In late 2017, Puerto Rico was rocked by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, leaving thousands without power and infrastructure in ruins. DTE joined other energy companies across the country in mutual assistance efforts, but there is still much work to do in PR. As we continue efforts to restore power and hope in PR, discover 10 things you might not have known about this U.S. territory.
- Puerto Rico is not one island. Often thought as one large, beautiful island, Puerto Rico is actually an archipelago, formed by one mainland island and many smaller islands. With residents strewn across three of these islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques, this is a partial reason why it’s been difficult to restore full power to all regions of the country as access is limited due to the storms.
- You can leave your passport at home. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory meaning you don’t need special documentation such as a passport or enhanced driver’s license to visit. All you’ll need is a valid U.S. ID. Puerto Rico also uses U.S. currency, meaning there’s no need to exchange currency or worry about exchange rates. Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico, so we recommend brushing up on some Spanish before visiting. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, though they cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections nor can it’s U.S. Congress representative vote on legislation. Because it is not a state, Puerto Rico has no senator.
- Puerto Rico’s capital is the second largest cruise port in the Western Hemisphere. San Juan, the colorful capital of PR, is the largest hub in the Caribbean and a major port of call for nearly every cruise ship line. In addition to its tourism industry, Puerto Rico’s main exports are medical equipment, electronics and various apparel.
- Home to the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System: The breathtaking El Yunque has been virtually untouched for hundreds of years, offering visitors incredible hikes, waterfalls, grand vistas and wildlife viewing. Located just 20 miles from San Juan, this crescent-shaped rainforest occupies part of the windward side of the El Yunque mountains.
- You can find the world’s largest telescope on the island: The Arecibo Observatory, located in the town of Arecibo about an hour away from San Juan, is the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope. Professors from Cornell University played an important role in its construction, and the radio telescope has been in use for around 55 years. Visitors are welcome to explore the observatory and tours are available.
Check out how you can help power Puerto Rico here.