Courses and Spas
Puerto Rico is sometimes called the “Scotland of the Caribbean”
because of its many golf courses. There are 23 courses on the
island and six more are underway. Some of the biggest names in
the business, such as George and Tom Fazio, Arthur Hills, Robert
Trent Jones, his son Rees Jones, Tom Kite, Jack Nicklaus, Greg
Norman and Puerto Rico’s own Chi Chi Rodrguez, have designed
courses that take full advantage of the island’s diverse topography.
The Bahía Beach Resort & Golf Club, Dorado Beach Resort &
Club, El Conquistador Resort & Golden Door Spa, Palmas del
Mar, Trump International Golf Club and Rio Mar Beach Resort
& Spa, a Wyndham Grand Resort, are among the favorites.
Travelers can pamper themselves at one of San Juan’s luxurious
day spas. The Zen Spa in Condado offers a Sea Waves Wrap, which
is a body slimming treatment that utilizes white algae, sea salt and
An Interview with Author Esmeralda Santiago
Esmeralda Santiago is the author of the acclaimed
memoirs When I was Puerto Rican, Almost a
Woman (which she adapted into a Peabody Award-winning film for PBS Masterpiece Theatre) and The
Turkish Lover. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she
came to the United States at age 13, the eldest in a
family that would eventually include 11 children. She
now lives in Westchester County, NY, and returns to
her native island for vacation.
Her new novel, Conquistadora, is about a spirited,
tenacious young woman who moves to 19th century
Puerto Rico to establish a sugar hacienda and
discovers that love has its own rules. The book will
be published in July 2011 in simultaneous English
and Spanish editions.
Ideal Living: What do you and your family most
love to do when you vacation in Puerto Rico?
Esmeralda Santiago: We have a lot of family in Puerto Rico, so we enjoy getting together with them, always around meals. We also love Old San Juan, with its cobblestoned sidewalks, the shops, the restaurants, the sense that we have stepped into a different century, but one with all the amenities of this one. My husband and children love the beaches, but my favorite pastime is driving into the campo [countryside] to explore small towns and villages, local restaurants, and traditional crafts people.
Ideal Living: What are your favorite Puerto Rican
Esmeralda Santiago: My favorite Puerto Rican
food is asopao, a rich sofrito [a mix of garlic, sweet
peppers, onion, and fresh green herbs] and tomato
sauce-based stew with vegetables, rice and chicken
or seafood. It’s comfort food at its most essential—
flavorful, filling, and during my Northeast winters,
Ideal Living: What does the phrase “island time”
mean to you?
Esmeralda Santiago: Island time means slowing
down from my hectic life to enjoy being in my